- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 8, 2009

— The Washington Nationals will have to go to Atlanta in search of their first win of the year. Despite 10 walks, they couldn't find it Wednesday in Florida.

A 6-4 loss to the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium closed a sweep to open the season, dropping Washington to 0-3.

Daniel Cabrera gave up five runs on seven hits in six innings, holding the Marlins to a run through four innings but giving up four hits and drilling Jorge Cantu with a pitch on the way to a four-run fifth that put Florida up 5-2.

While the Marlins were jumping on enough mistakes to scratch out a lead, the Nationals missed almost every chance that came their way after the first inning.

They drew 10 walks, eight of them after they scored two runs in the first, but netted just two runs out of the bounty, simply because they didn't get hits when they needed them. Ryan Zimmerman led off the sixth with a double, and Josh Willingham and Austin Kearns drew one-out walks to load the bases. Sensing his chance to create a big inning, manager Manny Acta sent out Ronnie Belliard and Josh Bard to pinch hit. Neither one could deliver.

Then, in the eighth, two walks put runners on first and second with two outs. That time, Alberto Gonzalez punched a pinch-hit single into the left-field corner, but Washington couldn't get anything in the inning.

Their final shot was a tightrope ninth inning battle against Florida closer Matt Lindstrom. The Nationals squeezed 32 pitches out of Lindstrom, fouling off his 96-mph fastball time and again and drawing two more walks, along with a single from Elijah Dukes and an extra out (or two) that came when Dan Uggla tried to tag Dukes before throwing to first but bobbled the ball, allowing Dukes and Ryan Zimmerman to reach safely.

Adam Dunn drew the Nationals' 10th and final walk, but Josh Willingham struck out and Brett Carroll made a diving catch off Austin Kearns' liner to end the game.


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