VIERA, Fla. (AP) - This was a different kind of B game at spring training.
Washington starter Jason Marquis took advantage of the windy conditions to throw three scoreless innings, then ran for cover when a swarm of bees delayed Atlanta's split-squad 6-4 win Friday.
Play was halted for roughly two minutes in the bottom of the third when the bees appeared in center field. They were eventually were blown over the right-field fence by the gusts.
Marquis was in the bullpen when the bees showed up. He ducked his head and took off for the cover of the clubhouse with the rest of the Nationals pitchers.
``There's no need to stay out there and get attacked by some killer bees,' he said.
Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy said when home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom put his hands up to call time, he thought he was getting called for a balk.
Atlanta right fielder Jordan Schafer, however, had a closer look. With the bees being blown in his direction, he went down in the dirt along the fence.
``That happened to me when I was a kid once and they said to hit the ground,' Schafer said. ``Everyone in their bullpen started running for their clubhouse, so I just hit the ground. I wasn't going to get stung. There was like 10,000 bees over there.'
Marquis allowed one hit and struck out one. He had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow last May and was just 2-9 with a 6.60 ERA in 13 starts during his first season for the Nationals.
``Very good,' Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. ``He worked ahead in the count, got ground balls, minimal pitches thrown ... outstanding.'
Marquis looked more like the pitcher Washington can count on to be a stabilizing force in the rotation - wind or no wind.
``It's always blowing pretty hard in Melbourne, especially to right field,' Marquis said. ``It worked right into my game plan, which is what I want to accomplish during the season - sinkers down and away to lefties and pounding sinkers into the righties. I executed today really well and got the results I wanted.'
Beachy allowed one hit and struck out four in three scoreless innings.
``I felt pretty good, especially the first couple of innings,' Beachy said. ``I was able to get ahead of some guys and throw all my pitches.'
Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo home run for the Nationals.
Atlanta broke a 3-all tie with three runs in the ninth off Drew Storen. The 23-year-old righty projected as the Nationals' closer of the future had his second consecutive rough outing.
Freddie Freeman had a two-run single for Atlanta. Diory Hernandez had two hits and two RBIs, including a run-scoring triple in the ninth. Tyler Pastornicky delivered the go-ahead single.
Washington outfielder Bryce Harper struck out in his only plate appearance. The No. 1 pick in the 2010 amateur draft is now 1 for 8 this spring, which should end any clamor for the Nationals to keep him with the big club rather than send him to Class A Hagerstown.
``I don't think he's struggling,' Riggleman said. ``He's hit two of the best balls in camp, really. But on the other end of it, if he were 6 for 9 right now, there would be a lot of sentiment from people that ... why are you holding him back? We have a good plan for him that's going to be the best for him and best for the Nationals.'
NOTES: Nationals RHP Chien-Ming Wang worked one inning in a minor league intrasquad game on Friday. He threw 16 pitches, 10 of them for strikes, but only topped out at 83 mph on the radar gun. Pitching coach Steve McCatty said he was pleased with the outing, which was limited to one inning because Wang ``got a little bit stiff, a little bit tight' in the windy conditions. Wang had major shoulder surgery last July. ... LHP Matt Chico and RHPs Joe Bisenius and Shairon Martis were reassigned to minor camp on Friday. Washington now has 58 players in big league camp. ... Atlanta RH reliever Craig Kimbrel, a candidate to become the Braves closer, gave up two hits and three runs. ... With manager Fredi Gonzalez staying home to manage the Braves' split-squad game against Toronto, Carlos Tosca was Atlanta's acting manager in Viera.
The Associated Press News Service
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