Nats Clip ‘Stros, 2-1

Clint Robinson’s two-out RBI triple was the difference in a 2-1 slugfest to secure the first Washington win in nearly a week.

The 7th-inning surge made a winner out of Felipe Rivero, who tossed two shutout frames with no walks and two strikeouts. Rivero was the second reliever to follow starter Jordan Zimmermann, who went the first innings. The Wisconsin native gave up an unearned run on three hits and a walk in his third spring outing.

Michael Taylor once again started in CF and led off the game with a triple and scored the first Nats run. He went 1-for-4 overall.

Here’s a rundown of how the notable minor-leaguers did today…
• Rafael Martin threw a scoreless inning following Zimmermann, allowing a hit, no walks, and striking out one.
• Mark Grace pitched around a double and a single in the 8th to preserve the 2-1 lead.
• Wilmer Difo subbed for Ian Desmond at SS but struck out twice in two at-bats.
• Matt Skole followed Ian Stewart at 3B and drew a walk in his only plate appearance.
• Cutter Dykstra reached base twice with a pinch walk and a single as the replacement DH.
• Sandy Leon went 0-for-1 as the substitute for backup backstop Jose Lobaton.

The Nats head back out on the road to face the Detroit Tigers tomorrow afternoon. The game can be heard on MLB radio.

Nats Winless Streak Extended to Five

The bell did not toll for Heath as the Astros blasted the 37-y.o. non-roster invitee for all three of its runs in the 5th and held off a late rally for a 3-2 win over the Nationals in Kissimmee. The loss was the third straight and fourth in five games as the Nats have not won since last Wednesday.

Max Scherzer lowered his spring ERA to an even 2.00 with four shutout innings, allowing just a 1st-inning double to Luis Valbena and a walk to Andrew Aplin to lead off the 3rd. The 30-y.o. struck out three in his third Grapefruit League start.

Michael Taylor started in CF and led off but was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He was followed by FA pickup Delta Cleary Jr. who struck out in his lone at-bat.

Matt Skole began in the field at 3B and was 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. Cutter Dykstra was his replacement as a pinch-runner and at third, and also struck out in his only plate appearance.

With the loss, the Nats fall to 4-7-1 for the spring. They host the Astros in Viera tomorrow, a game which is slated for a live MASN broadcast and a tape-delay showing on the MLB Network.

Nats, Astros Tie, 6-6

The Astros rallied for two in the 9th to salvage a 6-6 tie and preserve the Nats’ .500 record at 4-4-1 for the spring.

Houston posted a picket fence on the scoreboard with single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. Washington rallied for three in the 3rd, two in the 6th, and for what appeared to be an insurance run in the 8th before Scott McGregor gave away two in the 9th.

Here’s a rundown of how the notable minor-leaguers did coming off the bench:
• Rafael Bautista went 0-for-2 with an RBI in CF
• Wilmer Difo went 0-for-2 with a strikeout at SS
• Kevin Keyes went 1-for-2 in RF
• Cutter Dykstra went 0-for-1 with a run scored at 2B
• Matt Skole went 0-for-1 as a PH for the DH
• Sammy Solis struck out three over two and 2/3rds innings and gave up a run on a home run and four hits total

Prior to the game, catchers Spencer Kieboom and Pedro Severino were reassigned to the minor-league camp. More cuts are expected after tomorrow’s pair of split-squad games vs. the Mets and at the Marlins.

Nats Firemen Bring The Gas In 11-9 Loss

The Nats offense tried to salvage a nine-run bullpen implosion in the bottom of 8th with a five-run retort in the top of the 9th, but fell short in an 11-9 loss today in Port St. Lucie.

The Mets sent 13 men to the plate in the frame, with losing pitcher Mitch Lively retiring one of four batters faced (three hits to the others), Eric Fornataro getting one of seven out (two walks, four hits, including a HR), and Brian Rauh letting in an inherited runner with a single before getting the third and final out.

Clint Robinson’s pinch-hit grand slam capped off five straight men reaching base to start the 9th, but the Nats could only muster one more baserunner — a Sandy Leon single, his second in two at-bats as the second DH — before Derrick Robinson (0-for-2) and Jeff Kobernus (0-for-2) struck out to end the game.

A.J. Cole made the start in place of Stephen Strasburg, but was fortunate to allow just one run (a homer to Curtis Granderson) as the Mets strafed him for four hit and two walks over an inning and 2/3rds.

Among the highlights for the prospects…
• Michael Taylor started in CF and connected for a two-run double in between two strikeouts
• Wilmer Difo followed Danny Espinosa at SS but whiffed twice in two ABs and committed an error
• Matt Skole walked and scored in the 9th, his first PA after subbing for Ian Stewart at 3B
• Cutter Dykstra drew a bases-loaded walk ahead of Clint Robinson’s homer after taking over at 2B from Emmanuel Burriss, who was 0-for-2
• Matt Grace pitched a scoreless 7th, giving up a hit for his third clean outing of the spring

The Nats return to Viera tomorrow to host the Astros. The game can be heard on MLB Radio.

Vettleson, Skole Go Deep in 9-2 Nats “W”

After a three-game absence, the Washington offense showed up today in Viera with a 9-2 win over Detroit. The Nats pounded out 11 hits, including a solo homer by Drew Vettleson (1-for-1) in the 7th and a two-run shot by Matt Skole (1-for-2) in the 8th.

Jordan Zimmermann made his second start and struck out four over two and 2/3rds while letting in a run on two hits to earn the spring-training win. Felipe Rivero was among the parade of relievers who followed, stranding two hits allowed while strikins out one in a scoreless 8th.

Wilmer Difo got things rolling early as he doubled in the 1st and tripled in the 2nd, finishing with a 2-for-3 mark as the starting 2B. Cutter Dykstra followed and went 1-for-2 with a strikeout. Emmanuel Burriss, Sandy Leon, and Jeff Kobernus all went 0-for-1 while subbing at shortstop, catcher, and left field, respectively.

The win improves Washington’s 2015 Grapefruit League record to 4-3 and was the first game played this spring to be won or lost by more than one run.

Stephen Strasburg will not toe the slab tomorrow. A.J. Cole will make the start instead as the Nats travel to Port St. Lucie to take on the Mets tomorrow afternoon.

Nats Lose Again, 2-1

Derek Dietrich’s one-out homer in the last of the 9th off journeyman Bruce Billings gave the Marlins a 2-1 walkoff win while handing the Nats another 2-1 loss.

All six games thus far in spring training have been decided by one run, with the Nats winning three straight, then losing three straight (and counting).

Max Scherzer was stretched to three innings but gave up two hits in each frame, allowing a first-inning run with the “help” of a wild pitch.

The six hits Scherzer allowed matched the total for the Nats lineup, which broke up the shutout in the 6th when Mike Carp was hit by a pitch. Dan Uggla doubled in pinch-runner Kila Ka‘aihue with two outs to tie the game at 1-1.

Michael Taylor got the start in CF but was hitless in three ABs with one strikeout. Jeff Kobernus, the Nats No. 29 prospect in the latest pageview grab ranking by MLB Pipeline, also started in LF, but struck out three times in three plate appearances.

The rundown for the notable minor-leaguers:
• Caleb Ramsey subbed for Tony Gwynn Jr. in RF and went 0-for-1
• Cutter Dykstra pinch-ran for Uggla and drew a walk while playing 2B
• Matt Skole followed Ian Stewart at 3B but was 0-for-1 with a strikeout
• Wilmer Difo took over for Danny Espinosa at SS and went 0-for-2 with a whiff, but threw out a runner at the plate in the 8th
• Kevin Keyes subbed for Kobernus in LF but had no chances and did not bat
• RHP Rafael Martin worked around two one-out hits and a passed ball but got defensive help (Difo) to notch a scoreless inning

The Nationals return to Viera to host the Tigers tomorrow afternoon. The 1:05 game is scheduled to be broadcast live on MASN and on tape delay on MLB Network tomorrow night.

Braves Double Up Nats, 2-1

After taking three straight one-run games, the Nationals have now lost two straight, falling to the Braves 2-1 this afternoon in Viera.

The offense managed just seven hits, two of which came from Tony Gwynn Jr. who was given the start after the news that CF Denard Span will require an additional abdominal surgery while Michael Taylor was given the day off.

Gio Gonzalez got the start and spun two scoreless before giving way to Tanner Roark, who was lit up for both Atlanta runs on an Eric Young Jr. homer in the 3rd and took the loss.

The Nats rallied in the 9th as Matt Skole (1-for-1) singled and scored on a two-out double by catcher Steven Lerud. Wilmer Difo (0-for-1) struck out to end the game, leaving both the tying and winning runs on base.

A rundown of how the notable minor-leaguers performed in the loss:
• Drew Vettleson subbed for Bryce Harper in RF and drew a walk
• Emmanuel Burriss took over at SS for Ian Desmond and struck out in his only AB
• Jeff Kobernus went 0-for-1 after following Tyler Moore in LF
• Matt Grace retired four of six batters faced over an inning and a 1/3rd, walking one and striking out one
• Taylor Hill pitched a scoreless inning, pitching around a one-out single while catching Kelly Johnson looking to end the 8th

The Nats head to Jupiter to take on the Marlins tomorrow, with Max Scherzer slated to make his second start for the Nats. The game can be heard locally on 1580 AM or on MLB Radio.

Yankees Stop Nats, 3-2

Washington’s luck in taking one-run games ran out as the Americans of New York stopped the Nationals of DC, 3-2 in Tampa.

The Yankees rallied with two outs and connected on three straight singles off losing pitcher Mitch Lively in the bottom of the 8th. The implosion offset the Yankees mistakes in the 7th when an error set up a an equalizing score on a groundout.

Doug Fister got the start and needed just 20 pitches to get six outs as he allowed just one hit and one walk over his two innings of work. Sammy Solis followed but was touched for two runs (one earned) on three hits over an inning and 2/3rds.

Michael Taylor led off the game with first-pitch swing for a solo HR to put the Nationals up 1-0. The organization’s top position prospect finished the afternoon with a 2-for-3 mark, first-pitch swinging again in the 3rd for a single to center and striking out in the 5th.

Wilmer Difo also got the starting nod at 2B, singling in the 7th inning and taking second on an error by Yankees’ RF Aaron Judge. Cutler Cutter Dykstra pinch-ran for him and popped up to end the game.

A look how the other notable minor-leaguers fared this afternoon:
• Emmanuel Burris subbed for SS Ian Desmond and went 0-for-1
• Jeff Kobernus subbed for LF Tyler Moore and was also 0-for-1
• Matt Skole followed Kila Ka‘ahiue at 1B but committed an error (missed catch) and went 0-for-1
• Spencer Kieboom pinch-hit for DH Mike Carp but was 0-for-1
• Sandy Leon took over for Jose Lobaton behnd the plate and went 0-for-2

The Nationals return to Viera tomorrow to play the Braves. Gio Gonzalez is expected to make his first spring training start. The game can be heard on MLB Radio.

Four-run 6th Propels Nats Past Cards, 6-5

The Nats second string — a.k.a. our guys — put together a four-run rally in the 6th to help propel the Nats to their third straight one-run win, 6-5 over the Cardinals.

Matt Skole (1-for-1, R, BB) and Wilmer Difo (2-for-2) both connected on two-out, two-run singles to erase a 4-1 deficit, as the replacements for 3B Anthony Rendon and SS Danny Espinosa.

The rally took starter Stephen Strasburg off the hook for the “L,” who also got a brief assist from A.J. Cole, who stranded three by getting the last out of the 2nd but was tagged for two runs on two hits, including a solo shot in the 3rd. The 23-y.o. righty neither walked nor struck out a batter in his two and 1/3rd innings of work.

The save was credited to Scott McGregor, who gave up back-to-back-to-back singles with two outs before striking out Ty Kelly to escape the 9th.

A rundown of how the other notable minor-leaguers did, including a twin separated at birth:
• Michael Taylor pinch-ran for DH Dan Uggla and singled in the four-run 6th to finish 1-for-2 with two runs scored
• Cutter Dykstra tripled in Taylor in the 7th to go 1-for-2 with an RBI
• Rafael Bautista followed Tony Gwynn Jr. in CF and 1-for-2 with a run scored
• Jeff Kobernus started in LF and was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly
• Felipe Rivero retired the side in order in the 7th, striking out one

The Nats head east to Tampa to take on the Yankees this afternoon. The 1 p.m. game will be broadcast on the radio on 106.7 and rebroadcast on the MLB Network at a 8 p.m.

Nats Edge Braves, 9-8

Matt Skole’s leadoff double in the 7th set up the winning rally as the Nats edged the Braves, 9-8 yesterday afternoon.

Following a walk by Cutter Dykstra (1-1, 2R, BB), the two teammates at Harrisburg last summer moved up a base on sacrifice by Isaac Ballou (0-1). A wild pitch plated Skole (1-2, 2R, K and pushed Dykstra to third to set up what proved to be the game-winner: a sacrifice fly by Kila Ka’aihue (0-1, RBI).

The win went to Taylor Hill, who got the last out of the 5th and pitched a scoreless 6th, giving up a hit while striking out two. Manny Delcarmen retired the side in order in the 9th to earn the save.

Jordan Zimmermann started and went two scoreless innings, allowing a hit and a walk.

Here’s the rundown of how the notable minor-leaguers fared…
• Jeff Kobernus started in CF and batted leadoff, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored
• Emmanuel Burriss subbed for Ian Desomond at SS and was 1-for-2 with a run scored
• Pedro Severino caught the 4th inning but had no defensive chances
• Spencer Kieboom caught the 9th and threw out Mallex Smith on a bunt attempt
• Sandy Leon was the DH and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout
• Matt Grace gave up leadoff single to start the 7th but stranded him at third for a scoreless inning of relief.

The Nats return to Viera this afternoon to host the Cardinals. The 1 p.m. game will be televised live on MASN while the radio broadcast will be on 1580AM. The MLB Network will rebroadcast it at 8 p.m.