Nationals (ss) 6, Dodgers (ss) 2

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VIERA, Fla. (AP)—For a young lefty who is competing for his first major league pitching job, Matt Chico sure knows how to look relaxed.

Chico pitched three shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out two as the Washington Nationals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 in a split-squad game Sunday.

It was the first win of the Grapefruit League season for first-year manager Manny Acta.

“It was real nice to just go out there with ease,” Chico said. “I felt real confident in all my pitches. It kind of made it more convincing to myself that I’m here to have fun and compete for a job.”

The 23-year-old Chico is competing for one of four open spots in the rotation behind John Patterson.

“He threw the ball very well,” Acta said. “He was able to locate his fastball especially, and he didn’t show any fear, which is good.”

Los Angeles starter Brett Tomko also was solid, allowing one hit in two innings. He struck out one and did not walk a batter.

“First game out of the chute, I got some good work in,” Tomko said. “I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes, got ahead of guys and that’s always the key.”

A 10-year major league veteran, Tomko is working on a new motion that involves shortening his arm swing in an attempt to better conceal the ball.

“It’s the first time being game-speed with those type of mechanics, and it felt good,” Tomko said.

Jason Simontacchi started for Washington, allowing two runs and five hits in three innings. He walked one and did not strike out a batter.

Catcher Juan Brito, a non-roster invitee for the Nationals, went 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs.


Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and is 6-for-8 this spring. … Zimmerman and RF Austin Kearns will get the day off and will not make the trip for Monday’s road game against the Braves. … Tomko has the lowest ERA at Dodger Stadium (2.71) among all active pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings at Chavez Ravine.

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