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Braves game interrupted by swarm of bees
Uggla shakes off slow start
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VIERA, Fla. — 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.

BLUE JAYS 7, BRAVES (SS) 5: Slow starts in spring training mean nothing to Dan Uggla.

Mostly quiet in his first few games, Uggla hit a long double and hard single Friday for a split squad of Atlanta Braves in a 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Uggla was an All-Star with Florida before getting traded to Atlanta in the offseason. He is reuniting with former Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, who was fired last summer and later hired by the Braves.

Uggla started this spring with two singles in 10 at-bats. No worries, though, for Gonzalez.

"I've seen him for four springs and he always starts like this," Gonzalez said. "A couple of years ago he started, I think, 0 for 22 and he made the All-Star team. I don't worry about him at all. This was typical and he was hitting it pretty hard today."

Uggla said he wasn't pressing in his first camp with the Braves.

"I'm just happy to be here," Uggla said. "I loved playing for the Marlins but it was business deal and I am comfortable here, playing for Fredi again."

Toronto's Jesse Litsch fared well in his second start of the spring, shutting out the Braves over three innings. He struck out four, allowing one hit.

"We have two spots in the rotation up for grabs," manager John Farrell said. "If he keeps going like this, he has a great chance. He looked really good today."

Litsch was 1-5 in nine starts last season, but Farrell said he sees a new pitcher this year.

"He's getting better," Farrell said. "The competition is still open, but he made a statement today."

The Braves led 5-3 going into the eighth, but the Blue Jays scored twice off George Sherrill and two more in the ninth off Peter Moylan. Jason Lane and Brian Jeroloman had RBI singles for the Blue Jays in the ninth.

Braves starter Mike Minor allowed one earned run in three innings, but he battled out of jams throughout.

NOTES: Chipper Jones played DH one day after making his spring debut in the field. He said he felt some discomfort but is planning to play both games this weekend. He went 1 for 4 ands scored a run, and is batting .286 this spring. Gonzalez said Jones would likely DH on Saturday and play third on Sunday. ... Gonzalez said OF Jason Heyward may play on Sunday. He has been out with a groin injury.

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