Bill Ladson

Gio cruises in first spring start, but Nats bats silent

Gonzalez allows one hit in two innings vs. Braves

Gio cruises in first spring start, but Nats bats silent

VIERA, Fla. -- Eric Young Jr.'s two-run homer proved to be the difference as the Braves beat the Nationals, 2-1, at Space Coast Stadium on Monday afternoon. The Nationals have now lost two consecutive games, while the Braves won their second game of the spring.

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark was on the mound when the Braves took the lead in the top of the third inning. After Daniel Castro singled, Young swung at an 0-1 pitch and homered over the right-field wall to take a 2-0 lead.

The Nationals' first chance to score came in the third inning. With Braves starter Wandy Rodriguez still on the mound, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back singles, but Dan Uggla grounded out to end the threat. Rodriguez ended up pitching three scoreless innings and striking out two batters.

Rendon's diving stop

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez made his first appearance of the spring, and he allowed one hit in two innings. He threw just 19 pitches, 15 strikes. Braves right-hander Chien-Ming Wang was also solid, pitching three innings and allowing just two hits and a walk.

The Nationals scored their only run in the ninth inning with Braves right-hander Jake Brigham on the mound. With two outs, Steven LeRud doubled to left-center field, scoring Matt Skole.

Up next: The Nationals travel to Jupiter Fla., to play the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer will make his second start of the spring. In his last start, Scherzer pitched two innings and allowed a run in a 5-4 victory over the Mets. Taylor Jordan, Jerry Blevins and Heath Bell are expected pitch against the Marlins as well.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.