- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Nationals 1, Marlins 0

VIERA, Fla. - Behind five solid innings from starter Zach Day and four stellar innings from a trio of relievers, Washington won its third straight exhibition game.

Day wasn’t as sharp as his last start against the Braves, but he managed to hold the Marlins to two hits and a walk in five innings. In the process, he all but locked up the No. 5 spot in the Nationals’ rotation.

This win wouldn’t have been possible, though, without the work of relievers Antonio Osuna, Joey Eischen and Luis Ayala. Osuna has yet to give up a run this spring, Eischen struck out two of the three batters he faced in the seventh and Ayala put in two scoreless innings to notch his first save of the spring.

The Nationals didn’t do much offensively, but they managed to push one run across in the second off Florida ace Josh Beckett. Jose Guillen doubled, moved to third on Nick Johnson’s fly out and scored on Brian Schneider’s force out.

THE BUZZ

Up — Jose Guillen: model citizen

Outfielder certainly hasn’t lived up to his reputation so far.

Up — Antonio Osuna

Reliever has allowed one baserunner in four innings so far while striking out four.

Sideways — Tony Blanco

Rule 5 pickup sure can hit, but can he be trusted in the field?

Down — Wind blowing in

Florida’s Carlos Delgado and Damion Easley robbed of homers by Mother Nature.

BY THE NUMBERS

2.74 Combined spring ERA of Nationals starters Livan Hernandez, Tony Armas Jr., Esteban Loaiza, Tomo Ohka and Zach Day.

25 Times the Nationals and Mets will play each other this year, including exhibition games.

OVERHEARD

“Does a mailman plan a hike on his day off?”

— Frank Robinson, asked whether his team would play an intrasquad game tomorrow — the Nationals’ lone off-day of the spring.

NATIONALS’ SCHEDULE

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

TOMORROW: Off-day

THURSDAY: vs. Cardinals in Jupiter, 1 p.m.

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

SATURDAY: vs. Dodgers in Viera, 7 p.m.

SUNDAY: vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie, 1 p.m.

MONDAY: vs. Dodgers in Vero Beach, 7 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 Boulevard (Exit 195). Proceed south on Fiske Boulevard/Stadium Parkway to the stadium. Approx. time: 45 minutes.

From Melbourne/South: Take I-95 North to Wickham Road (Exit 191) and turn left. Turn right on Lake Andrew Drive and follow to the stadium. Approx. time: 20 minutes.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Mostly sunny, 56 degrees

Viera: Scattered thunderstorms, 79 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman

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