- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 19, 2005

Mets 2, Nationals 2 (10)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

Just when it looked like they were going to be shut out for the second straight game, the Nationals rallied for two runs in the ninth inning last night, sending the exhibition contest into extra innings.

After neither team scored in the 10th, both managers agreed to call it a tie.

Washington’s lineup had been stymied all night by Mets pitching, including starter Kris Benson. But closer Braden Looper couldn’t finish it off in the ninth, allowing run-scoring hits to backups J.J. Davis and Tony Blanco.

The Nationals got solid pitching of their own. Starter Esteban Loaiza allowed one run on five hits and struck out four in five innings of work. Joey Eischen came in to relieve Loaiza in the sixth and gave up an unearned run courtesy of back-to-back errors by left fielder Brad Wilkerson and third baseman Blanco.

THE BUZZ

Sideways ” Jose Vidro’s elbow

Club officials say they are not concerned. They will change their tune if he doesn’t get back in the lineup soon.

Up ” Dry weather

How about that ” they played a game without any delays!

Up ” Getting your work in

Tony Armas manages to throw three innings in a minor league game after Thursday’s washout.

Down ” Large pitching staffs

Robinson likely to take only 11 guys north.

BY THE NUMBERS

3

Nationals players who celebrated birthdays yesterday: Terrmel Sledge (28), Tomo Ohka (28) and Chad Cordero (23).

7

Regulars in the Nationals’ lineup last night (only second baseman Jose Vidro was missing).

OVERHEARD

“It’s probably a 12 ” just like Shinnecock.”

” Reliever Joey Eischen when asked to guess the Stimpmeter rating on the linoleum clubhouse floor he was putting on before last night’s game.

NATIONALS’ SCHEDULE

TODAY: vs. Indians in Viera, 1 p.m.

TOMORROW: vs. Dodgers in Vero Beach, 1 p.m.

MONDAY: vs. Marlins in Viera, 1 p.m.

TUESDAY: vs. Astros in Kissimmee, 1 p.m.

WEDNESDAY: Off day

THURSDAY: vs. Mets in Viera, 1 p.m.

FRIDAY: vs. Orioles in Viera, 1 p.m.

HOW TO GET TO SPACE COAST STADIUM

From Orlando/North: Take Rte. 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: Partly cloudy, 56 degrees.

Viera: Sunny, 70 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman

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