VIERA, Fla -- Backing up much of the hype surrounding their pitching staff, the Nationals have continued to turn in stellar outing after stellar outing this spring. The latest came on Friday courtesy of right-hander Jordan Zimmmermann, who is on pace to be the team's No. 2 starter this season.
Zimmermann surrendered one run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings during a 1-1 tie with a split Cardinals squad. Zimmermann saw his Grapefruit League ERA rise incrementally to 1.37.
Right-hander Carlos Martinez made his case in the competition for the final spot in the Cardinals' rotation. He allowed one run on five hits in five innings while striking out six and walking two, watching his ERA fall to 3.94. The Nationals scored a run in the second inning on a run-scoring double to center by catcher Jose Lobaton that plated Dan Uggla.
The Cardinals brought their starting infield to Viera, along with manager Mike Matheny, while their starting outfielders played at home against the Mets. Second baseman Kolten Wong pushed across the only run off Zimmermann in the fourth inning with a groundout to score Randal Grichuk.
Drew Storen came on in relief for the Nationals in the seventh inning, making his first appearance since he had surgery to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his left hand on March 13. The Cardinals loaded the bases against Storen on a single, an error and a walk, but Storen escaped the jam with a double-play grounder.
Up next for the Nationals: Stephen Strasburg returns to the mound as the Nationals travel to Tradition Field to face the Mets in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest on Saturday that will air on MLB.TV. Although Strasburg is a bit behind the rest of the Nationals' starters after a turned ankle forced the team to skip his last start, the club does not expect any lingering issues. Strasburg is expected to throw about four or five innings.
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.