- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nationals 8, Indians 3

VIERA, Fla. — For the second time in his last three games, rookie Ryan Zimmerman belted two home runs in one game.

Last night’s home runs traveled to the deepest parts of Space Coast Stadium. Zimmerman followed up a three-run blast by Jose Guillen in the first inning with a two-out solo shot to center field off Indians starter C.C. Sabathia that easily cleared the 404-foot mark.

In the fourth inning, Zimmerman gave the Nationals a 6-3 lead with a two-run homer to the gap in right-center field — another 400-foot home run. With his two-homer evening, Zimmerman raised his team-leading home run total to seven this spring.

Nationals starter Ramon Ortiz appreciated the run support. The right-hander faced a formidable Indians lineup and allowed three runs on eight hits in 52/3 innings. Ortiz walked one and struck out two on 89 pitches, but he wasn’t as dominant as he was five earlier, when he shut out the Baltimore Orioles over six innings.

BUZZ

BRANDON WATSON

His job to win, and he won it.

RYAN CHURCH

Shocking spring has him back in the minors.

GUILLEN’S CONTRACT

First-inning blast begs long-term deal.

SORIANO, OUTFIELDER

Late start lets catchable pop fall in for a double in fourth.

BY THE NUMBERS

.200 Batting average for Ryan Church in 55 at-bats this spring.

.311 Batting average for Brandon Watson in 61 at-bats this spring.

OVERHEARD

“That’s up to you guys. I don’t know. I’m not going to go down here and beat their drum for them.”

— Nationals manager Frank Robinson on whether the Atlanta Braves’ 14 consecutive division titles get proper respect.

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

Tomorrow: 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.

Tuesday: Off-day

GETTING 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 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: Partly cloudy, 59 degrees.

Viera: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees.

Ken Wright

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To submit a question, go to the https://www.washingtontimes.com/sports>Sports Page

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