Nationals 6, Yankees 5

A.J. Burnett said he "found" his curveball on Saturday. That's his hand gripping a fourth-inning curve mid-windup above. (AP)

A.J. Burnett pitched well, but the Yankee bullpen blew the game as the Nationals won on a game-ending single by Derek Norris in the ninth.


L - Brett Gardner (CF)
R - Eduardo Nuñez (SS)
R - Russell Martin (C)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
R - Jesus Montero (DH)
R - Jorge Vazquez (1B)
S - Ramiro Peña (3B)
R - Justin Maxwell (LF)
R - Melky Mesa (RF)

Pitchers (IP): A.J. Burnett (4), Hector Noesi (3), Adam Warren (1), Robert Fish (1/3), Daniel Turpen (0)

Subs: Jose Gil (1B), Doug Bernier (2B), Brandon Laird (3B), Austin Romine (C), Jordan Parraz (RF), Austin Krum (CF), Daniel Brewer (LF), Gustavo Molina (DH), Kevin Russo (DH)

Formidable Opponents: A potential regular season lineup minus Jayson Werth, plus, uhm, John Lannan?

Big Hits: A two-run home run by Jorge Vazquez (3-for-3) off Lannan in the fourth, Vazquez's third bomb of the spring. A double by Brett Gardner (1-for-4) off 29-year-old Cuban defector Yunesky Maya. Jesus Montero singled and walked in three trips. Justin Maxwell walked twice in four trips. Robinson Cano (1-for-3) had an RBI single off Lannan in the first.

Who Pitched Well: A.J. Burnett pitched well despite allowing two runs in his four frames. Those runs game on an Adam LaRoche single and a Michael Morse home run to start the second. Burnett retired every other batter he faced, including striking out the side in the first and adding a called strike three on Roger Bernadina in the third. Adam Warren gave up a harmless two-out Chris Marrero amid a trio of groundouts in the eighth, then got another ground ball to start the ninth, but was hooked when Eduardo Nuñez threw the ball away, allowing the runner to reach second.

Who Didn't: Though admittedly brought into a thankless situation, Rule 5 righty Daniel Turpen faced one batter and lost the game. Brought in to the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and one out, he gave up a game-winning single to catching prospect Derek Norris. The jam was created by Nuñez's throwing error, a groundout that moved the runner to third, a hit batsman, and an intentional walk. The last three of those outcomes happened on the watch of Rule 5 righty Robert Fish. Hector Noesi worked three innings and gave up a run in each of them, on a two-out Laynce Nix solo homer in the fifth, two singles and a walk in the sixth, and a Rick Ankiel leadoff homer in the seventh. That last tied the game. Noesi did strike out four men in those three frames, but his fly ball tendencies bit him hard in Saturday's outing.

Rotation Battle: Hector Noesi, who had pitched well in three previous appearances, saw his odds get a little longer. Adam Warren's brief outing indicates he's not a serious candidate.

Oopsies: Eduardo Nuñez's throwing error started the Nationals' rally in the ninth.

Other: Kei Igawa, who is from Oarai on Japan's north east coast, a town that was hit hard by Friday's disaster, has received word that his family back in Japan is safe. He is headed home to see them. Igawa was in minor league camp.

Next: The Yankees host a Twins split-squad at Boss Field. Freddy Garcia gets the start. YES has the game at 1:05.

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