Nationals lead Mets 4-1

VIERA, Fla. - We’re in the seventh inning at Space Coast Stadium, and the Nationals have a 4-1 lead over the Mets. They’ve committed two errors - including one on a throw from Ian Desmond - but their relievers have continued to shut down New York after Chad Gaudin threw five shutout innings.

The right-hander, who lowered his ERA to 4.09 for the spring, gave up just four hits and struck out six batters, making use of a sharp slider that Mets hitters were out in front of for most of the game. He pitched out of a couple jams in the fourth and fifth to keep the game scoreless, and other than a bad inning in Tampa against the Yankees, he’s been solid this spring.

“I know I’m here to compete for (the fifth starter job),” Gaudin said. “I’ve been in this situation a couple times, and fared out not so well on several occasions. I’m going to take a little different approach and not let anything as far as outpitching (anybody) or making the team or making the fifth starter job put undue pressure on myself.”

The run the Nationals gave up in the seventh, with Sean Burnett on the mound, was unearned; Michael Aubrey’s throwing error helped prolong the inning.