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Taylor gets 3 hits, Nationals beat Braves 11-1


Taylor gets 3 hits, Nationals beat Braves 11-1

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Michael Taylor was 3 for 3, Stephen Drew drove in three runs and Clint Robinson hit a long two-run homer in the Washington Nationals' 11-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.

Taylor had a single and a double in the first two innings against Atlanta starter Manny Banuelos, who gave up four runs on six hits in two innings in his first appearance this spring.

"Right now I feel nice and slow at the plate, so I think that's a good place to be. It gives me more time to recognize the pitches," said Taylor, who is trying to earn playing time as the Nationals' fourth outfielder.

"He's going to play quite a bit," manager Dusty Baker said. "When we have four quality outfielders, that's the mark of a good team. You've got to have depth and we certainly have depth. He had a great game today."

Drew drove in the first two runs with a double, and Robinson launched his second homer of the spring off Aaron Blair with Taylor on base in the fourth.

Tanner Roark pitched four innings for the Nationals, giving up one run on three hits while striking out three.

"Tanner pitched pretty well," Baker said. "He didn't have the great stuff he had the last two times but that's a good sign when you can win without your best stuff."

Jace Peterson tripled off Roark and scored Atlanta's only run on a ground ball.

Tyler Moore hit his second homer for the Nationals in the eighth inning, and Trea Turner was 2 for 3.


Nationals: Roark, bidding for a spot in the rotation after starting 12 games last season, gave up his first run of the spring in his third start.

"I pitched behind in the count a lot and that's the biggest thing I didn't want to do," he said. "That's how you get in trouble, but overall I felt good."

Braves: Banuelos, who pitched a half season in the majors last year after coming in a trade from the New York Yankees, was hit hard.

"I'll have to make the adjustments. I think the velocity will come back if I just keep pitching," he said.


Braves: C Tyler Flowers had a single in his first at-bat, playing as a DH for the first time after missing a week with a strained hamstring.


Nationals: Right-hander Max Scherzer will make his third start, against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Braves: Right-hander Matt Wisler gets his second start, against the Houston Astros.

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.