JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Stephen Strasburg outpitched Jose Fernandez and the Nationals beat the Marlins 2-1 in a spring training game Saturday.
Will Rhymes scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the third and in the top of the fifth, Danny Espinosa scored on Wilson Ramos’ single to center.
“It was a good match up today with those two guys going at it,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. Of his ace, he said: “The slider, the fastball – a good mid-90s fastball – everything was good. He’s letting the ball go and is throwing strikes.”
Marcell Ozuna scored the only Marlins run in the bottom of the seventh, on Alfredo Silverio’s grounder.
Strasburg pitched four innings, allowed two hits and one walk.
Fernandez gave up two hits and an earned run with four walks in 4 1-3 innings.
“It’s a great matchup, two of the young bright stars in the game,” Marlins bench coach Rob Leary said. “But again, it’s a spring training game where guys are getting ready for the season.”
Will Rhymes scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Zimmerman in the top of the third, and Danny Espinosa in the top of the fifth on a Wilson Ramos single for the Nationals.
Marcell Ozuna scored the only Marlins run of the game in the bottom of the seventh.
Nationals: Strasburg came into Saturday’s game having pitched two innings this spring, allowing one hit in an 8-4 loss to the Braves on March 4.
“I went out there and tried to build off the last start, work on things and get the pitches tighter,” Strasburg said. “It’s a natural progression in the spring that you’re feeling for it. Today I felt a lot more locked in.”
Marlins: Fernandez threw 41 strikes in 73 pitches. He pitched 5 1-3 innings gave up four hits in two previous starts this spring.
“I’d like to get him through five,” Leary said before the game. “But, of course, it’s the pitch count, he’ll probably go 60-65 pitches.”
Nationals: Doug Fister remains out of the lineup with elbow inflammation. He threw on Friday and is expected to play in the next couple of days.
Fister’s allowed one run in two hits in his only spring appearance, which was against the Marlins earlier this month.
Marlins: Ed Lucas remains day-to-day with a left hamstring injury.
PANAMA WILL WAIT
When Rob Brantly first heard the Marlins would play the Yankees in Panama this weekend he was hoping to be picked for the trip. His late paternal grandfather, Juan Pablo, was Panamanian.
“It would’ve been great to see family and to get down to Panama where my grandfather was born,” Brantly said. “My grandfather played baseball down there and that’s where my passion for the game came from.”
Brantly, however, isn’t complaining.
“Right now I’m thankful for the playing time I get,” he said on Saturday. “I had the opportunity to start last night and played nine innings.”
Leary, the Marlins bench coach and catching instructor, said Brantly learned a lot last season, including from being sent down to Triple A-New Orleans.
This spring, Brantly has caught in eight games with four starts.
“The experience of going through a full major league season he knows what’s expected,” Leary said. “He looks a lot more relaxed and a lot more at ease this year.
“He’s had a really good spring and we’re really happy with his progress.”
And as for Panama, Brantly has an alternate plan.
“That can also be accomplished, and appreciated more, in an offseason trip down there,” he said.