Scherzer excels, Zimmerman debuts as Nats tie Cardinals
VIERA, Fla. (AP) Max Scherzer turned in another solid outing and Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI single in his spring debut as the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals played to a 4-4 tie in nine innings Sunday.
Zimmerman, bothered by plantar fasciitis in his left foot since early last season, singled during a three-run first inning off Michael Wacha. Zimmerman went 1 for 3 as the designated hitter.
Scherzer allowed one run and two hits over four innings. He walked one and hit two batters, but also struck out five in his third spring start. Manager Dusty Baker has strongly indicated Scherzer will start on opening day April 4 in Atlanta.
''It was a good outing,'' Scherzer said. ''I attacked the zone, (got) a lot of first-pitch strikes. That was something I wanted to do today and I was able to accomplish. I just had more well-executed pitches.
''I'm slowly getting more on line of how I want to execute all my off-speed, whether it's in the zone or out of the zone, and that's what's important,'' he said.
Even with Zimmerman as the DH, the Nationals' lineup was a potential preview of what it could look like in the opener. Washington started off with four straight hits, including Bryce Harper's RBI double.
''We have a chance to have a good offense and really score some runs,'' Scherzer said. ''It's going to be exciting to see those guys produce runs, because I love run support.''
Cardinals: Wacha gave up three runs and six hits in two innings. He also had a walk, a balk and a wild pitch.
One of the hits, by Anthony Rendon, knocked off Wacha's glove.
''The offspeed pitches, I really couldn't throw them for strikes whenever I needed to,'' he said. ''It doesn't really help you out when all you've got is a fastball-changeup. You can just look for those two pitches, (and) especially when they're not located well, they can get hit.''
Nationals: Baker, in his first year managing the Nationals, found out something about Scherzer on Sunday - don't try to high five him coming into the dugout.
''He just looks right through you, with one of those eyes he got,'' Baker said. ''Somebody told me, `Hey, man, he don't do that. He don't give five when he comes in.' That's what you call learning about your players.''
Cardinals: CF Tommy Pham cut his lip on a headfirst slide while stealing second. His helmet slid down and got him in the sixth inning. He left the game, but manager Mike Matheny said Pham was leaving at the end of the inning anyway. ... OF Stephen Piscotty had been scheduled to make the trip to Viera, but was held back after being hit above the left elbow in a game against the Mets on Saturday. The injury is not considered serious.
''I'm sure if this was April, he would have been playing today,'' Matheny said.
Nationals: CF Ben Revere was hit in the left shoulder while swinging at a third strike from St. Louis reliever Marco Gonzales. Revere remained on the ground for a few moments, but after being checked out by a team trainer, he remained in the game. Baker said Revere is expected to be in the lineup Monday.
Cardinals: Mike Leake gets the start as the Cardinals host the Minnesota Twins and Tommy Milone.
Nationals: Joe Ross will make his third spring start when Washington hosts Houston.