The last time Cristian Guzman hit two home runs in a month was June of 2005. Guzman already has two long balls this April at the top of the order. The Washington Nationals need Guzman's hitting to become contagious, if they're going to avoid losing their seventh straight game. "Opening Night" Odalis Perez on the hill for the home team, against veteran left-hander Mark Hendrickson for the Florida Marlins, who look to sweep the first full series in new Nationals Park.
Marlins' second baseman Dan Uggla hits an 0-2 pitch off the wall in left for a one-out double in the first. Odalis Perez blows Jeremy Hermida away with a 2-2 fastball upstairs. Perez gets a groundball from Josh Willingham and Cristian Guzman gobbles it up and throws to first to end the top of the inning. The Nationals bat in the bottom of the frame. Mark Hendrickson retires the first three Nationals in order even though Zimmerman pushes Marlins' right fielder Jeremy Hermida all the way to the wall, where he makes a leaping grab to end the first.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Odalis Perez retires the Marlins in order in the top of the second. Nick Johnson peels the cover off the ball on a line drive single to right leading off the Nationals' half. Austin Kearns grounds to second, Nick Johnson's caught between Dan Uggla and first base, so the Marlins throw out Kearns and go back for Johnson for the double play. Paul Lo Duca flies out to deep center. No score through two.
Odalis Perez gets the catcher and the pitcher, Matt Treanor and Mark Hendrickson, but Hanley Ramirez hits one deep in the hole at short, and Guzman loses it on the edge of the outfield, putting Ramirez on with a two-out error. Ramirez steals second as Odalis Perez goes with a casual delivery. Odalis Perez responds with a strikeout, sending Uggla down swinging to end the top of the third.
Ronnie Belliard takes an 0-2 pitch up in the zone and puts it out of the park...Home RUN!! The Nationals take an early 1-0 lead. Felipe Lopez grounds to second, and is called safe when the throw from Dan Uggla pulls Mike Jacobs off the bag. Odalis Perez's sac attempt is played by Jorge Cantu, who throws to second for the force, but Perez beats out the throw to first. Cristian Guzman pops out to short center. Lastings Milledge can't handle Hendrickson's offspeed stuff, and he goes down swinging to end the third.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Odalis Perez bobbles the ball when Jeremy Hermida grounds back to the mound, but recovers in time to get the out at first. Josh Wilingham pops out. Mike Jacobs ends the frame the way it started, with a weak bouncer back to the mound, Odalis Perez steps and throws to first. Still 1-0 Nationals after three and a half. Ryan Zimmerman tries to bunt his way on, but shoots it foul and eventually grounds out to second. Austin Kearns tests the dimensions of center field at Nationals Park, but comes up about a foot short as Marlins' center fielder Cody Ross pulls the ball off the top of the wall. 1-0 DC after four.
Jorge Cantu singles up the middle off Odalis Perez to lead off the fifth. Cody Ross rips a pond skipper to short, and Guzman picks it off the dirt and tosses to second, Belliard to first, double play. Matt Treanor lines a double into the corner in left to bring up the pitcher. Mark Hendrickson swings over a breaking ball for a big pitcher whiff and a scoreless fifth. Lo Duca, Belliard and Lopez go down in order. Still 1-0 DC after five.
Odalis Perez gets an 0-2 pitch up in the zone and Hanley Ramirez hits one to the scoreboard in right center for a leadoff double in the sixth. Dan Uggla grounds out to second, moving Ramirez to third. Jeremy Hermida ropes a single to center to drive Ramirez in. 1-1 in the sixth. Josh Willingham stares at a curve for strike three on the outside corner of the zone. Mike Jacobs drills a single up the middle. Odalis Perez is done...(5.2 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K's.) Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera to face Jorge Cantu with two on and two out. Rivera throws a 2-0 fastball inside that Cantu rips to left, Hermida scores. 2-1 Marlins. Rivera walks Cody Ross to load the bases. Matt Treanor grounds to third, Zimmerman's coming in, fields the short hop and fires to first in time. 2-1 Fish after five and a half. Hendrickson retires the Nationals in order to end the sixth.
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Mark Hendrickson lays the bat on the ball and slips a single through the infield off Saul Rivera. Hanley Ramirez flies harmlessly out to center. Dan Uggla goes down swinging. Jeremy Hermida swings over strike three. Stand up and stretch...Mark Hendrickson's back and he reaches up to pull down a chopper off Zimmerman's bat for the first out of the frame. Nick Johnson takes one in the ribs to get on base the hard way. Kearns grounds into a tailor-made DP. 2-1 after seven.
Luis "Set-up" Ayala on in the eigth. Josh Willingham singles to start the top of the inning. Mike Jacobs gets one through the infield and into right, Willingham takes third, and scores when Jorge Cantu drives him in with a single to left. 3-1 Marlins. Cody Ross flies out to deep center. Milledge has it but both runners advance. Matt Treanor tips strike three into Lo Duca's glove. Pinch hitter Luis Gonzalez works the count full...pops out to Zimmerman foul of third. Logan Kensing takes over for Hendrickson in the eigth. Paul Lo Duca takes second when the Marlins' outfielders Cody Ross and Jeremy Hermida don't communicate and let the ball fall between them in left center. Ronnie Belliard flies deep enough to right to move Lo Duca up. Logan Kensing out...Renyel Pinto up next on the hill against Johnny Estrada...EstrADA!! reaches down for a sinker and hits a pinch hit single...Lo Duca scores!! 3-2 Marlins. Tim Redding will run the basepaths for Estrada. Aaron Boone pops out to the infield. Cristian Guzman flies out to right. 3-2 Florida after eight.
The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History Jon Rauch is on the mound as the ninth begins. Hanley Ramirez singles to center. Dan Uggla flies out to short center. Jeremy Hermida flies out to left, where Rob Mackowiac's now patrolling the outfield. Josh Willingham crushes a ball to left, Rob Mackowiak plays it quickly but fires off target on the throw in and Ramirez scores. 4-2 Marlins after eight and a half...
(AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Milledge, Zimmerman and Johnson against closer Kevin Gregg. Lastings Milledge doubles one-hop and off the scoreboard in right to start the ninth. Ryan Zimmerman flies out to right. NICK JOHNSON???? Deeeep to left...and...Off Willingham's glove at the top of the wall...Milledge scores. Johnson safe at second. 4-3 Marlins. Austin Kearns gets hit by a fastball and takes his base. Paul Lo Duca reaches out and grounds to second, Uggla tosses to Hanley Ramirez, to Wes Helms at first. Double Play to end the game. 4-3 Marlins win.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Nationals now 3-7.