JUPITER (AP) — One rusty inning proved costly to Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals in a 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
Strasburg allowed two runs on three hits in three innings in his second start, with all the damage coming in the third inning. He struck out two, walked a batter and hit another.
Left-hander Wade LeBlanc was sharp for the Marlins in his first start of the spring, allowing one hit over four scoreless innings.
Left-fielder Bryan Petersen opened Miami’s third with a single on a bouncer to the left of the mound. Strasburg fielded the ball, which slipped out of his hand as he tried to throw to first.
After Kyle Skipworth struck out, Jose Reyes roped a line drive over center fielder Rick Ankiel’s head for a triple. Reyes scored on Emilio Bonifacio’s single to left. Hanley Ramirez was hit by a pitch.
“I was commanding pitches a lot better. I’ve just got to go do some PFPs (pitchers fielding practice) tomorrow and adjust off of that,” Strasburg said.
“It’s something I can learn from. I can’t tell you the last time where I bobbled the ball where it’s gotten past me and I had to run around and throw it. The bottom line, I just have to slow down and throw it to first and if he beats it out he beats it out.”
Strasburg, Washington’s No. 1 starter, gave up two runs on three hits with three strikeouts over 2 2-3 innings in his first start, a 10-2 loss to Houston on Sunday.
“He was pretty good tonight,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Jose (Reyes) was better.”
Strasburg looked sharp in the first inning Friday. He threw a 96-mph strike to open the game and ended a one-two-three first inning by striking out Ramirez looking at a 97 mph fastball.
LeBlanc is battling for a long spot in the bullpen. He tossed 2 1-3 hitless innings of relief on March 5.
“He’s at the top of his game right now,” Guillen said of LeBlanc. “I think he’s the best one to throw the ball in spring training so far for us.”
The Marlins played their opening-day infield together for the first time this spring. Reyes made three plays at shortstop and Ramirez made a nice play at third base, gloving Ian Desmond’s one-hopper to end the third inning.
Ramirez made no effort to make a diving stop on Jason Michael’s single to left field in the fourth — on team orders. Ramirez had surgery on his left shoulder in September, so the Marlins want him to be careful this spring.
“Jose makes everybody on this ballclub better,” Guillen said of Reyes.
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