VIERA (AP) — Doug Fister pitched 3 2-3 scoreless innings in only his second spring training start and Danny Espinosa hit two home runs, his second a game-ending shot that lifted the Washington Nationals to a 6-5 win over a Miami Marlins’ split-squad Saturday.
Fister, who was diagnosed with inflammation in his right elbow following his March 2 spring debut, struck out four and only allowed two hits.
“It’s knocking a little bit of the rust off, but everything felt really good,” Fister said. “It’s really good to get out there and feel good. All the work we’ve been putting in — the trainers, the pitching coaches, everybody — it’s paying off. We’re on the right track.”
Fister has one more Grapefruit League start to make before it will be determined whether he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Nationals manager Matt Williams was encouraged by Fister’s outing.
“I would say he’s right on schedule,” Williams said. “I talked to him immediately after the game. He said he felt good. No issues. Next time out, we’ll try to get him to 60 (pitches), maybe just a tick above.”
Marcel Ozuna hit solo homer off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano and drove in two runs for the Marlins. Donovan Solano also had two RBIs.
Espinosa’s first home run came immediately after a solo shot by Adam LaRoche in the eighth inning.
“We can tell him all day long that he’s right on, that he’s right where he needs to be, but it helps when they fall in . or over,” Williams said.
Nationals: Chris Young, who is competing for the Nationals’ fifth starter spot, came on in relief of Fister and threw 2 1-3 innings of scoreless ball. He allowed one hit while striking out three.
Marlins: Henderson Alvarez went four innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out four.
“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Marlins catcher Jeff Mathis said. “The last couple of innings, they put some good swings on some balls, but for the most part, I thought he threw the ball well. His changeup was good. His two-seamer was good.”
Nationals: Second baseman Anthony Rendon was out of the lineup again. He has been dealing with a chest cold for several days.
NICE THROW, WRONG BASE
Nationals left-fielder Bryce Harper was charged with a throwing error in the top of the eighth inning when he fielded a double by Miami’s Donovan Solano and threw home, which allowed Solano to advance to third base.
“We want to keep that guy at second base,” Williams said. “But do you understand where he threw that ball to home plate from? It was almost the warning track. I go, ‘Wow . wrong move.'”