- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2006

CARDINALS 7, NATIONALS 4 (10)

VIERA, Fla. — While these are only spring training games, Washington Nationals manager Frank Robinson and general manager Jim Bowden are concerned about their team’s inability to execute fundamental plays. The Nationals have committed seven errors in their past two games at Space Coast Stadium.

With yesterday’s game tied 4-4 with two outs in the 10th inning, backup Cardinals outfielder John Gall looped a single to center, and center fielder Marlon Byrd misplayed the hop and allowed the ball to roll past him to the warning track. That error led to the eventual winning run.

The sloppy 10th spoiled the Nationals’ furious ninth-inning rally off Cardinals reliever Carmen Cali in which they erased a four-run deficit. Nationals outfielder Tyrell Godwin (3-for-4) hit a bases-loaded, two-run double down the right-field line to make it 4-2. A two-run single to left field by Byrd tied the game 4-4, sending it to extra innings.

THE BUZZ

Up — MARLON BYRD, HITTER

Caps four-run rally with clutch hit in ninth.

Down — MARLON BYRD, FIELDER

Allows winning run to score on error in 10th.

Up — STARTING ROTATION

Hernandez, Astacio finally make spring debuts today.

Up — CARDINALS FANS

Perhaps the most loyal in baseball. (Yes, that includes New York and Boston.)

INJURY REPORT

Left-hander Joey Eischen threw 11 minutes in the bullpen yesterday and was encouraged by his results. Eischen has been plagued by tendinitis in his left shoulder all spring, though he says he still plans to be ready by Opening Day. The veteran reliever says he’s way ahead of schedule, even though he has not yet pitched in a spring training game. Manager Frank Robinson said Eischen is about a week away from pitching in a game.

OVERHEARD

“I seriously thought, about the fourth inning, of throwing myself out of the game. I really did, so I could get out of there and not have to watch.”

— Manager Frank Robinson on Tuesday’s unsightly, 22-12 loss to the Marlins.

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

Wednesday: vs. Mets 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, 65 degrees.

Viera: mostly sunny, 79 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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