- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SEEN AND HEARD Nationals 9, Dodgers 1

VIERA, Fla. — Washington might have played its best game of the Grapefruit League season yesterday against Los Angeles.

Starter Shawn Hill was excellent over five innings, and the Nationals’ offense came through with timely hits.

Hill (1-0) allowed no runs while striking out four, escaping a bases-loaded situation in the first inning and retiring 12 of the last 14 batters he faced. In 14 innings this spring, Hill has allowed just two earned runs and has struck out seven. Against the Dodgers’ powerful lineup, Hill scattered four hits and walked just two.

The Nationals scored first during a three-run fifth inning against Dodgers starter Randy Wolf. Dmitri Young led off the inning with a double to right center, and Chris Snelling followed with a bloop single to left. Felipe Lopez scored Young with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Cristian Guzman drove in Snelling with a line-drive single to left to make it 2-0. Ryan Zimmerman later hit a liner past the outstretched glove of Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal that gave the Nationals a 3-0 lead.

The Nationals (6-11-1) added six insurance runs in the eighth inning. Five of those runs came off Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton.

TEMPERATURE CHECK

Up - SHAWN HILL’S OUTING

Another terrific performance by club’s No. 2 man.

Down - WEATHER ISSUES

Chilly, wet and overcast. Not baseball weather.

Up - KANGAROO COURT

Morning meeting has laughter emanating from clubhouse.

Up - NATIONALS’ ERA

Down to 5.49 after hovering above 7.00 for most of the spring.

BY THE NUMBERS

.318 Average for shortstop Cristian Guzman after nine Grapefruit League games.

.219 Average for Guzman after the 2005 season, the lowest among major league shortstops.

OVERHEARD

“The way he goes about the game, he also looks like [Brad] Wilkerson to me. That’s the first thing I kind of noticed about him. Even from behind he looks like him. Kind of the same type of player, a throwback, go through a wall.”

— Nationals manager Manny Acta on outfielder Chris Snelling

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

Tomorrow: vs. Braves in Viera, 7:05 p.m.

Thursday: vs. Astros in Kissimmee, 7:05 p.m.

Friday: vs. Tigers in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

Saturday: vs. Cardinals in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday: vs. Braves in Lake Buena Vista, 1:05 p.m.

Monday: vs. Tigers in Lakeland, 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: Partly cloudy, 56 degrees.

Viera: Showers, 76 degrees.

Ken Wright

Want more Nats? Check out Nats Home Plate.

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