Sox, Nats cap ST with tie at Naval Academy

Sox, Nats cap ST with tie at Naval Academy

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Bryce Harper continued his torrid spring, lacing a go-ahead double in the fifth inning, and Trea Turner scored twice as the Nationals and Red Sox played to a 4-4 tie in the clubs' Spring Training finale Saturday afternoon at Max Bishop Stadium in Annapolis, Md.

Pitching in front of 1,030 U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen and personnel, Washington right-hander Max Scherzer worked around a two-run second frame to complete five strong innings. Scherzer, who got a late start in exhibition play because of a fractured right ring finger, scattered six hits and a walk with four strikeouts to bring his ERA to 2.45 in three starts this spring.
 

Harper's RBI double

"Fortunately, I've had enough years where I kind of know what it takes to get it done and ready for the season," Scherzer said. "Having a limited amount of starts here, I was just trying to get a feel for all my pitches. And that's what's so important to me -- to make sure that you face a team like today where you've got to execute everything."

The Nationals entered the ninth inning with a one-run lead, but the Red Sox tied the game when Nats second baseman Bryan Mejia was unable to corral a throw from third baseman Brandon Snyder on a potential game-ending double play.

Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez struggled with his command early. The left-hander issued three consecutive walks in the first inning, including a run-scoring free pass to Jayson Werth with the bases loaded. He settled down after giving up a sacrifice fly to Adam Eaton, striking out four batters over the next 2 1/3 frames.

Eaton pops sacrifice fly

"I just wasn't right in the first inning, but then I came back and pitched pretty good," Rodriguez said. "They have a big league lineup, so it was pretty good to get that spring [weather] feeling and get me ready for the season."

American League Rookie of the Year Award candidate Andrew Benintendi and catcher Christian Vazquez contributed two hits in each of their two at-bats before Red Sox manager John Farrell pulled his starters midway through the contest.

Vazquez's RBI single

The game, named the Naval Academy Baseball Classic, marked the first of three exhibition contests the Nationals are scheduled to host at the U.S. Naval Academy through 2019.

"Today was awesome, to see so many young men and women having a good time," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We ended Spring Training healthy, which was big, and it was a pretty good ballgame until the end. ... It was a lot of fun."

Red Sox Up Next: Following an off-day Sunday, Boston welcomes Pittsburgh to Fenway Park on Monday to open up the 2017 regular season. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello makes his first career Opening Day start against the Pirates at 2:05 p.m. ET.

Nationals Up Next: Washington begins the regular season when it hosts Miami on Monday during Opening Day. Right-hander Stephen Strasburg gets the ball for the Nationals. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Red Sox on Saturday.

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

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.