Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan struggled early but rebounded over his 5 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals are back in town for the third time this spring, bringing their entire "A" lineup, aside from Albert Pujols. The reigning MVP was actually supposed to make this trip, but manager Tony La Russa decided at the last minute not to subject Pujols (who has battled some back issues this spring) to the two-hour bus ride up I-95.
John Lannan, still the Nats' presumptive Opening Day starter even though that hasn't been made official, is on the mound for the home team. The left-hander has had a very nice, unspectacular spring, which is exactly what you want out of your top starter. He could go as many as six innings today if he keeps his pitch count down.
Check back throughout the day for updates...
CARDINALS AT NATIONALS
Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.
Gametime: 1:05 p.m.
TV/Radio: WFED-1500 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 13 mph RF to LF
3B Willie Harris
SS Cristian Guzman
2B Adam Kennedy
1B Adam Dunn
LF Josh Willingham
C Ivan Rodriguez
RF Roger Bernadina
CF Willy Taveras
P John Lannan
2B Skip Schumaker
SS Julio Lugo
1B Allen Craig
LF Matt Holliday
CF Ryan Ludwick
3B David Freese
RF Nick Stavinoha
C Matt Pagnozzi
P Adam Wainwright
12:47 p.m. -- Last night, it was the lights. Today, it's the scoreboard. At the moment, the only thing displayed is the word "Cardinals" in the visitor's spot. No home team. No totals. No video board.
1:06 p.m. -- Scoreboard is functional and operating. And John Lannan throws a strike to Skip Schumaker to get things started.
1:23 p.m. -- Not the first inning Lannan wanted. Eight Cardinals came to the plate. Three reached on hits. Two walked. All told, three runs scored, with Matt Holliday's RBI double the biggest blow. A whopping 34 pitches, 22 of them strikes.
1:32 p.m. -- The Nationals strike back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Willie Harris singles to right, as does Cristian Guzman (on the first pitch he saw, naturally). Harris scores on Adam Kennedy's groundout to first, with Guzman moving to third when Allen Craig's throw skipped into shallow left field. Guzman then scores on Adam Dunn's groundout. So after one inning, it's already Cardinals 3, Nationals 2.
1:40 p.m. -- Better second inning for Lannan, though his command remains off. Walked Lugo with two outs but rebounded to strike out Craig to end the inning.
1:52 p.m. -- Lannan may not be having a great day on the mound, but he's at least helping himself at the plate. Just drove a two-out single to left, scoring Roger Bernadina and knotting the game up at 3.
2:26 p.m. -- The Cards currently lead 4-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Lannan was cruising along pretty well until he allowed an RBI double to Adam Wainwright in the fourth.
2:35 p.m. -- Lannan's day is over with two outs in the sixth. He allowed four runs on eight hits, is still responsible for a man on second. Jason Bergmann has emerged out of the bullpen to try to get out of the inning and keep the deficit at one run.
2:39 p.m. -- Bergmann gets out of it, though not without a moment of trepidation. Wainwright hits a grounder to third, and Willie Harris jogs over to step on third. Just one problem: There was no force out at third. A couple of guys yelled out at Harris to throw the ball to first, and he did just in time to get Wainwright and end the inning.
2:42 p.m. -- Lannan's final line: 5 2/3 ip, 8 h, 4 er, 3 bb, 4 k, 96 pitches, 63 strikes.
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ivan Rodriguez homered in the sixth to give the Nats the lead.
3:03 p.m. -- Willie Harris has been on base all four times he's come to the plate today: Single, single, double, walk.
3:24 p.m. -- A wild pickoff throw to first allows Mike Morse to score from third and puts the Nats up 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth. Three outs from victory, with Brian Bruney expected to pitch the ninth.
3:26 p.m. -- Make that 7-4 thanks to a Roger Bernadina single.
3:37 p.m. -- And Brian Bruney shuts the door on the Cardinals. A weak infield single is the first hit Bruney has allowed in his last six innings. Nats win, 7-4.
4:17 p.m. -- John Lannan, on his rough first inning today: "I wasn't really pitching like myself. I threw a lot of offspeed pitches. Usually in the first inning, I establish my fastball. I didn't really do that. I fell behind hitters. And when I fall behind, I get into some trouble."