WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Matt Adams couldn't wait to get back in the lineup for the first time in a week. That was evident Sunday in the Nationals' 6-2 win against the visiting Tigers at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Adams started at first base after missing a handful of games because of a blister on the heel of his right foot. He promptly went 3-for-3 batting cleanup. He hit a triple off the wall in right field in his first at-bat and added two singles and an RBI before exiting the game.
"First game back in a couple of days, so I just wanted to make sure I was seeing the ball," said Adams, who raised his batting average to .500 this spring. "Got into some good counts and was able to pick the ball up pretty well. Just wanted to put some good swings on it, and it ended up being a pretty good day."
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Adams said he learned a valuable lesson from the blister-induced time away from the lineup.
"I normally wear two pairs of socks and I only wore one pair, and it rubbed and by the time I found it, it was already ripped open, so it was too late," Adams said. "But you know, you live and you learn, so my next Spring Training I'll have to make sure I've got the right stuff."
Harper launches first homer
Bryce Harper also had a good day at the plate that included his first home run this spring, a two-run shot over the right-field wall into the Nats' bullpen that gave Washington a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third. Harper went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and scored two runs.
The middle of the Nats' batting order -- Harper, Adams and Matt Wieters -- accounted for six of the team's nine hits and had five RBIs.
"Really nice to see that," manager Dave Martinez said of Harper's homer. "Especially with the wind. And also nice to see him go the other way, too, and pick up those RBIs. Matt swung the bat really well. They're getting good at-bats. We just want to see quality at-bats in Spring Training, and we've seen that over the last few days. I think now the hitters are starting to catch up a bit."
Positive outing for Gio
Giovany Gonzalez worked on tweaking a couple of things in his second Grapefruit League start this spring, and both he and Martinez liked the results.
Gonzalez threw 53 pitches (33 for strikes) over three innings, allowing two runs on six hits.
"A lot of positives in today's game," said the left-hander, who is entering his seventh season with the Nationals. "There were a lot of things I got to learn from today's game, which is great."
Gonzalez said he felt strong enough to go out for another inning, but he already had slightly exceeded his planned pitch count for the day.
"The competitor in me wanted to go out and throw more innings," said Gonzalez, who picked up the win. "I understand there's other guys that have to work, too. Can't be selfish. I feel great, the arm felt good."
Martinez said he thought Gonzalez had a productive outing.
"He worked throwing breaking balls for strikes early in the count, worked on his changeup a little bit. He felt great, and it was good to see," Martinez said.
Martinez said that Adam Eaton continues to do "baseball activities" and is making good progress in his rehab from surgery on his left knee, with Opening Day still a target date for his return to the lineup.
"We'll see," Martinez said, when asked about Eaton possibly seeing action in a Grapefruit League game before camp breaks. "For me, it's just day to day. He's doing well, and we want him to continue to progress and not go backwards. He's starting to get it. We talk to him every day about [sticking to the program]."
Right-hander Tanner Roark will make his third start this spring when the Nationals make the short trip to Jupiter to face the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday on MLB.TV. Roark did not allow an earned run in either of his other two spring starts, both two-inning outings against the Marlins.