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Washington Nationals vs Chicago Cubs: Game Report..."The Unlikeliest Hero...(ed. note - "No offense, Wil!)"

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"Opening Night" Odalis Perez gets the first two outs of the opening frame for the Washington Nationals, before Derrek Lee goes the other way with a fastball to right that today's right fielder Rob Mackowiak can't catch up to...Perez walks Aramis Ramirez and will face Kosuke Fukudome for the first time...with two on, two out...Fukudome flies out to left, Wily Mo Pena closes his glove on the top of the first...Chicago Cubs' starter Ryan Dempster gets two ground ball outs, but then walks Ryan Zimmerman on four straight pitches, and Nick Johnson makes Dempster pay....long fly ball to right...and GONE!!! Two-run HR for Nick Nick Johnson Johnson!! 2-0 Nationals after one. 

 

Odalis Perez drops a full count change low in the zone to get Mark DeRosa swinging...more of the same for Cubs' catcher Geovany Soto...Ronny Cedeno lines out to second, where Felipe Lopez makes the grab. Ryan Dempster issues a one-out walk to Rob Mackowiak. Odalis Perez lays down a perfect sac bunt, and almost beats it out...Mackowiak moves to third on a wild pitch that bounces off Soto's shoulder. Felipe Lopez chases a high fastball and goes down swinging. 

 

Odalis Perez hits Reed Johnson on the toe with a curve...Ryan Theriot puts one down the line in left, and Wily Mo Pena's no where to be found, Johnson scores from first, Theriot safe at second, 2-1 Nationals. Theriot tries for third, but Johnny Estrada nails him! Caught stealing with D. Lee at the plate?? D. Lee walks. Aramis Ramirez beats out a weak grounder to first, Odalis Perez lands on Ramirez trying to make the tag, but the Ump says, he failed to do so...Ramirez safe, D. Lee to second. Odalis Perez gets Fukudome to fly out to left, ending the Cubs' third. Ryan Dempster gets Guzman, Zimmerman and Johnson in order in the third. 

 

Odalis Perez issues a leadoff walk to Mark DeRosa. Perez drops a curve inside under Geovany Soto's bat for a swinging strike three. Ronny Cedeno pops out to the infield. Ryan Dempster grounds out to third. Odalis Perez through four with the lead. In the Nationals' half MIlledge hits a leadoff single to right. Johnny Estrada lines out to third. Milledge gets nailed attempting to steal second. Wily Mo Pena chases a curve. 2-1 after four. 

 

Odalis Perez starts with the top of the Cubs' lineup again in the fifth, and gives up a lead single to Reed Johnson. Perez walks Ryan Theriot in front of D. Lee...D. Lee pushes Lastings Milledge back to the warning track for a fly ball out. Aramis Ramirez grounds to short and beats out the back end of the DP, allowing Perez's initial walk to cross, tying the game at 2-2 in the fifth. Fukudome doubles over the wall in left...Ramirez held at third when he surely would have scored...Mark DeRosa swings over a curve for the final out of the frame. Felipe Lopez takes Dempster deep to left center with two down in the inning, Reed Johnson's on his horse...dives...and makes the grab before crashing shoulder first into the wall with a spectacular effort to rob Lopez of an extra base hit. 2-2 after five. 

 

Geovany Soto swings over a change for the first out of the sixth. Ronny Cedeno chases a low inside curve. Ryan Dempster grounds to short. Bottom of the inning...Cristian Guzman rips an infield single off D.Lee's backhand. (Called an error.) Ryan Zimmerman smokes a single through short. Nick Johnson? Grounds into a double play on a 2-2 curve. Will putting Lastings Milledge in the five spot pay off for Acta? Lastings Milledge goes the other way, pushing a fastball through the hole at second to score Guzman from third. 3-2 Nationals. 

 

Luis "Set-Up" Ayala is on in the seventh with Wil Nieves now behind the plate. Lastings Milledge tracks Reed Johnson's blast to deep center and makes a running catch to rob Johnson of extra bases. Ryan Theriot sneaks one under Guzman's glove at short for a single. Full count to D. Lee...strike three! Theriot running, Wil Nieves nails him. Strike 'em out throw 'em out, Stand up and stretch...Wily Mo Pena hits a screaming line drive right to Mark DeRosa's glove in left. Mackowiac grounds out. Wil Nieves grounds out. 3-2 after seven. 

 

Harris, Milledge and Kearns around the outfield now, Ayala back on the mound...Aramis Ramirez drops a short fly into right for a leadoff single. Fukudome singles to right. Ramirez to second. Nationals' lefty Mike O'Connor's up in the bullpen. Mark DeRosa lays down the sac bunt to advance both runners. Geovany Soto gets the intentionals to load 'em up for Ronny Cedeno. Cubs' Manager Lou Piniella picks pinch hitter Daryl Ward to face a new pitcher, lefty, Mike O'Connor...So Piniella turns to Matt Murton...O'Connor throws three straight balls, throws one strike, and then walks in a run. 3-3 ballgame. Saul "Sa-ool" Rivera takes over for O'Connor. Mike Fontenot down swinging on a 1-2 slider. Reed Johnson grounds to short, Guzman guns him at first. 3-3 middle of eight...Carlos Marmol on for Chicago. Cristian Guzman bounces one off Fontenot's backhand to reach on an error. Ryan Zimmerman walks. Nick Johnson up next. Marmol blows Johnson away. Lastings Milledge takes four straight to load the bases for Aaron Boone, who rips the first pitch to third for the last out of the eigth.

 

The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History is on in a tie game in the ninth. Rauch pops up the first two batters he faces, bringing up Aramis Ramirez, who flies out to center, setting up the walk-off opportunity...(that's right, I wrote it before it happened...) Bob Howry on for Chicago. Austin Kearns rips the first pitch to center for a single. Willie Harris swings through a rising heater from Howry. Wil Nieves DEEEEP TO RIGHT AND GONE!!! WALK-OFF BLAST FOR NIEVES!!! WALK-OFF!! WALK-OFF!! The Nationals win. The Nationals win. (ed. note - "Wil Nieves gets pie-faced in the post-game interview by Odalis Perez.)

 

Nationals now 8-16.