Taylor opens Nats' new park with walk-off HR

Taylor opens Nats' new park with walk-off HR

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Construction crews have been working vigorously for the past 15 months and virtually around the clock for the past few weeks to prepare for Tuesday, the opening of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. In the first game between the Nationals and Astros in their new Spring Training home, Washington outfielder Michael Taylor ended the game with a two-out, walk-off home run in the ninth inning to lead the Nats to a 4-3 victory.

It was part of a spectacular inning for Taylor, who in the top half of the ninth threw out the potential go-ahead run from center field to keep the game tied.

Taylor on his walk-off home run

"It's nice, my family was in the stands today," said Taylor, who is from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "You always want to have a good game when your folks are in town."

This was the first of seven meetings between the Nats and Astros. Bryce Harper drove in the first run with an RBI double in the first inning to score Daniel Murphy.

Harper's RBI double

Carlos Beltran, who was making his Grapefruit League debut and first game in an Astros uniform in more than a decade, belted the first home run at the new ballpark with a two-run blast in the fourth.

"For me, honestly, the first games of Spring Training, all you're trying to do is think about quality at-bats, make sure you feel on balance and on time -- and the results you have no control," Beltran said. "Thank God I was able to put a good swing on that one. I didn't know it was going to leave the ballpark, but it was good to be able to finish the day on a positive note."

Norris' solo home run

The Nationals answered quickly, with a solo home run in the bottom of the inning from Derek Norris, whose future in Washington is uncertain after the Nationals signed free-agent catcher Matt Wieters.

The Astros suffered a brief injury scare when right-hander Will Harris left the game in the sixth inning with groin discomfort, although Harris did not sound concerned after the game.

WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: Right-hander Chris Devenski makes his first start of the Grapefruit League season when the Astros meet the Marlins at 12:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Astros played their first game in the new park on Tuesday, but they will be the home team for the first time Wednesday.

Nationals: Right-hander Joe Ross will make his first Grapefruit League start when the Nationals meet the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on Tuesday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. ET. Ross was limited to just 19 starts last season thanks to a shoulder injury, but he had a 3.43 ERA when he was on the mound. He is scheduled to throw about two innings.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.