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Spring Training Game Report...Nationals vs. Marlins

Florida center fielder Alejandro De Aza takes Washington starter Tyler Clippard deep in the first at bat of this "Spring" afternoon tilt, to give the Marlins a 1-0 lead over the Nationals before they even come up to bat. Marlins' righty Ricky Nolasco then gets two outs in the bottom of the first, before giving up back to back singles to Ryan Zimmerman and Nick Johnson to bring up Austin Kearns...who grounds out with men on first and third to end the first frame.

The Nationals starting lineup this afternoon...

Cristian Guzman SS
Lastings Milledge CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Nick Johnson 1B
Austin Kearns DH
Wily Mo Pena LF
Alex Escobar RF
Ronnie Belliard 2B
Wil Nieves C

Left-handed pitcher Jason Stanford, a non-roster invitee who signed with and spent 8 seasons in Cleveland Indians' organization before coming to the Nationals' camp this year, replaces Tyler Clippard on the hill in the top of the third after Clippard had completed 2.0 IP, allowing 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk and 1 HR to the Marlins.

Ryan Zimmerman hits his second single of the game in the bottom of the third before being replaced by pinch runner Kory Casto, but Nick Johnson grounds out to give the 6'7'' Marlins' righty Christopher Volstad a scoreless frame.

Left-hander Mike Bacsik gives up two hits to Marlins' catcher Matt Treanor and outfielder Jorge Piedra to start the top of the fifth with two on and no outs. "Hollywood" Mike Bacsik, the Nationals' most famous pitcher, gives up a third straight hit to De Aza who knocks in his second run of the game. 2-0 Marlins. One out later, right fielder Jeremy Hermida hits a sac fly for the second run off Bacsik and a 3-0 Florida lead after four and a half.

Ryan Langerhans, Elijah Dukes and Rob Mackowiac take over the outfield for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, after Wil Nieves doubles and scores a run in the bottom of the fourth to get the Nationals on the board down 3-1 after five. Jim Ed Warden takes over on the mound for the Nationals. Warden, a 6th Round pick in the 2001 Entry Draft by the Cleveland Indians, out of Tennessee Technological University, starts his eigth season of baseball with a scoreless top of the sixth for the Nationals.

In the first discussion of I've heard about Elijah Dukes' past, the Nationals' radio announcers say(to paraphrase...) that in spite of his sordid personal history, there is no doubting his talent, and his imposing size bespeaks a wealth of potential. Dukes walks in his first at bat of the afternoon, and Rob Mackowiac comes up lame after injuring his leg trying to round first on a single... (ed. note- "Mackowiac leaves the game as a precaution and his replacement, Justin Maxwell, comes on to run and forgets to take off his pullover sweatshirt before he enters play...Ah Spring Training...Expos' pick Frank Diaz takes over left in the next frame.) 3-1 Marlins after six.

Cameron Maybin, the co-centerpiece of the Marlins' trade of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, (along with left-handed pitcher Andrew Miller), flies out to Ryan Langerhans in Maybin's first at bat of the game in the top of the seventh, as Nationals' pitcher Tristan Crawford completes a scoreless bottom of the frame. Charlie Manning takes over on the hill for the Nationals in the eigth. Manning signed with the Yankees after New York drafted the 6'2" left-hander out of the University of Tampa in the 9th Round of the 2001 draft, in what was Manning's fourth trip through the entry draft. A hit, a walk and a wild pitch from Manning, and another run scores. 4-1 Marlins middle of the eigth.

In the bottom of the eight, Nationals' fans get a good look at several players who will most likely be on their bench this season, as utility infieder Bret Boone doubles to lead off the bottom of the frame, followed by fourth outfielder Elijah Dukes, who is up next against Marlins' righty Burke Badenhop, and grounds out to short. Nationals' outfielder Frank Diaz(who probably won't be on the bench) pops out to the infield. Former Brave, Current National, Willie Harris works a walk, to bring up catcher Chad Moeller with two on and two out against Badenhop. Moeller grounds out to short. 4-1 Florida after eight.

Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera comes on to work top of the ninth for the Nationals. Felipe Lopez makes an error at short to allow Cameron Maybin on with two outs in the ninth. (Maybin leaves the game after suffering an inury on the way to first.) Rivera works out of trouble and the Nationals have three outs to get three runs in the bottom of the ninth...

Burke Badenhop comes back for the ninth. Felipe Lopez flies out to start the frame. Ryan Langerhans flies out. Kory Casto grounds out to short. Marlins win 4-1.