Haren and Ramos both look sharp vs. Astros

VIERA, Fla. - Dan Haren worked both sides of the plate, mixed in some sharp off-speed stuff and cut his way through the Astros’ lineup through his first two innings of work this afternoon.

Haren retired the first six Astros hitters he faced, not letting a ball out of the infield in that time, before hitting a bit of a bump in the third. The veteran righty allowed a run on two hits and a walk in that third inning, but he’ll likely leave Space Coast Stadium today pleased with his outing.

Haren needed just 23 pitches (18 of which were strikes) to get through his first two frames, before throwing 27 pitches (16 strikes) in the third.

I’ll do the math - that’s 50 pitches, 34 strikes for Haren today, which is right where manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty wanted him to finish.

His final line: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 Ks.

It was a very impressive second Grapefruit League start for Haren.

Like Haren, Wilson Ramos’ day is also done. Ramos caught three innings and struck out looking in his only at-bat of the day.

Making his first appearance behind the plate since blowing out his right knee last May, Ramos looked sharp, and made one really nice sliding stop of a Haren off-speed pitch in the dirt.

Haren bounced a 2-2 pitch to Matt Dominguez in the third, but Ramos quickly shuffled his body to the right, and smothered the ball before it could skip away.

The Nationals just tied the game in the bottom of the third on a Jayson Werth RBI single to left, which plated Danny Espinosa.

Espinosa had singled sharply to lead off the inning, and then moved into scoring position when he easily swiped second base off Astros starter Lucas Harrell.

Zach Duke is on to work the fourth inning for the Nats in a 1-1 game.

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