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Washington Nationals’ lineup for the series opener with the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC

Davey Martinez’s club won their first road series of the season, now they try to make it two in a row.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t tell Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez taking 2 of 3 from the defending World Series champions in an early-April series doesn’t mean much. It meant a lot for his rebooting ballclub to win their series with the Atlanta Braves.

“Yeah, absolutely. These guys are the defending world champs, so it feels good to come in here, even though it’s early, but we try to go 1-0 every day, and today we went 1-0, and tomorrow we got Pittsburgh, but we can’t sleep, we got to be ready to play tomorrow. It’s not going to be no easy task. I tell these guys all the time, you got to be ready to play every day,” Martinez told reporters after the team’s 3-1 win in the series finale in Truist Park.

Though he went 0 for 4 with a K in his return to the lineup, veteran DH Nelson Cruz, whose groin was an issue, was cleared to go in the third of three with the Nationals’ NL East rivals.

Getting Cruz back in the lineup after he was a late scratch on Tuesday night with tightness in his groin was another positive development.

”He went through the gamut this morning, he ran, did a bunch of agility, he stretched, and I watched him hit in the cage, and just like I said, he knows his body better than anybody, [Executive Director, Medical Services Harvey Sharman] said he looks good, he gave me the thumbs up so we got him in the lineup.”

Through six games, the 41-year-old, 18-year veteran is 4 for 24 (.167/.231/.292) with a homer, two walks, and five Ks.

In those 18 seasons in the majors, all but one (2005) in the American League, Cruz has just played six games in PNC Park, where the Nationals start a four-game series tonight, and he is 7 for 21 (.333/.391/.667) with a double, two home runs, two walks, and four Ks in the Pirates’ home.

Cruz is back in there tonight for the series opener…