Fast and furious at start, but Nats fall

Fast and furious at start, but Nats fall

at Jupiter, Fla.
Thursday, March 4

Nationals at the plate: Jerry Owens' two-out RBI single to left opened the scoring in the second inning. Justin Maxwell walked and stole second, setting up Owens' soft fly to left. Owens had two hits, while Eric Bruntlett added a bunt single. Ivan Rodriguez went 1-for-3; Ian Desmond was 2-for-3 with a double, RBI, walk and a run scored; and Stephen Lombardozzi added an RBI single in the eighth. In the ninth, Kevin Mench connected on a home run to center.

Marlins at the plate: Held hitless through three innings, prospect Bryan Petersen put his team on the board with a home run to open the fourth inning. The Marlins pushed two runs across in the fifth inning for a 3-1 lead. Ronny Paulino doubled, Mike Lamb had a pinch-hit RBI single and Petersen collected a fielder's-choice RBI groundout. A four-run seventh inning blew open a six-run lead. Donnie Murphy had a two-run single, and Logan Morrison drove in two with a triple.

Nationals on the mound: J.D. Martin, in the mix for either the fourth- or fifth-starting spot, helped his chances. The right-hander threw two perfect innings, with one strikeout. He threw 19 pitches, 14 for strikes. Collin Balester had a two-inning stint, allowing a home run to Petersen to open the fourth. Brian Bruney allowed two runs on two hits with a walk in the fifth inning.

Marlins on the mound: Anibal Sanchez, looking to solidify a rotation spot, turned in a two-inning performance. The right-hander yielded one run on two singles, with a walk and three strikeouts. After a 15-pitch first inning, he labored for 26 pitches in the second inning. Of his 41 pitches, Sanchez threw 23 for strikes. Rick VandenHurk tossed two scoreless innings, striking out two. He walked one and gave up one hit, throwing 35 pitches, 20 for strikes. Taylor Tankersley tossed an inning of scoreless relief in the sixth.

Worth noting: The Nationals wasted little time testing their running game. In two innings against Sanchez, they stole three bases. Desmond swiped second in the first. In the second inning, Maxwell walked, stole second and scored. Owens also stole a base in the second. Maxwell made a diving grab in center field to rob Paulino of a run-scoring hit in the sixth inning. ... The Marlins showed an infield shift for Adam Dunn. Dan Uggla played in short right field, while third baseman Wes Helms moved to the second-base side of the infield, close to second base.

Grapefruit League records: Marlins 1-0; Nationals 0-2.

Up next: The Nationals are in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Friday to take on the Braves at 1:05 p.m. ET. Miguel Batista will make his first start of the spring, and Atlanta is going with Derek Lowe.

The Marlins travel to Port St. Lucie, Fla., where they will meet the Mets at 1:10 p.m., in a game that will be shown on MLB.TV. Chris Volstad will be on the hill for Florida, while Fernando Nieve goes for New York. Hanley Ramirez is not scheduled to make the trip.

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