- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

Marlins 3, Nationals 1

JUPITER, Fla.

Four days before Opening Day, the Nationals’ bats still were nowhere to be found.

Washington’s in-flux lineup was stymied once again yesterday, mustering just one run on six hits against Florida’s Josh Beckett (seven innings) and relievers Matt Perisho and Todd Jones. Only leadoff hitter Nick Johnson — yes, leadoff hitter — managed to drive in a run, with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly that scored Brian Schneider.

The rest of the lineup produced little more than the occasional single, continuing a disturbing trend. Over their last nine games (seven of them losses), the Nationals have scored 19 runs.

John Patterson put together a quality start (three runs, four hits in six innings) in his final exhibition appearance to help keep his team in the game, but Washington’s No.5 starter did surrender a pair of towering home runs to Damion Easley and Juan Encarnacion.

THE BUZZ

Down — Leadoff revolving door

Chavez, Guzman, Johnson … can they just give the job to Wilkerson already?

Sideways — Vinny Castilla

Returns after 12-day layoff. Will he find his hitting stroke by Monday?

Up — Nats on TV!

You don’t have to drive to a sports bar in Philly to watch it anymore.

Sideways — John Patterson

Says he’s happy with the way he pitched all spring. His final numbers: 0-3, 6.88 ERA.

BY THE NUMBERS

23

Consecutive at-bats without a hit for shortstop Cristian Guzman before he singled in the sixth inning yesterday.

1:52

Official time of yesterday’s game, the Nationals’ shortest of the spring.

OVERHEARD

“No. No, no, no.”

— First baseman Nick Johnson on whether he had ever hit leadoff before.

NATIONALS’ SCHEDULE

TODAY: vs. Devil Rays in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

TOMORROW: at Devil Rays, 3:05 p.m.

SUNDAY: vs. Mets at RFK Stadium, 12:05 p.m.

MONDAY: Opening Day at Phillies, 3:05 p.m.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Afternoon showers, 65 degrees

Viera: Thunderstorms, 83 degrees

Mark Zuckerman

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