- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 2, 2006

NATIONALS 13, KIA TIGERS 8

VIERA, Fla. — Washington opened its exhibition season with a strong offensive showing, pounding out 16 hits against the overmatched Korean team yesterday at Space Coast Stadium.

Catcher Matt LeCroy broke open the game with a three-run single in the third inning that gave the Nationals an 8-3 lead. However, the Tigers scored four runs off All-Star closer Chad Cordero in the fifth and cut the lead to 9-8. Relievers Bill Bray, Joe Horgan and Saul Rivera combined to shut them out over the final 42/3 innings to secure the victory.

Marlon Byrd, Kenny Kelly and Cristian Guzman each went 2-for-2 with one RBI and a run scored. Right fielder Ryan Church went 2-for-3 with a double, and outfielder Alex Escobar hit an eighth-inning solo homer to left.

Left-hander Mike Bacsik earned the win with three innings in relief of ineffective starter John Patterson. Patterson, who is projected to be the Nationals’ No.2 starter, allowed two runs on three hits and threw 36 pitches in only one inning of work.

The Buzz

John Patterson

Needed 36 pitches to get through one inning.

Gary Majewski

Gets last-minute call to pitch for Team USA.

Matt LeCroy

Three-run single?

Cristian Guzman

The “New Guzy” goes 2-for-2 with an HBP.

Did You Know?

Because of the inaugural World Baseball Classic, National League clubs will have the option of using a designated hitter throughout spring training. The Nationals plan to use a DH during home games through March 16.

Overheard

“Hitting.”

— Frank Robinson when asked what utilityman Robert Fick’s best position is.

Seven-Day Schedule

TODAY: vs. Pirates in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

TOMORROW: vs. Pirates in Bradenton, 1:05 p.m.

SATURDAY: (ss) vs. Panama in Viera, 1:05 p.m.; (ss) vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie, 1:10 p.m.

SUNDAY: vs. Orioles in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

MONDAY: (ss) vs. Astros in Kissimmee, 1:05 p.m.; (ss) vs. Dodgers in Vero Beach, 1:05 p.m.

TUESDAY: vs. Marlins in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: vs. Cardinals in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

How to Get to Space Coast Stadium

From Orlando/North: Take Route 528 East (Bee Line Expressway) 25 miles to I-95 South. Exit I-95 South at Fiske Blvd. (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Blvd./Stadium Parkway to the stadium. Approx. time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/South: Take I-95 North to Wickham Rd. (Exit 191) and turn left. Turn right on Lake Andrew Dr. and follow to the stadium. Approx. time: 20 minutes.

Today’s Weather

Washington: Showers, 55 degrees.

Viera: Sunny, 82 degrees.

Ken Wright and Mark Zuckerman

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To submit a question, go to the http://www.washingtontimes.com/sports>Sports Page

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