Zimmerman, Nats overpower Astros

Zimmerman, Nats overpower Astros

at Kissimmee, Fla.
Sunday, March 2

Astros at the plate: Lance Berkman, in his first start of the spring, doubled in his first at-bat and finished 1-for-4 for the day. Carlos Lee singled and walked in three plate appearances.

Nationals at the plate: Ryan Zimmerman hit his first homer of the spring, a two-run shot off Shawn Chacon, and Lastings Milledge went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Wily Mo Pena and Ronnie Belliard hit back-to-back homers off Doug Brocail.

Astros on the mound: Shawn Chacon, one of the candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, pitched well in his first start. The right-hander threw 34 pitches, including 21 strikes, and a home run by Zimmerman was the only hard hit ball he gave up. Felipe Paulino, a product of the Astros' Venezuelan Academy and rated as No. 2 prospect in the organization by Baseball America, pitched two hitless innings.

Nationals on the mound: Right-hander Steven Shell allowed one run on three hits and a walk in three innings. Left-hander Mike O'Connor gave up a run over 2 2/3 innings.

Grapefruit League records: Astros 1-4, Nationals 2-2.

Up next: Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez will start Monday against the Yankees at 12:05 p.m. CT in Kissimmee, Fla. Following Rodriguez will be Mark McLemore, Oscar Villarreal, Brian Moehler and Mike DeJean. Mike Mussina is scheduled to start for the Yankees.

The Nationals will host the Cardinals in a 12:05 p.m. CT game at Viera, Fla. Righty Tim Redding will start for Washington, followed by Jason Stanford, Tristan Crawford and Ray King. Righty Braden Looper will go for St. Louis.

Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.