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330-game-recap-ugh | March | 2008 Articles

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3/30 Game Recap: Ugh.

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Nationals 3, Braves 2 Well, it was an auspicious start for the Washington Nationals' lovely new ballpark, no matter what some people think. I tried to get in, because they announced a few days before the game that they'd have 500 gameday-only $5 seats -- after standing in line for an hour they sold out about 50 people before they got to me. There was a stiltwalker and a balloon animal blower to keep the kids happy, and red, white and blue decorations everywhere. So I went home and watched the game on ESPN (listening to the audio on WGST through mlb.com, because that's how bad Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are), and had to stomach a pitcher's duel with Odalis Perez. How the Braves can manage, year after year, to look so terrible against pitchers who can't get anyone else out is beyond me -- maybe, as Gruco pointed out, they're just allergic to people named O. Perez. Anyway, the bright spot: our pitching. We retired 24 Nationals in a row from the first inning to the ninth. The bad part: everything else, other than a Chipper Jones solo shot in the fourth and a Mark Teixeira double in the ninth, which briefly led to a tie game when a wild pitch allowed the runner to score. Tim Hudson committed a costly error in the first on an errant pickoff throw, which helped the Nationals score twice. In the second inning, Brian McCann was out by a mile at second on a near-home run that bounced sharply off the wall. In the third, Kelly Johnson was picked off first base to end the inning. And, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the fifth batter to face Peter Moylan, Ryan Zimmerman, sent everyone home with one swing. After the first inning, when everything was being taken the other way -- Cristian Guzman's line single, Nick Johnson's hustle double, and Austin Kearns' RBI single -- Hudson looked dominant. Every pitch was down in the zone with movement. Until the final blow, the same was true for Moylan -- the Nats just couldn't read him, and nearly every pitch was down in the zone and with even more movement. Then he hung one, and the night was over. Every single commentator used the word "Christen" to describe Zimmerman's blast -- and Chip Caray used it two or three times to describe Chipper's solo shot, the first homer ever hit in Nationals Park. So I'm declaring a moratorium on use of the verb "Christen" to describe Zimmerman's walk-off. It sucked. You can use that verb instead if you like.
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