VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals gave up a pair of runs in the sixth inning, with Collin Balester allowing a single and a walk before Freddie Freeman drove in two runs with a single. Balester had thrown a shutout inning in his other appearance this spring, but wasn't sharp today - and wasn't helped by a passed ball from Jesus Flores, who also just had trouble with a Cole Kimball sinker while Jordan Schafer stole second base.
But the Nationals got the lead back in the bottom of the sixth, when Ryan Zimmerman checked in with his first homer of the spring.
Zimmerman swung at the first pitch he saw from Jairo Asencio, blasting it off the shed behind the right field fence to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead. The wind is blowing out to right again today, and that helped the shot, but Zimmerman did a nice job taking the pitch the other way.
The Braves just tied the game again off Kimball; Schafer scored after bunting his way on and stealing on Flores. Diory Hernandez singled home Schafer, but the Nationals threw him out at second to end the inning. Bryce Harper made a strong throw home, and after the Nationals couldn't get Schafer, Flores fired to shortstop Alex Cora to cut down Hernandez.
Harper is due up seventh in the seventh inning, but it's likely he'll get an at-bat today.