Construction staff has worked hard over the past 15 months, and practically over the last few weeks to prepare for Tuesday’s opening of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Nationals and Astros unveiled their new spring training stadium, and outfielder Michael Taylor of the Nationals finished the game with a two-out homer in the ninth inning to lead Washington to a 4-3 win on Tuesday afternoon .
It was the first of seven spring meetings between the two clubs. “It’s a great field,” said right-hander Jeremy Guthrie of the Nationals, who started the game by throwing a pair of scoreless innings. “Well done to be a part of the first day. We applaud all the workers who have been here the last two weeks, who have been here for a long time, but we have seen them the last two weeks hour by hour.”
Bryce Harper drove the first race with a double in the first inning for Daniel Murphy to score.
Puerto Rican Carlos Beltran, who was making his debut in the Grapefruit League and his first Astros uniform game in more than a decade, scored the first home run in the new stadium with a two-run homer in the fourth.
“For me, honestly, the first games of Spring Training, all you’re trying to do is think about quality shifts, make sure you feel balanced and punctual, and the results have no control,” Beltran said. “Thank God I could put a good balance on that, I did not know I was going to leave the stadium, but it was good to finish the day on a positive note.”
The Nationals responded quickly, with a solo homer in the bottom of the entry of Derek Norris, whose future in Washington is uncertain after the Nationals signed free-agent catcher Matt Shelters.
The Astros suffered a brief scare of injury when right-hander Will Harris left the game in the sixth with a groin discomfort, although he did not seem worried after the game.