Continued from page 1

It didn’t take long for Boston’s worst fears (and Washington’s best hopes) to be realized. After retiring leadoff man Cristian Guzman on a grounder, Smoltz allowed five straight batters to reach base.

The Nationals didn’t so much pounce on the veteran right-hander as they dinked and dunked him to death. After Nick Johnson was struck by a pitch in the left shin - he wound up leaving the game with a contusion - Ryan Zimmerman doubled down the left-field line. Adam Dunn walked and Josh Willingham, Bard and Anderson Hernandez each produced run-scoring singles to complete a four-run splurge.

“I have to give them credit,” Smoltz said. “They battled me [for] seven-, eight-, nine-pitch at-bats.”

The hits kept coming. Bard drove in another run with a third-inning single. And though Smoltz settled down to make it through the fifth without suffering any more damage, the Nationals feasted on Boston’s bullpen, adding four insurance runs and giving everyone in the home dugout even more reason to smile.