- The Washington Times - Monday, March 27, 2006

Nationals 13, Astros 6

VIERA, Fla. — The Nationals played home run derby to defeat the National League champions yesterday. Jose Guillen and rookie Ryan Zimmerman had two homers each, and Alfonso Soriano added a solo shot.

Zimmerman has a team-leading five home runs this spring.

Guillen, who was 2-for-4 with four RBI, needed a game like this. The Nationals slugger spent most of spring training rehabbing his surgically repaired left shoulder. He suffered a setback in camp when he injured a tendon in his left wrist that caused him to miss a week. Since returning to the lineup, Guillen has been concerned about his timing, but he may have it back.

Nationals starter John Patterson was impressive in his fourth spring start, allowing two runs in 51/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one on 88 pitches.

THE BUZZ

Up - LONG BALL AFTERNOON

Homer-happy Nationals ruin Brandon Backe’s outing

Down - THE INEVITABLE

Soriano badly misplays a slicing Berkman drive to left

Up - KEY PERFORMERS

Guillen, Vidro, Soriano and Zimmerman all big at the plate

Down - PLAYING CATCHUP

Majewski gets rocked in four-run seventh

BY THE NUMBERS

5 Home runs hit by Nationals in yesterday’s game

4 Home runs hit by the Nationals off Astros starter Brandon Backe

OVERHEARD

“Just the way a catcher looks, you know sitting behind the plate, it’s almost like your favorite pair of shoes or something. It just kind of fits, and everything falls into line.”

— John Patterson on pitching for the first time this spring to Brian Schneider

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

Tomorrow: 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.

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

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

Sunday: Off day

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: Sunny, 59 degrees

Viera: Sunny, 71 degrees

Ken Wright

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