Harper’s homer puts Nats, Strasburg ahead 5-3 (Nats win 7-3)


Score: Nationals 7, Mets 3

Recap: Right-hander Stephen Strasburg gave up three runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings, walked two and struck out seven. Bryce Harper hit his second spring homer, a towering three-run shot that glanced off a flagpole in left-center, and Ryan Zimmerman also went deep.

Need to know: The Nats’ starting eight (minus the pitcher) played the entire game, a sure sign that spring training is nearing an end.

On deck: Wednesday, at Cardinals in Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

Stephen Strasburg has turned in an impressive spring, but a ball that got up into the jet stream blowing out to left field at Space Coast Stadium ignited a rally that saw the Mets take a 3-0 lead on the right-hander.

The lead didn’t last long, thanks to a five-run Nationals rally in the bottom of the inning.

The way Strasburg has been throwing this spring - he carried a 0.64 ERA after 14 innings over four starts into Tuesday’s game - he hasn’t been giving much of anything up. That’s probably one of the reasons new manager Matt Williams didn’t mind him facing the Mets, who he’ll oppose Monday in the season opener at Citi Field.

Travis d’Arnaud led off the third inning with a fly ball to left field that became a wind-blown homer for a 1-0 Mets lead. Before the catcher’s blast, Strasburg had breezed through two innings unscathed, allowing only a leadoff walk in the first to Eric Young Jr., who was quickly erased on a double play a batter later.

After Zack Wheeler struck out, Ruben Tejada walked and scored on a triple into the right field corner by Young. David Wright’s single to left made it 3-0.

In the bottom of the third, Washington loaded the bases on singles by Span and Anthony Rendon and a one-out walk to Jayson Werth. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a two-run single to left and Bryce Harper smashed a three-run homer to left-center for a 5-3 lead. It was Harper’s second home run of the spring.

Wheeler was pulled in favor of Vic Black after issuing a two-out walk to Adam LaRoche.

Update: Strasburg hit for himself in the fifth inning, and he’s back out for the sixth.

The Nats upped their lead to 6-3 in the fifth when Ian Desmond singled, stole second and scored on Jose Lobaton’s two-out single.

Update II: Strasburg’s day is done after 5 2/3 innings, and lefty Jerry Blevins is in for the Nationals.

Strasburg allowed three runs on five hits, walked two and struck out seven. He threw 84 pitches, 58 for strikes. He’ll finish Grapefruit League play with a 1.83 ERA in five starts.

Update III: Nationals managed Matt Williams asked for a replay review after what appeared to be an inning-ending catch by Span in center was ruled a trap, and his challenge resulted in the play being reversed.

Span dove to glove Andrew Brown’s sinking liner and made a tumbling catch, but the play was initially ruled a trap. Williams requested a replay review, which revealed the catch was made and the call was reversed.

Update IV: Zimmerman homered in the bottom of the eighth off Mets closer Bobby Parnell for a 7-3 lead. Zimmerman has three RBIs on the day.

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