1:05 PM ET, March 5, 2013
Space Coast Stadium, Melbourne, Florida
VIERA, Fla. -- The Washington Nationals finally got a look at their new closer on Tuesday.They liked what they saw.Rafael Soriano, who signed a two-year, $28 million contract with Washington in January, gave up a hit in a scoreless inning in his spring training debut during a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros."He was getting his work in, but he made some good pitches," Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "(He threw) a 3-2 breaking ball (to Houston's Robbie Grossman) for a strikeout to end the inning. He looked good."Soriano, who arrived late to camp because of visa issues, is scheduled to make eight appearances this spring, including one set of back-to-back outings."He's a character to say the least," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He was a little frustrated that we had all those (scoring) rallies. He was ready to go. He said he was down there throwing some knuckleballs to kill some time."Once on the mound, Soriano's day lasted 12 pitches, in he seventh inning. He got Houston's Justin Maxwell out on a long fly to center field, then gave up a single to J.D. Martinez. After Suzuki threw out pinch-runner Brandon Barnes trying to steal second, he struck out Grossman to end the inning.The right-hander is essentially on his own throwing program this spring, but that's just fine with Johnson."He knows exactly what he wants to do to get ready for the season," the manager said. "He's fine."Houston manager Bo Porter said the Astros didn't play the cleanest game with three errors, but raved about starting pitcher Lucas Harrell. The right-hander pitched four innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out four."Lucas Harrell did a great job," Porter said. "Four strong innings, and even when he got in trouble, he was able to make pitches and get out of it. He had great pace. He was down in the zone. He knew exactly what he wanted to do."Second baseman Jose Altuve had two of the Astros' four hits and also drove in a run.Porter, who spent the previous two seasons as the Nationals third base coach was managing his first game against his former club. He got an enthusiastic hug from Washington principal owner Mark Lerner and was also greeted by Johnson and players like Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche.Johnson told reporters Porter is the "perfect man for the job" in Houston because he is fundamentally sound and has a great eye for talent.Porter, meanwhile, was happy to see some of his old friends."It's good to be back, good to see a lot of these guys," he said. "They've got a good thing going on. It's a good ballclub. They've got a chance to do something special."Washington broke the game open Tuesday with a five-run sixth inning.Second baseman Danny Espinosa had two hits and two RBIs. Third baseman Chad Tracy also drove in two runs.Nationals starter Dan Haren threw mostly fastballs and cutters for the second straight outing. He retired six consecutive batters before running into trouble in the third when he gave up a run on two hits and a walk."In spring training, if you do good, you feel great (and) if you do bad, you're just working on stuff," Haren said. ". I was just working on things in the third inning."
|Stadium||Space Coast Stadium, Melbourne, FL|
|Weather||74 degrees, Fair|
|Wind||3 mph, SE|
|Umpires||Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Gary Cederstrom, Second Base - Andy Fletcher|