Nationals overpower Cards


VIERA, Fla. — As he warmed up in the bullpen for his second spring training start, Stephen Strasburg felt strong. Perhaps a little too strong.

The right-hander overcame a shaky first inning and the Washington Nationals’ offense came up big again in an 11-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

Strasburg walked two and gave up an RBI single to his first three batters before settling down. He went three innings, allowing two hits while throwing 28 of 48 pitches for strikes.

“I got some good work in,” Strasburg said. “I felt too good in the bullpen and then went out there and tried to paint the first pitch on (the black) instead of starting out with a little bit bigger zone and then working off the middle of the plate.

“I made a good adjustment and then I didn’t see any problems.”

Anthony Rendon homered and Wilson Ramos had two hits and three RBIs for the Nationals, who have 27 runs in their last three games. Washington scored four runs in the third inning, three on infield singles.

Allen Craig had two of St. Louis’ three hits, including an RBI single. Cardinals starter Joe Kelly gave up five runs and seven hits in 2 1-3 innings.

STARTING TIME

Cardinals: Kelly had a rough outing, but manager Mike Matheny wasn’t entirely displeased.

“I thought he did a lot better job than what his line is going to look like,” Matheny said. “It was just one of those days.”

Nationals: Strasburg continued to work on his slider, which he is mixing in about as often as his curveball right now. He said he throws the slider to get contact, not for a strikeout.

“Before, I would kind of throw it easy, a little unsure,” Strasburg said. “But in the ‘pen, it felt really good. Then I go out there and I was overthrowing it. It had a little too much movement. But then I took a step back and then I started to get some better results with it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Outfield prospect Oscar Tavares made the trip to Viera, but his only action was shagging fly balls before the game. Matheny said Tavares felt tightness in his right hamstring during Saturday’s game. Tavares is day to day.

Nationals: Manager Matt Williams said RHP Doug Fister (elbow inflammation) is feeling better, but there is still no timetable for his return.

Note: Former University of Hawaii and Kamehameha-Hawaii standout Kolten Wong went 0 for 1 against the Nationals on Sunday.

Giants (ss) 8

SF Futures 0

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner moved one step closer to his first opening-day start for San Francisco. The left-hander even got some work done at the plate.

Bumgarner pitched four innings of one-hit ball, and a split squad of Giants won 8-0 against a group of the organization’s top prospects.

Most of San Francisco’s primary players recorded a 3-2 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Glendale.

The 24-year-old Bumgarner struck out five and walked two. He threw between 50 and 60 pitches and added another 10 in the bullpen after leaving the game.

He was perfectly fine with the decision to pitch him against the prospects.

“It’s something I’ve done every year. They are good players and a good group of guys,” Bumgarner said. “Things are slowly coming along for me. I’m pushing toward that last start of the spring.”

Bumgarner also had a run-scoring single to cap a five-run first inning.

He has been talking with the other pitchers in the rotation about how they can help themselves by coming up with timely hits or moving baserunners along.

“I’ve been doing all this talk about hitting. I didn’t embarrass myself too bad,” he said, laughing.

Right-hander Kyle Crick, who started for the Future Stars, had a rough outing. He recorded just two outs and was charged with five runs and one hit. He also walked four and struck out one.

Minor league outfielder Brett Krill had two hits and two RBIs for the Giants. First baseman Angel Villalona had a pair of hits for the Future Stars.

Orioles 9

Pirates (ss) 2

SARASOTA, Fla. — Chris Davis had a long home run and three RBIs, J.J. Hardy hit a three-run shot and Wei-Yin Chen pitched three shutout innings to help the Baltimore Orioles beat a Pittsburgh Pirates split squad 9-2.

Davis has two homers and seven RBIs this spring for the Orioles, who improved to 8-2.

Baltimore scored 20 runs in two games Saturday against Boston and is averaging nearly eight runs per game.

“I have not looked at a stat sheet this spring — and won’t. I don’t look at them,” manager Buck Showalter said.

If Showalter looked, he’d see Davis is hitting .533, Hardy .400 and right fielder Nick Markakis, who had two hits, is at .633.

“I trust my eyes,” Showalter said. “I’m OK with them playing real well.”

Matt Wieters tried to downplay the Orioles’ offensive performance.

“It’s nice to swing the bat well at any time. It’s also nice to pitch well,”he said.

In his second Grapefruit League start, Chen gave up one hit and struck out two.

Mariners 9

Rangers 8

PEORIA, Ariz. — A shaky Felix Hernandez allowed four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings before the Seattle Mariners rallied late to beat the Texas Rangers 9-8 on Sunday.

Making his second Cactus League start, Hernandez (1-1) allowed four hits and walked one, while striking out four. Hernandez opened the game by issuing a leadoff walk to Jurickson Profar before sandwiching a pair of strikeouts around a flyout by Prince Fielder.

Fielder got the best of Hernandez in the third, though, when he lined a double that scored Elvis Andrus and sparked a four-run inning. Hernandez left the game one batter later after striking out Michael Choice, who reached on a wild pitch.

Texas starter Colby Lewis, also making his second spring appearance, held the Mariners scoreless over two innings.

Seattle’s reserves scored six runs in the eighth, erasing Texas’ five-run lead.

White Sox 2

Athletics 2

PHOENIX — Josh Donaldson hit his first home run of the spring and the Oakland Athletics tied the Chicago White Sox 2-2 in a game stopped after nine innings.

Dan Straily and three Oakland relievers held the White Sox to three hits.

Straily went 3 1-3 innings, walking three and striking out two. He gave up two hits — one was Matt Davidson’s deep fly to left that Yoenis Cespedes misjudged. Cespedes came in on the ball but it landed well behind him and bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.

Cespedes’ woes weren’t over. He struck out three times, and in the sixth he was charged with a three-base error for failing to catch Gordon Beckham’s fly to the warning track in left-center. That led to Chicago’s first run.

Angels 3, Reds 1

TEMPE, Ariz. — Johnny Cueto rebounded from a rough outing with four scoreless innings for the Cincinnati Reds in their 3-1 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Angels.

Cueto, coming off an injury-plagued season, allowed two hits and struck out two. It was a big improvement over his second spring start, when he gave up six runs and seven hits to Kansas City in 2 2-3 innings.

A 19-game winner in 2012, Cueto struggled with a strained muscle on the right side of his back last year and was sidelined for 2½ months. He finished 5-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 11 starts.

Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs also threw four shutout innings, allowing one hit and two walks with three strikeouts.

Erick Aybar singled and stole second to start the fifth against Reds reliever Sam LeCure. Hank Conger followed with a single to score Aybar, and Conger went to second on the throw home. He was called safe by umpire Jim Reynolds on a close play. Reds manager Bryan Price challenged the call, which was upheld.

Kole Calhoun added a two-out RBI single. Carlos Pena had a run-scoring single in the sixth.

Rockies 10

Royals 1

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Juan Nicasio pitched four scoreless innings, Kyle Parker drove in five runs and the Colorado Rockies beat the Kansas City Royals 10-1.

Nicasio allowed one hit, struck out three and walked one.

Parker, a former Clemson quarterback who was selected by the Rockies in the first round of the 2010 draft, hit a two-run double in the seventh off Royals closer Greg Holland. He added a bases-clearing double in the Rockies’ four-run ninth.

The Rockies’ 14-hit attack included a two-run single for Wilin Rosario in the first. Paul Janish went 3 for 3 and Corey Dickerson homered in the sixth.

The Royals have lost three straight and are 0-3-1 in their past four games.

 

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