Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Cristian Guzman went 3-for-4 with a stolen base against the Mets.
There are actually plenty of significant names here in Port St. Lucie. Craig Stammen gets the start, hoping to completely lock up his stranglehold on the No. 5 starter's job. Cristian Guzman is starting at shortstop, and hopefully he'll get a couple of balls hit to his right to test that shoulder. Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham, Pudge Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy are here as well.
I'll try to keep up with any news from Disney that I can get my hands on. In the meantime, keep checking back here for updates from this game...
NATIONALS (SS) AT METS
Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie
Gametime: 1:10 p.m.
TV/Radio: MLB Network (Mets TV)/WFAN-AM (Mets radio via XM and MLB Gameday Audio)
Weather: Sunny, 78 degrees, Wind 13 mph in from RF
CF Willy Taveras
SS Cristian Guzman
2B Adam Kennedy
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
3B Alberto Gonzalez
RF Justin Maxwell
P Craig Stammen
SS Alex Cora
2B Luis Castillo
3B David Wright
1B Mike Jacobs
LF Jason Bay
CF Gary Matthews Jr.
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Omir Santos
P Hisanori Takahashi
11:45 a.m. -- The other lineup against the Braves: CF Morgan, SS Desmond, 3B Zimmerman, 1B Morse, RF Harris, 2B Bruntlett, C Nieves, LF Bernadina, P Marquis. Jair Jurrjens is starting for Atlanta.
1:09 p.m. -- We are underway with a flyout to right by Willy Taveras on the game's first pitch.
1:12 p.m. -- Very quick first inning for Takahashi. He set down Taveras, Guzman and Kennedy on 10 pitches.
1:31 p.m. -- Rough start for Craig Stammen, though he battled through it nicely. He allowed a leadoff single to Cora. Got Luis Castillo to hit a grounder to second, which might have been a double play if not for a very average throw by Cristian Guzman on the turn, along with Castillo's speed down the line. That came back to haunt Stammen, because David Wright drilled a 2-1 breaking ball to left-center for an RBI double. Mike Jacobs then walked on four pitches, putting the pitcher in serious trouble. But he managed to strike out both Jason Bay (high, 88 mph fastball) and Gary Matthews Jr. (85 mph sinker) to end the inning. Still threw 27 pitches, 17 strikes. Mets lead 1-0 after one.
2:09 p.m. -- Sorry for the lack of updates here. Major wireless internet issues in the press box. And nobody with the Mets seems to care about trying to do anything about it. So I may be limited in how much I can provide. But while I'm able to get online ... the Nats are leading 4-1 in the fourth. They scored three in the top of the third, thanks to RBI doubles from Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. They knocked Takahaski out of the game, and Francisco Rodriguez is now in.
2:18 p.m. -- Meanwhile, in Lake Buena Vista, it's scoreless in the fifth. Nice outing so far by Jason Marquis. Ryan Zimmerman has the Nats' lone hit off Jair Jurrjens.
2:20 p.m. -- Guzman nearly booted Jeff Francoeur's bouncer up the middle but he somehow recovered and flipped the ball to Kennedy (who barehanded it) just in time to force out Gary Matthews Jr.
2:45 p.m. -- Stammen gave up his second run of the day in the fifth, on an Alex Cora double and a David Wright single. But he got Mike Jacobs to ground out to end the inning (and possibly his day). Total line so far for the Nats right-hander: 5 ip, 5 h, 2 er, 2 bb, 2 k. Ten groundouts to only one flyout, a nice sign his sinker has been working. 78 pitches, 48 strikes.
2:51 p.m. -- BREAKING NEWS: Justin Maxwell got a hit. I repeat: Justin Maxwell got a hit. Single to right off Sean Green in the top of the sixth.
2:57 p.m. -- Real quick sixth inning for Matt Capps. He retired Jason Bay and Gary Matthews Jr. on one pitch a piece. Jeff Francoeur did send a line-drive single to right, but Maxwell gunned him down trying to stretch it into a double. So nice inning for Capps, who could certainly use some more of those. Nats lead 4-2 after six.
3:11 p.m. -- Cristian Guzman wound up having a nice day at the plate, his best of the spring. Went 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. He made several throws in the field, though none was particularly difficult or thrown with any real oomph.
3:16 p.m. -- There goes the Nats' lead. Luis Castillo clubs a three-run homer off Sean Burnett. Looked like Burnett wanted the pitch away, threw it inside and Castillo drilled it to left. Mets now lead, 5-4, in the bottom of the seventh.
3:20 p.m. -- Meanwhile at Disney World, the Nats are losing 2-0 after seven. Only two hits so far off three Braves pitchers. Jason Marquis allowed two runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Tyler Walker continued to shake off his horrible start to the spring, striking out three over 1 1/3 innings in relief.
3:28 p.m. -- The Nats strike back against the Mets. Chris Duncan (called up just for the day) sends a double just inside the third-base line, bringing Jhonatan Solano (who earlier doubled) home to make it 5-5 in the eighth. Miguel Batista coming on to pitch the bottom of the inning in what is now a tie game.
3:38 p.m. -- A 1-2-3 eighth for Batista, ball never left the infield. Game tied 5-5 heading to the ninth.
3:39 p.m. -- And over in Lake Buena Vista, it's all over. Nats lose to the Braves, 4-0. They managed all of four hits against Atlanta, two of them by Mike Morse.
3:45 p.m. -- Bottom of the ninth now in Port St. Lucie. Batista is back on for his second inning of work.
3:49 p.m. -- We've got free baseball here. Tied 5-5 after nine. Jerry Manuel and John McLaren conferred with plate umpire Bruce Dreckman and agreed to play one more inning. If nobody scores, it'll be declared a tie. Sisters are standing by in case they need to be kissed.
3:59 p.m. -- The sisters have taken a seat. Alberto Gonzalez crushes a two-run homer to left off Kiko Calero, giving the Nats a 7-5 lead in the top of the 10th. Looks like Jesse English will be pitching the bottom of the 10th, looking for his third save of the spring.
4:12 p.m. -- Ballgame. Nats win 7-5 in 10. Batista (6 up, 6 down) gets the win. English (scoreless 10th) gets the save. Gonzalez (2-run HR) hits the game-winner.