VIERA, Fla.—John Lannan was having a frustrating spring — until Tuesday.
The left-hander pitched six strong innings and Michael Morse hit a two-run homer, leading the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Astros.
“It’s something to build off of,” Lannan said. “My changeup wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I was able to battle without it. I was locating my fastball. If I’m locating my fastball, I’ll be all right.”
Lannan allowed one run and two hits while striking out three and walking one. In his two prior spring starts, he allowed six runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Michael Bourn singled in the lone run off Lannan in the sixth.
“He worked fast and had good rhythm — all those things you want from a pitcher,” Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. “He was in a good tempo, got some groundballs, and he was very crisp.”
The two hits allowed by Lannan were the only two of the day for the Astros. Colin Balester, Doug Slaten and Drew Storen each pitched a shutout inning for the Nationals.
“Balester was real good, Slaten has been good throughout the spring, and it’s good to see Drew come in and be real sharp with his stuff,” Riggleman said.
Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez worked four innings in his fourth appearance of the spring. He allowed an unearned run and three hits with a strikeout.
Rodriguez had been sidelined since March 10 with left shoulder tendinitis.
“The last inning I felt my shoulder was a little bit tight because it’s been a long time since I pitched in a game, but everything’s fine,” Rodriguez said.
Fernando Abad gave up Morse’s tiebreaking homer in the eighth.