Nice rally from the Nats in the ninth inning to win 6-2 over the Mets today. They’d had two hits to that point, but came alive for six runs at the end of the game, including four with two outs.
“Even if it is spring training, you get excited about things like that,” manager Manny Acta said.
Speaking of things that excite the Nationals, Shairon Martis was strong again today. He wasn’t above a few nits for pitching coach Randy St. Claire to pick—he only threw first-pitch strikes to six of 17 batters and his curveball was a little flat at times—but he gave up just one run in four innings, and that run was his first of the spring. “He’s making it tough,” Acta said. “He’s competing. That’s one of the reasons we stretched him out to four innings.”
To accommodate Martis’ start, the Nationals kept John Lannan back to throw in an intrasquad game, where he pitched five shutout innings. Take that for what it’s worth (he faced the likes of Pete Orr, Ryan Langerhans, Anderson Hernandez, Jose Castillo and Marcus Jones), but the more impressive stat is Lannan’s strike count—43-for-59.
Justin Maxwell delivered the big blow in the ninth inning, hitting a two-run pinch homer off Mike DeSalvo. The outfielder had been tinkering with his stance before the game—hitting coach Rick Eckstein had him returning to the open stance he used during a 2007 call-up—and it worked today.
Not too much else to report from here. The Nationals are back at home tomorrow for an afternoon game against the Tigers. Talk to you then.