First Beltway Battle of the Spring

Posted by Dave Nichols | Tuesday, March 04, 2008 | , , | 0 comments »

Viera, FL--The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Washington Nationals 4-1 Saturday afternoon to take the early lead in the Battle for the Beltways this season. Granted, the victory only counts in the Grapefruit League standings, but with each game and each season that passes where these teams play each other, a fan-interest rivalry grows just a bit stronger.

Neither teams is expected to contend this season, but the seeds are starting to grow for each, as the Nationals and Orioles both made extensive off-season changes to their everyday line-ups and quality of bench play.

For the Nationals, Saturday's game featured the spring debut of de facto "ace" John Patterson, in his return from forearm surgery. He pitched two innings and gave up two hits, including O's third base prospect Mike Costanzo's second inning home run. He also struck out two without allowing a base on balls.

John Lannan followed with two scoreless innings, surrendering three hits but striking out four. Non-roster invitee Dennis Tankersly gave up three earned in his two innings, and Chad Cordero, Ray King and Jon Rauch each pitched one scoreless inning.

The offense managed seven hits off six Orioles hurlers, including two apiece from Jesus Flores, non-roster catcher Humberto Cota and Elijah Dukes. Cota drove in the lone Nats run of the day.

The Nats have split squad games Sunday against the Orioles in Ft. Lauderdale and the Houston Astros in Kissimmee. Steven Shell will go against Houston and Garrett Mock will face the Orioles.

Article also posted at DC Sports Box.
Photo courtesy of Al Santos, DC Sports Box