- The Washington Times - Friday, March 24, 2006

Nationals 1, Orioles 0

VIERA, Fla. — After struggling the first part of the spring, Washington Nationals right-hander Ramon Ortiz threw six scoreless innings against the Orioles for his second consecutive strong effort.

Ortiz, who allowed 11 runs in his first three outings, is getting stronger as Opening Day approaches thanks to an improved slider. In his team-high fifth spring start, Ortiz scattered five hits, walked none and struck out two against a credible Orioles lineup that included Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez, Luis Matos and David Newhan. The Nationals scored the lone run of the game when Royce Clayton’s deep fly ball to center brought home rookie Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth inning.

The Buzz

RAMON, RAMON

Ortiz’s best start delivers shutout win

DEAD BATS

Four singles is enough to win

DEFENSE

A rare game — no errors

BATTLE OF THE BELTWAY

Third spring meeting draws just 3,732

BY THE NUMBERS

38 Players left on the Nationals’ spring training roster after eight were sent elsewhere yesterday.

3 Fly balls left fielder Alfonso Soriano caught in yesterday’s game.

QUOTABLE

“When you have [Mike] Piazza there, you’re not sure exactly what you’re going to get. The rumor was that Mike was going to be able to go there, and he was going to want to catch more than what was led on to me. What’s the point of going there and not catching when you’re out here trying to fight for a job?”

— Catcher Mike DiFelice on his decision not to play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He was reassigned by the Nationals yesterday.

Seven-Day Schedule

Today: vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista, 7:05 p.m.

Tomorrow: vs. Tigers in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday: vs. Astros in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

Monday: vs. Cardinals in Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.

Tuesday: vs. Indians in Viera, 6:05 p.m.

Wednesday: vs. Dodgers in Vero Beach, 1:05 p.m.

Thursday: vs. Braves in Viera, 1:05 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: Afternoon showers, 52 degrees.

Viera: Mostly sunny, 70 degrees.

Ken Wright

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