Pitching dominates during Nats' final intrasquad game

VIERA, Fla. - Intrasquad games in late February aren't designed so much for hitters as they are for pitchers, who use this opportunity to bridge the gap between live batting practice sessions and their first Grapefruit League outings later this week.

So don't read too much into the dominant pitching that was on display today in the Nationals' second (and final) intrasquad matchup of the spring. The eight-inning "game" featured only two runs (one unearned) and saw only one clean hit recorded by the two teams combined through the first five innings.

gonzalez-gio-red-pitching-away-sidebar.jpgBoth starting pitchers were effective and efficient in retiring the side. Gio Gonzalez got Tony Campana to line out, Stephen Drew to strike out and Matt den Dekker to ground out. Stephen Strasburg countered with a pair of ground balls from Logan Schafer and Trea Turner (who nearly beat out his chopper to second) and a strikeout of Tyler Moore on one of several sharp curveballs the right-hander threw in his abbreviated outing.

With pitchers ahead of hitters at this early stage of the spring - and with big-name regulars like Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth and Daniel Murphy all sitting out - well-struck balls were few and far between.

The visiting team was held hitless until the sixth inning, when Tony Campana singled through the right side of the infield, helping to create a rally that resulted in an unearned run crossing the plate off reliever Trevor Gott. Zack Cox, a minor league Rule 5 draftee, and Jose Lobaton both homered off A.J. Cole in the eighth inning to make it a 3-0 game.

The home team got a third-inning single from Wilson Ramos off Blake Treinen, but that was about all that squad could muster against a visiting pitching staff that included Jonathan Papelbon (1-2-3 inning of relief), Oliver Perez, Burke Badenhiop and Aaron Laffey.

The home pitching staff saw Bronson Arroyo strike out a pair during a 1-2-3 inning of relief, plus two-strikeout innings from Matt Belisle and Felipe Rivero.

Lucas Giolito, recently named the top pitching prospect in baseball, was sharp during a perfect seventh inning for the home team that included a strikeout out Brendan Ryan.

Arroyo impresses in first appearance versus hitter...
Starting lineups for Monday's intrasquad game

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