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Washington Nationals lose to New York Mets, 8-4, and Houston Astros, 5-3 to wrap up Grapefruit League play at 16-12-2

SB Nation logo SB Nation 3/24/2019 Patrick Reddington
a baseball player holding a bat © Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Ross started against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, FL, while Patrick Corbin faced the Astros in West Palm Beach.

Joe Ross, who was optioned to Triple-A Fresno on Saturday, made his seventh appearance, and second start, of the Spring today, but he found himself in an early hole with two triples leading to runs in the first, 2-0. A walk came around to tie things up in the third inning after the Washington Nationals jumped out to a 3-2 lead, 3-3.

Ross was up to 49 pitches total after four, with a 4-3 lead, and he came back out for a fifth inning of work against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, FL’s First Data Stadium and promptly surrendered a game-tying solo home run on a hanging slider to Juan Lagares that sailed out to left field, 4-4.

Ross was done for the day after throwing 62 pitches in five innings, giving up seven hits, the four earned runs, and two walks.

Though there was discussion of having the right-hander work out of the bullpen, in his first full season back following Tommy John surgery, Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez was clear in a post-game interview on Saturday that they still view Ross as a starter and will have him in a starting role with their top affiliate. Ross has a long flight ahead of him this week...

RUNS: Matt Adams crushed a 2-1 fastball, belt-high and over the middle of the plate, from a young Mets’ pitcher, Simeon Woods Richardson, sending a 3-run home run over the right field fence for his fifth blast of the Spring and a 3-2 Nats’ lead after three innings.

Drew Ward doubled to drive in a run in the fourth, bringing O’Koyea Dickson around after the outfielder (who was the DH today) singled off pitcher Zach Lee with one down in the Nationals’ half of the inning, 4-3.

BULLPEN ACTION: Left-hander Taylor Guilbeau had a single and two errors cause him some trouble (and a run) in the bottom of the sixth inning, and a walk loaded the bases with two out so that Jeff McNeil could clear them with a double to the left-center gap on an 88 mph, 2-1 fastball low in the zone outside, 8-4 Mets.

Dakota Bacus took over for Guilbeau at that point, and got the final out of the inning after he hit a batter.

Bacus retired two batters in the seventh before the Nationals went to the pen again for right-hander Joan Baez, who struck Luis Guillorme out to end the inning.

Derek Self struck out the side in an 18-pitch eighth, all three swinging, in an impressive display, but the Nationals came up empty in the top of the ninth. 8-4 Mets final.

MEANWHILE: In West Palm Beach, Florida, the Nationals took on the Houston Astros in their shared Spring home, with Patrick Corbin on the hill in his final tune-up before he makes his regular season debut with the Nats after signing a 6-year/$140M deal with Washington back in December.

Before today, the lefty had a 5.00 ERA (10 ER in 18 IP), two walks, and 12 strikeouts in five starts, with opposing hitters putting up a .320 AVG against him this Spring.

Corbin took the mound with a 2-0 lead, but after a scoreless first, he gave up runs in each of the next three innings, with Max Stassi connecting for an RBI single in the second, Jake Marisnick hitting a solo home run in the third, and Granden Goetzman doubling to drive in one run in the bottom of the fourth, 3-3.

Corbin held the Mets off the board in the fifth, then gave up back-to-back hits with one out in the sixth, but back-to-back Ks got him out of the inning and ended his outing.

Patrick Corbin’s Line: 6.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 7/1 GO/FO, 99 P, 66 S.

Henderson Alvarez followed Corbin on the mound and gave up three hits, three walks, and two earned runs over two innings of work in what ended up a 5-3 loss.

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