2/24/2013 4:48 P.M. ET
Rendon's home run boosts Nats in tie against Marlins
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals reliever Drew Storen had a chance to close out the Marlins in his spring debut Sunday, but he allowed a ninth-inning run as the two teams played to a 2-2, 10-inning tie.
The Nats had a 2-1 lead entering the ninth inning, but Miami ended up tying the score. The Marlins had runners on second and third with one out when Jake Jefferies grounded out to second base, scoring Christian Yelich to make it a 2-2 game.
The last time Storen pitched in a game before Sunday was Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. In that game, Storen blew a 7-5 lead and watched the Cardinals win the game, 9-7, and advance to the NL Championship Series.
After Sunday's game, however, manager Davey Johnson was not concerned about Storen's outing.
"He was just getting his work in," Johnson said. "He had good velocity, but he left some balls up and over the plate. These guys will be ready for Opening Day. I'm not worried about it. His location was a little up early."
Storen did not express concern after his first outing of the spring either. He treated it as if it were a live batting practice.
"You have to look at the big picture. It's February, whatever it is. We have a long time to go," Storen said.
"It's nice to win and all right now," he added. "In the end, it's about preparing yourself for the season. It about the 162 [games], not whatever we are playing in the spring. That's the way I look at it."
At first, it looked like Anthony Rendon was going to be the hero for Washington. The Nationals were behind, 1-0, when they took the lead in the fifth inning against right-hander Ryan Webb.
With one out, Steve Lombardozzi doubled down the right-field line. Rendon followed and hit a two-run homer over the right field wall to give Washington the one-run lead.
Outfielder Bryce Harper also went 2-for-2 for Washington, with two singles.
Nats right-hander Jordan Zimmermann cruised through the first two innings of the game, but he found himself in trouble in the third. The Marlins had runners on second and third with one out, when Chris Coghlan grounded out to first baseman Chad Tracy, but Chris Valaika scored on the play to give Miami a 1-0 lead.
Zimmermann lasted three innings and allowed the one run on two hits. He threw 43 pitches, 26 for strikes. He also had eight groundball outs.
"It went well" Zimmermann said. "I threw strikes, attacking the hitters, and mixed in a few changeups, which were mostly good ones. I'm happy about the first outing."
Henderson Alvarez started for the Marlins and was solid, pitching two shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out two batters.
Relievers Kevin Slowey, Alex Sanabia and Braulio Lara were able to shut down the Nationals for a combined three innings.
Nationals up next: The Nats head back to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to play the Mets on Monday for the second time this spring. Game time is at 6:10 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast live on MLB.TV. The teams last played each other Saturday, with the Mets winning, 5-3. Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez will make his spring debut Monday and is expected to throw 45 pitches. Gonzalez will make three starts for the Nationals before going to the World Baseball Classic to play for Team USA.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.