The Washington Times - May 30, 2009, 08:35PM

Ryan Howard owns Shairon Martis. There’s no other way to put it.

Howard has come up to bat twice so far tonight against the rookie right-hander. He hit a solo homer into the second deck in his first at-bat. He hit a grand slam into the third deck in his next at-bat that landed 475 feet from the plate.


But wait, there’s more. The last time Howard faced Martis before tonight? April 27, in the fifth inning of that 13-11 travesty in this ballpark. What did Howard do in that at-bat? How about another grand slam.

So in the last three confrontations between the two, Howard has three home runs, two of them grand slams, and a total of nine RBI.

On the bright side, the Nationals have managed to score four runs off Cole Hamels through five innings. Wil Nieves had a two-run double in the second and then had a nifty slide to score on Anderson Hernandez’s single to center. Alberto Gonzalez added an RBI triple in the fourth.

So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Nats could come back and take Martis off the hook for his first loss of the season.