PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Bryce Harper began his spring with a bang, as he launched a solo homer to start the second inning as the Nationals defeated the Mets, 8-6, on Saturday afternoon at First Data Field.
"[The 0-1 changeup] just kind of faded too much towards the middle of the plate, and he put a pretty good swing on it. That's what good hitters do," Gilmartin said of Harper's homer.
The Mets also had an injury scare during the sixth inning when Nationals outfielder Rafael Bautista slid headfirst into the plate and collided with catcher Kevin Plawecki, who fell to the ground in pain. He was removed from the game with an left knee contusion and was replaced by catcher Xorge Carrillo.
Washington countered with left-hander Gio Gonzalez on the mound, and he tossed a scoreless inning with four of the team's starting position players behind him, including Harper, Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and former Met Daniel Murphy.
"They like to face the big dog pitchers too," Gonzalez said. "So you gotta go out there and try to do your thing. ... If you're going to bring your horses, we're going to bring our 'A' lineup, so it's just the way it is. It's Spring Training, everybody's getting some looks right now."
UP NEXT Nationals: The Nationals travel to Fort Myers, Fla., to take on the Twins on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET for their second Grapefruit League game of the year. The game will be broadcast on Gameday Audio. Right-hander A.J. Cole will start and is scheduled to throw two innings for Washington. Third baseman Anthony Rendon makes his spring debut in a lineup that will include Eaton.
Mets: Right-hander Chris Flexen takes the mound for the Mets on Sunday for the 1:10 p.m. ET start at First Data Field against the Tigers, which will air on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. He will be opposed by Detroit lefty Matt Boyd. Flexen is stepping up in class, having spent the last five seasons in the Mets' organization. The 14th-round pick of the Mets in the 2012 Draft pitched at the Class A Advanced level last season, his highest so far. Right-handers Paul Sewald, Ben Rowen and Fernando Salas, and lefty David Roseboom, are also expected to pitch for the Mets.