- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2007

SEEN AND HEARD

Nationals 6, Braves 5

VIERA, Fla. — Atlanta reliever Jonathan Johnson walked outfielder Chris Snelling with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the ninth inning as Washington gained its third straight Grapefruit League win.

The Nationals improved their record to 8-11-1 this spring.

Johnson, a former first-round draft pick (seventh overall) in the 1995 draft by the Texas Rangers who briefly retired in 2003, fell apart with two out in the ninth and his team leading 5-3. Johnson, who pitched last season at Class AAA Richmond, surrendered a double down the left-field line to D’Angelo Jimenez.

Backup shortstop Josh Wilson singled up the middle to score Jimenez. Outfielder Kory Casto singled to left, advancing Wilson to second. Outfielder Michael Restovich tied the game with a single to center field that scored Wilson. Johnson then hit first baseman Dmitri Young to load the bases and set up Snelling’s game-winning walk.

The rally overshadowed a sub-par outing by Nationals starter Tim Redding. Redding, who was making his fourth start of the spring, allowed three runs in the first inning, including a two-run homer by Andruw Jones that gave the Braves an early lead.

Redding lasted just three innings, which matched his longest outing of the spring, and saw his spring ERA balloon to 11.42 in just 82/3 innings.

TEMPERATURE CHECK

Up - CRISTIAN GUZMAN’S BIRTHDAY

Shares big day with K-Fed and Alcatraz closing.

Down - SIMONTACCHI’S GROIN

Right-hander may miss next bullpen turn.

Up - ASTACIO IN COACHES’ LOCKER ROOM

That’s it, he’s part of the instructional staff.

Down - CANDLESTICK ANYONE?

Heavy wind wreaks havoc at Space Coast Stadium.

BY THE NUMBERS

12 Runs the Nationals had scored in their past two games, both wins , before last night.

12 Runs by which the Atlanta Braves have outscored the Nationals in three spring meetings.

OVERHEARD

“It really doesn’t bother me. That’s why I moved over here. Freedom of speech. Everybody has a right to their opinion and we have to respect them. … I have enough on my hands to start fighting everybody who’s writing us off.”

— Nationals manager Manny Acta on how he copes with predictions that his club will be historically bad this season

SEVEN-DAY SCHEDULE

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

Tomorrow: 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.

Tuesday: vs. Mets in Viera, 7:05 p.m.

Wednesday: vs. Marlins (ss) in Jupiter, 1:05 p.m.; vs. Orioles (ss) in Viera, 1:05 p.m.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Morning drizzle, 72 degrees.

Viera: Scattered showers, 77 degrees.

Ken Wright

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