- The Washington Times - Monday, July 3, 2006

Washington right-hander Ramon Ortiz and Tampa Bay’s defense made sure the Nationals ended interleague play on a positive note.

Ortiz recorded his first win in four starts by allowing just one run on four hits in seven innings as the Nationals downed the Devil Rays 6-2 yesterday at RFK Stadium.

The only negative aspect of an otherwise outstanding performance by Ortiz (6-6) was that he hit a career-high three batters.

With Livan Hernandez battling a bum knee, John Patterson experiencing “dead arm” syndrome and veteran right-hander Pedro Astacio scheduled to make his season debut today against the Florida Marlins, the Nationals (35-48) needed a good performance from Ortiz.

“I can’t say to you that it’s my best [outing] because I’ve thrown in a lot of games and I’ve thrown very good,” Ortiz said. “I used all my pitches today — my change, my slider, my fastball on both sides — outside corner, inside corner.”

The Nationals led 4-0 in the sixth inning when the last-place Devil Rays came unglued. It started with what looked like a harmless sacrifice bunt. With one out, Ortiz bunted Marlon Anderson to second base. Anderson then advanced to third on a throwing error to first by Devil Rays shortstop Tomas Perez.

With Royce Clayton at the plate, Devil Rays reliever Jon Switzer uncorked a wild pitch that scored Anderson. A throwing error by catcher Dioner Navarro to Switzer, who was trying to cover the plate on the wild pitch, allowed Ortiz to score from second.

The Devil Rays weren’t done committing wacky plays in the inning. Clayton’s routine fly ball to right was simply dropped by right fielder Russell Branyan. The good news for the AL East cellar dwellars was that Branyan’s error at least didn’t allow another run to score. But the Devil Rays did tie a team record with four errors in the game.

When asked whether he has seen a wild inning like the one the Devil Rays produced in the sixth, Nationals manager Frank Robinson said, “Yeah, we’re usually on the other end of it.”

The Nationals finished interleague play with a 7-11 record after going 12-6 against the AL last year. By taking two of three games from the Devil Rays (35-47), the Nationals won their second straight series at RFK.

Rookie third baseman Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nationals and Ortiz early run support with a two-run homer off starter Jae Seo in the first inning. In his first start with the Devil Rays, Seo hung a slider to Zimmerman, who hit his 11th home run of the season into the left-field bullpen for a 2-0 lead.

“I didn’t think it was going to get out when I first hit it, but it snuck over,” Zimmerman said.

The Nationals recovered nicely in this series after getting bludgeoned 11-1 by the Devil Rays in the opener Friday night.

Anderson, who started his second straight game as the club’s center fielder, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run. Right fielder Jose Guillen went 2-for-4 with two doubles and one RBI but tweaked his problematic right hamstring in the first inning coming out of the batter’s box. Guillen played the entire game, but it is not clear whether he will be in the lineup tonight against the Florida Marlins.

“I can’t take any more days off. I want to play. I’ve got to deal with it,” Guillen said.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To

submit a question, go to the Sports Page

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide