- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2006

Dodgers 4, Nationals 3 (10)

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Livan Hernandez clearly is ready for Opening Day. The rest of the Nationals? We’ll see.

Hernandez was sharp in his final tuneup of the spring, allowing two runs — one unearned — and seven hits in six innings, while throwing 97 pitches and showing no sign of knee trouble. But Washington’s ace, who will start Monday’s season opener against the Mets’ Tom Glavine at Shea Stadium, was denied the victory when the Dodgers rallied to tie the game in the ninth and then won it in the 10th.

Reliever Jon Rauch gave up the tying run in the bottom of the ninth when Jimmy Rohan’s double down the left-field line scored Eric Duncan from first to make it 3-3. Dodgers manager Grady Little went for the win, calling for Jason Repko to lay down a suicide squeeze, but Repko missed the pitch, and Rohan was out easily.

That only delayed the inevitable. Sergio Garcia — the ballplayer, not the golfer — led off the bottom of the 10th by crushing Rauch’s 1-1 pitch over the left-field fence to win the game.

THE BUZZ

Up LIVAN RARING TO GO

Did this guy really undergo knee surgery last fall?

Down VIDRO/JOHNSON COMBO

0-for-5 with five strikeouts yesterday

Sideways BACKUP CATCHER

Wiki Gonzalez or Alberto Castillo?

Down END OF THE SPRING REPORT

We’re headed back north, leaving the sun and smart-aleck comments behind

BY THE NUMBERS

97Pitches thrown by Livan Hernandez yesterday, tops among all Nationals pitchers this spring.

.158Spring batting average for Michael Tucker after going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts yesterday.

OVERHEARD

“He’s a character. There’s drama all the time. … There’s going to be events. There’s going to be situations you all talk about and write about, and I get to get gray hair. But I’ll color it, and I’ll be all right.”

— General manager Jim Bowden on right fielder Jose Guillen

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

Tomorrow: 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 at Mets, 1:10 p.m.

Tuesday: Off-day.

Wednesday: at Mets, 7:10 p.m.

HOW TO GET 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: Sunny, 67 degrees.

Viera: Mostly sunny, 79 degrees.

Mark Zuckerman

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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