Nats score early, but fall to Marlins

Nats score early, but fall to Marlins

at Jupiter, Fla.
Sunday, March 23

Nationals at the plate: Cristian Guzman's third-inning sacrifice fly accounted for an unearned run in the third inning. Aaron Boone singled and scored on the play. Boone went from first to third on Tim Redding's sacrifice bunt that was played into two errors by Marlins starter Rick VandenHurk. In the fourth inning, three singles generated the second Washington run. After singles by Lastings Milledge and Nick Johnson put runners on the corners, Rob Mackowiak's RBI single brought Milledge home. Boone collected his second single, opening up the fifth inning.

Marlins at the plate: It took until the fourth inning for the Marlins to get a baserunner, and then they produced four runs. Hanley Ramirez singled to open the frame, and he scored on Dan Uggla's double. After a Dallas McPherson walk, Josh Willingham laced a two-run double. A passed ball by former Marlin Paul Lo Duca scored Willingham.

Nationals on the mound: Redding sailed along through three perfect innings, before he was lifted in the fourth inning with a mid-back spasm. In the fourth inning, the right-hander was touched for four runs on three hits. Redding exited in the fourth after the pitch that Lo Duca was charged with a passed ball. Redding doubled over on the mound, and he signaled to the dugout. The medical staff termed it a right thoracic spasm. After being tended to, he was lifted for reliever Ray King. King was effective for 1 2/3 innings, and Chad Cordero struck out one in a scoreless inning.

Marlins on the mound: VandenHurk, competing for one of two remaining rotation spots, got in four innings of work, allowing two runs (one earned), and he threw 48 pitches. The right-hander scattered four hits, and he got out of trouble in the fourth by getting Ronnie Belliard to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play. Matt Lindstrom, Justin Miller and Lee Gardner each strung together a scoreless inning.

Grapefruit League records: Marlins 17-8-2, Nationals 10-15-2.

Up next for the Nationals: Washington will take on the Tigers in Viera, Fla., on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Jason Bergmann, the No. 4 starter, takes the mound for the Nationals. Jesus Colome and Chad Cordero also are in line to get some relief work. The Tigers are going with Nate Robertson.

Up next for the Marlins: Chris Volstad looks to enrich his chances of winning a rotation spot on Monday when the Marlins face the Astros in a 1:05 p.m. ET start in Jupiter, Fla. The 21-year-old, a first-round pick in 2005, has seen his stock rise all spring, and especially of late. He could secure a possible third spot in the rotation slot before the team breaks camp. The Astros are going with Shawn Chacon.

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