Giolito dealing with Mets, rain (Nationals win 5-0)

The biggest threat to Lucas Giolito so far in his major league debut hasn't been the Mets lineup. It's the weather.

A heavy cell of storms delayed the first pitch of Giolito's career for 55 minutes tonight. Now the Nationals rookie is trying to record as many outs as he can before the next cell hits.

lucas-giolito-throws-spring-red.jpgWith ominous clouds hovering above Nationals Park, Giolito is pitching like a seasoned pro, not a 21-year-old just promoted from Double-A. He has tossed three scoreless innings to begin his career, needing only 32 pitches to do it.

A large crowd waited out the first storm in anticipation of Giolito's debut. They serenaded the 6-foot-6 hurler as he walked in from the bullpen, then cheered again as he took the mound shortly before 8 p.m.

Giolito's first inning was just a bit rocky, with Curtis Granderson roping a leadoff single to left, Asdrubal Cabrera battling through a seven-pitch at-bat before striking out and Yoenis Cespedes roping a fastball 112 mph right at third baseman Anthony Rendon for a groundout. Giolito battled back, though, getting Neil Walker to ground into a double play to end the inning, and he has cruised since then.

Giolito needed only nine pitches a piece to complete the second and third innings, with only a four-pitch walk to Granderson spoiling matters. He has pitched to contact, recording only one strikeout but getting plenty of quick outs with a fastball that has sat at 94-96 mph.

And his teammates have given him a 1-0 lead, thanks to Wilson Ramos' second-inning single and Rendon's RBI triple to the gap in right-center.

Update: Time was called at 9:09 p.m. with Danny Espinosa batting and Giolito in the on-deck circle. We're in another delay as a strong cell of storms moves in from the west.

Update II: The Nationals have announced that the game is expected to resume at 10:30 p.m.

Update III: The game has resumed at 10:33 p.m. Mets starter Matt Harvey has been replaced by Eric Goeddel, and Michael A. Taylor pinch-hit for Giolito, meaning both starters are out. Yusmeiro Petit is warming, and the expectation is he will replace Giolito in the fifth.

Update IV: OK, we have completed five inning here, and the Nats now lead 3-0. That's because Bryce Harper took old pal Jerry Blevins way deep to right for a two-run homer, his 16th of the season. Giolito has long since left the game, winding up with four scoreless, one-hit innings on his big league resume. Harvey also departed the game, leaving this one in the hands of both bullpens.

Update V: Make it 5-0 Nats after Wilson Ramos' two-run double off the wall in center in the bottom of the seventh. Ramos is now hitting a cool .343 for the season. The Nationals bullpen has done a nice job pitching in tonight, including Oliver Perez (who pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the sixth) and Sammy Solis, who tossed a scoreless seventh and now is returning for the eighth.

Update VI: That's it. Nats win, 5-0. Giolito couldn't get the win by rule because he didn't go five innings, but he certainly pitched well and played a significant role in the victory. The actual W goes to Perez, per the official scorer's discretion. Meanwhile, the Nationals now lead the Marlins by 4 1/2 games and the Mets by 5 games in the NL East.

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