Nationals 6, Braves 5

Jason Heyward worked on his bunting. Jordan Zimmermann tried out
a new pitch. And Bryce Harper just kept doing what he’s been doing
all spring.

Harper homered for Washington, Heyward went deep for Atlanta in
addition to playing small ball, and the Nationals knocked off the
Braves 6-5 in a spring training game Friday night.

Harper hit his first homer of the spring in the top of the first
inning. He finished 1 for 3, leaving his exhibition average at .538
(7 of 13).

”Harp came to camp swinging the bat good,” Nationals manager
Davey Johnson said.

Heyward hit his third spring homer in the bottom half of the
first. But he was more proud of getting down a bunt in the fifth,
setting up B.J. Upton’s two-run double.

”If I’m going to hit in the two-hole, I’m going to see some
different things,” Heyward said. ”I’d like to execute them more
times than not.”

Zimmermann surrendered five hits and two runs in three innings.
But he struck out four and got some odd swings out of the Braves
when he went to the changeup, a new pitch in his repertoire.

”He threw some really good changeups to lefties and righties,”
Johnson said. ”Adding this pitch makes him that much
tougher.”

Julio Teheran also looked tough, striking out five in three
innings to strengthen his bid for the fifth spot in the Atlanta
rotation. In his two spring starts, he’s allowed only one hit and
one run – Harper’s homer – in five innings. He has seven strikeouts
and only one walk.

The 22-year-old right-hander has already impressed one of his
new teammates.

”He’s got good control,” Upton said. ”He can pretty much
threw the ball where he wants to. He commands his pitches. With
what he showed me today, he’s going to have a good year. I’m sure
he’s going to be a big part of our team.”

More troubling for the Braves is the early play of Dan Uggla,
who struck out all four times he came to the plate. The second
baseman has now fanned 10 times in 16 at-bats, after a
disappointing season in 2012.

The Nationals wiped out a 4-1 deficit with a five-run eighth
against loser Cory Rasmus. Carlos Rivera had the big hit, a
three-run double.

Atlanta tried to rally in the ninth against Jeremy Accardo. Todd
Cunningham came through with a run-scoring single, and Jordan
Parraz hit a two-out bouncer up the middle that looked like it
might bring home the tying run.

But second baseman Will Rhymes made a diving stop behind the
bag, forcing Joey Terdoslavich to scramble back to third. With the
bases loaded, Elmer Reyes ground out weakly to the mound, ending
the game.

Fernando Abad picked up the win, and Accardo was credited with a
shaky save.

NOTES: Ross Ohlendorf went two innings for Washington, giving up
three hits and two runs. … Rasmus got only one out in the eighth,
surrendering four hits and walking two. … The Nationals had only
three hits through the first seven innings and were out-hit 13-7
overall. … Dusty Hughes, David Carpenter, Ryan Buchter, Daniel
Rodriguez and Aaron Northcraft threw scoreless innings for the
Braves. … Kris Medlen, expected to be Atlanta’s opening-day
pitcher, will make his second start of the spring against the
Astros on Saturday. … The Nationals will send Gio Gonzalez to the
mound in Saturday’s game against St. Louis.

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at
www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963