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Thru 3: Tied 2-2

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We finally got underway at Land Shark Stadium after a 37-minute rain delay. The extra wait didn’t appear to hamper the Nationals, who came out swinging against Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco and took a 2-0 lead in the process.

Ryan Zimmerman got things started with a monstrous solo homer in the second. The ball landed in the mezzanine section of seats behind the left-field wall, quite a poke for Zim’s 13th homer of the season. Moments later, Josh Willingham drilled a ball some 420 feet to center field. Unfortunately, it’s 434 feet to the wall here, possibly the deepest outfield in baseball. So Willingham had to settle for a really long double. But he did end up scoring when Wil Nieves beat out a slow hopper to the right of the mound.

Scott Olsen, meanwhile, looked really sharp in his first two innings after six week on the DL with a left shoulder injury. Olsen retired six of the first seven batters faced, and he threw strikes (14 of his first 22 pitches). Velocity-wise, he’s regularly hitting 90 mph, so that’s a good sign.

Olsen did come back to earth in the third, though. He gave up a leadoff double to No. 8 hitter Brett Carroll, then gave up an RBI single to Chris Coghlan on an 0-2 changeup that was way up in the zone. An Emilio Bonifacio triple to deep left-center — does that guy ever get a hit against anyone other than the Nats? — set the stage for Hanley Ramirez to rope another RBI single up the middle.

So that’s where we stand after three: Tied 2-2.

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Mark Zuckerman

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