Nationals right-hander tosses five scoreless innings, delivers RBI infield single
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets and Nationals closed out their Grapefruit League schedules on Thursday afternoon at Tradition Field, with Washington earning a 4-0 victory.
The Nats have an exhibition game scheduled on Saturday in Washington, while the Mets will play two exhibitions, Friday and Saturday in Montreal. But in their final contest in Florida, Jordan Zimmermann pitched five scoreless innings and notched an RBI to carry the Nats.
The clubs approached the game differently from a pitching perspective. The Nats didn't mind starting Zimmermann, who also will pitch against the Mets in the third game of the regular season. New York, on the other hand, kept No. 2 starter Bartolo Colon to a Minor League game on a backfield while Minor Leaguer Cory Mazzoni took the mound against Washington.
In his fifth and final spring tuneup, Zimmermann blanked the Mets on four hits -- all singles -- to lower his spring ERA to 0.50. The righty walked none and struck out three and said he didn't hold anything back in anticipation of his next start.
"No, I went after them," he said. "Threw everything at them, and bottom line, they're gonna have to hit the same stuff I throw here as I do up there. I'm not trying to trick them by not showing them everything. I have to get ready myself. I was throwing everything."
Mazzoni left the game after 1 2/3 innings with triceps soreness in his pitching arm. In the second inning, the Nats had loaded the bases with two outs on singles by Wilson Ramos and Adam LaRoche and a Danny Espinosa walk. The final hitter Mazzoni faced was Zimmermann, who dribbled a grounder past the mound and toward shortstop for an RBI infield hit.
Mazzoni was replaced by John Lannan, the first of a parade of relievers.
The Nats plated two more against Jeurys Familia in the eighth inning. After Denard Span singled, new acquisition Kevin Frandsen doubled in his first at-bat off the bench, moving Span to third. Mets center fielder Juan Lagares saved a run temporarily when he ran from left-center to right-center for a diving catch on Jose Lobaton's deep drive, turning an extra-base hit into a sacrifice fly. But Bryce Harper followed with an RBI single to put the Nats up, 3-0.
Eric Young Jr. collected three hits for the Mets, while Espinosa went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk for the Nats.
Up next: The Nats fly back to Washington right after Thursday's game and will have a day off before hosting the Tigers in an exhibition game at 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday at Nationals Park. The game, the Nats' last before the regular season begins, will be available free on MLB.TV. Tanner Roark will get the start for Washington, with Taylor Jordan expected to pitch in relief. The two right-handers were the final remaining candidates for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, but with Doug Fister straining his right lat Thursday, both pitchers could begin the season in the rotation.