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Sunday, March 30, 2008

After Pitching Battle, Zimmerman Walks Off For Nats


Ryan Zimmerman hit a 1-0 pitch to center field off of Braves reliever Peter Moylan in the bottom of the ninth to win the Nationals' first game at Nationals Park 3-2. The game was a pitching duel from the start.

Washington struck first in the opening inning when Cristian Guzman singled. Tim Hudson's throwing error allowed him to go to third. With two out, Nick Johnson doubled Guzman home and Austin Kearns singled him home. Braves starter Tim Hudson held Washington hitless for the next six innings. Nationals starter Odalis Perez allowed just four hits in five innings and Saul Rivera supported him with two scoreless frames.

Chipper Jones hit a solo home run to make the score 2-1, but the Braves didn't score again for a while. Ray King walked Brayan Pena, but he and Luis Ayala kept pinch runner Gregor Blanco at first.

In the ninth, Jones led off the inning with a liner, but reliever Jon Rauch, who came in to close, snared it with a flick of his wrist. Mark Teixeira then launched a ball to right field, missing a home run by inches. He ran to second with a double. After Martin Prado pinch ran for him, Jeff Francoeur grounded to second and that allowed Prado to move to third. With Brian McCann batting, Paul LoDuca couldn't corral a slider and Prado scampered home with the tying run. McCann then flied out to left field.

In the ninth, Peter Moylan continued his work from the eighth. He got Guzman to strike out looking and Ronnie Belliard to ground out to Chipper at third. That made it 24 straight Nationals set down since the first inning. Then Zimmerman used his bat to say "Good night, folks" and sent the home crowd happy.

The Braves will fly back to Atlanta to face Pittsburgh for their home opener.

W - Jon Rauch (1-0)
L - Peter Moylan (0-1)
HR - ATL - Chipper Jones (1)
WAS - Ryan Zimmerman (WO, 1)

Gold - 3B Ryan Zimmerman, WAS - 1-4, WO HR, R, RBI
Silver - P Tim Hudson, ATL - 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO
Bronze - P Odalis Perez, WAS - 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO

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