- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2006

Cardinals 7, Nationals 0

JUPITER, Fla. — For the second time in a week, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jason Marquis outclassed Washington, this time with both his arm and bat.

Marquis hit a two-run homer to right in the third inning and shut out the Nationals over six innings. The right-hander limited the Nationals to singles by Brandon Watson, Jose Vidro and Brian Schneider.

Nationals starter Pedro Astacio survived a shaky first inning but continued to struggle. The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead in the second when Aaron Miles drilled a two-run triple that Jose Guillen misplayed in the gap in right-center.

In the fourth, Marquis, who captured the National League Silver Slugger Award last season for pitchers, jumped on Astacio’s changeup and sent it over the right-field fence for a 7-0 Cardinals lead.

Even with Marquis out of the game, the Nationals generated just two singles off four relievers the rest of the way.

THE BUZZ

Up - Team bus

Arrives on time despite massive delay from pileup on I-95

Down - Astacio’s performance

Another unimpressive outing for starting pitcher

Up - Duped official scorer

Nationals have error-free game despite shaky defense

Down - Nationals’ hitting

Blanked one day after scoring spring-high 13 runs

BY THE NUMBERS

8 Games this spring in which the Nationals have scored less than two runs.

10.50 ERA for Pedro Astacio in 12 innings this spring.

OVERHEARD

“This is spring training. You have to get some work in. Things happen sometimes. You have to keep working and get back to normal.”

— Nationals starter Pedro Astacio on his rough spring

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

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

Thursday: vs. Braves in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

Friday: vs. Orioles at RFK Stadium, 7:05 p.m.

Saturday: vs. Orioles at Camden Yards, 4:35 p.m.

Sunday: Off day

Monday: Opening Day vs. Mets in New York, 1:10 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: Showers, 59 degrees

Viera: Mostly sunny, 76 degrees

Ken Wright

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To submit a question, go to the Sports Page

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