- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

MARLINS 22, NATIONALS 12

VIERA, Fla. — This game was beyond ugly. About 24 hours after losing by 10 runs to the Houston Astros on the road, the Nationals embarrassed themselves further. The Nationals committed four errors, were outhit 26-9 and got trounced by a team resembling a minor league outfit.

Washington starter Ramon Ortiz was horrible, allowing seven runs — all earned — on nine hits in just two innings. Outfielder Matt Cepicky, a former Nationals farmhand, delivered an early fatal blow when he belted a first-inning grand slam off Ortiz over the right-field fence. From that point, the rout was on.

Despite how quickly this one turned into glorified garbage time, the Nationals were unable to control the carnage. The Marlins led 21-1 in the sixth inning. Here’s how bad it was: Space Coast Stadium’s hand-operated scoreboard didn’t have numbers high enough to display all of the Marlins’ hits.

The Buzz

Sloppy play

Two days in a row now Frank’s not happy.

Ramon Ortiz

Seven runs, nine hits in two innings for the guy penciled in as No. 3 starter.

Matt Cepicky

Grand slam for ex-Nationals player, who may start for Marlins.

WBC opens

Dominican-Venezuela game drew plenty of attention, but should the Nationals be watching TV in the middle of their own game?

By the numbers

3 Bats broken by Nationals reliever Anastacio Martinez in yesterday’s third inning.

25 Was the highest number Space Coast Stadium’s hand-operated scoreboard goes up to. The Marlins had 26 hits yesterday.

Overheard

“Our scoreboard looks like a Sudoku board.”

— Anonymous press box observer during yesterday’s 22-12 loss to the Marlins.

Seven-Day Schedule

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

TOMORROW: vs. Marlins (ss) in Viera, 1:05 p.m.; vs. Indians (ss) in Winter Haven, 1:05 p.m.

FRIDAY: vs. Astros in Kissimmee, 1:05 p.m.

SATURDAY: vs. Dodgers in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

SUNDAY: vs. Marlins in Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

MONDAY: vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie, 7:10 p.m.

TUESDAY: vs. Marlins (ss) in Viera, 1:05 p.m.; vs. Marlins (ss) in Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

Today’s weather

Washington: Partly cloudy, 52 degrees.

Viera: Mostly sunny, 72 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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