Nats fall in Grapefruit League opener

Nats fall in Grapefruit League opener

at Viera, Fla.
Thursday, March 2

Pirates at the plate: Outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Chris Duffy and Ryan Doumit had RBI singles. Brad Eldred hit a solo home run off Valerio De Los Santos in the top of the seventh inning. Craig Stansberry hit a three-run home run off Travis Hughes. Juan Bautista had an RBI double. The Pirates had a runner on base in the first five innings and had two runners thrown out at the plate.

Nationals at the plate: Brandon Watson, in the running for the center-field job, went 2-for-2 with a walk before Kenny Kelly replaced him in the top of the fifth inning. Mike DiFelice drove in the Nationals' only run with a single to right-center field off Ryan Vogelsong in the third inning. DiFelice ended up getting two hits in the game.

Pirates on the mound: Vogelsong pitched two innings and gave up one run on three hits. Victor Santos, Matt Whiteside, Scott Strickland and Britt Reames shut out the Nationals the rest of the way.

Nationals on the mound: Ramon Ortiz, making his Nationals debut, pitched three innings and gave up a run on three hits. Reliever Steve Watkins gave up the go-ahead run in the top of the fourth inning when he gave up an RBI single to Duffy. He ended up giving up two runs in two innings.

Grapefruit League records: Pirates 1-0; Nationals 0-1.

Up next: The Nationals travel to Bradenton Fla., to play the Pirates on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Kyle Denney will start the game for Washington, while Anastacio Martinez, Micah Bowie, Bill Bray, Jim Crowell and Francis Beltran will pitch in relief. Pittsburgh will have Zach Duke on the mound to start the game, while Paul Maholm, Mike Johnson and Terry Adams will pitch in relief.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.