|Big news: Nationals off to 3-0 start behind Zimmerman and Redding|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 03 April 2008 00:10|
Tim Redding took a one-hitter into the eighth inning and Ryan Zimmerman hit a solo homer to help the Nationals stay unbeaten with a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.
The last time the Washington Nationals' franchise was 3-0 was 2003, when the team was located in Montreal and named the Expos. The last time a baseball team from the nation's capital won its first three games was 1951, when the Senators started 4-0.
``We believe,'' Redding said. ``We believe we can compete and play with anybody in the league, whether it's Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta or Florida.''
The defending NL East champion Phillies fell to 0-2. Poor starts are nothing new in Philadelphia. The Phillies opened 1-6 three times in the past four years and were 4-11 after 15 games last season.
In other NL games it was, Milwaukee 8, Chicago Cubs 2; the New York Mets 13, Florida 0; Atlanta 10, Pittsburgh 2; Cincinnati 6, Arizona 5; St. Louis 8, Colorado 3; Houston 9, San Diego 6; and San Francisco 2, Los Angeles 1.
Zimmerman gave the Nationals the only run they'd need with his second homer in the sixth. He hit a 1-2 pitch the opposite way into the right-field stands leading off the inning.
Zimmerman also made an outstanding defensive play at third base to prevent trouble in the seventh. He started an inning-ending double play with a diving stop on a hard shot by Pat Burrell.
It was Zimmerman who hit a solo homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give Washington a 3-2 victory over Atlanta in the debut of $611 million Nationals Park on Sunday night.
``That's why he's the face of the franchise,'' Nationals manager Manny Acta said. ``He's going to have a long career.''
A 30-year-old right-hander pitching for his fourth team in the majors, Redding shut down a potent lineup that's led the league in runs the past two seasons.
Redding improved to 2-1 with a 2.19 ERA in seven starts against the Phillies. He was just 3-6 in 15 starts in his first season with the Nationals last year, but should've had a better record because his ERA was only 3.64.
``He was tremendous, a great outing in bad conditions,'' Acta said.
A stiff wind that blew straight in and cold temperatures made it difficult for pitchers and batters at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies starter Cole Hamels, an All-Star in his first full season in the majors last year, was sharp. But the left-hander made one more mistake than Redding.
``I was trying to go away. It was out of the strike zone,'' Hamels said.
Brewers 8, Cubs 2
At Chicago, Jeff Suppan held Chicago to two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, Rickie Weeks homered on the game's first pitch and Jason Kendall reached base five straight times for Milwaukee.
Suppan (1-0) gave up Derrek Lee's home run leading off the fourth on a 41-degree day and left after allowing Geovany Soto's homer in the seventh.
Chicago starter Ted Lilly (0-1) gave up four runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings as the Cubs dropped to 0-2.
Reds 6, Arizona 5
At Cincinnati, Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to give Cincinnati its first victory under manager Dusty Baker.
Arizona took a 5-3 lead into the ninth on the strength of an impressive debut by right-hander Dan Haren, who doubled, scored a run, hit a sacrifice fly and pitched six innings.
Diamondbacks closer Brandon Lyon (0-1) gave up singles to Brandon Phillips and Adam Dunn to open the ninth, and Encarnacion homered after failing to get down a sacrifice bunt.
Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded threat in the top of the ninth.
Mets 13, Marlins 0
At Miami, Ryan Church and David Wright each homered, Carlos Beltran had three doubles and New York pounded out 17 hits.
Church had three hits and drove in three runs.
Oliver Perez (1-0) allowed five hits over six scoreless innings.
Andrew Miller (0-1) gave up five runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings in his Marlins' debut.
Cardinals 8, Rockies 3
At St. Louis, Rick Ankiel homered, singled twice and made a diving catch for the Cardinals.
Todd Wellemeyer (1-0) struck out six in five innings and Rico Washington drove in an insurance run with his first career hit after nearly 4,000 minor league at-bats in a four-run eighth.
Brad Hawpe had a home run and RBI double for the defending NL champion Rockies. Aaron Cook (0-1) gave up four runs and six hits in six innings.
Braves 10, Pirates 2
At Atlanta, Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer and Yunel Escobar added a three-run shot in seven-run eighth inning.
Jair Jurrjens, acquired in the offseason deal that sent Edgar Renteria to Detroit, gave up seven hits and two runs in 5 1-3 innings to help the Braves avoid an 0-3 start.
Tom Gorzelanny (0-1) gave up six hits and three runs with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings.
Astros 9, Padres 6
At San Diego, Lance Berkman hit a three-run homer off Trevor Hoffman with two outs in the ninth inning and Houston rallied for its first win.
With the Padres leading 6-5, Hoffman (0-1) retired the first two batters before walking pinch-hitter Jose Cruz Jr. Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence followed with singles to tie the game and Berkman drove a 3-1 pitch over the center field fence.
San Diego's Brian Giles singled three times and had three RBIs, including a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth off Jose Valverde (1-0).
Giants 2, Dodgers 1
At Los Angeles, Tim Lincecum made his season debut in relief and scored the go-ahead run on Randy Winn's sacrifice fly in the sixth, and San Francisco avoided its first 0-3 start since 1984.
The Dodgers decided to start Hong-Chih Kuo in place of Chad Billingsley due to the threat of inclement weather. The Giants followed suit, starting Merkin Valdez instead of Lincecum.
Lincecum (1-0) threw 84 pitches over four innings, allowing a run and four hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Brian Wilson got his first save.
Esteban Loaiza (0-1) allowed a run in 2 2-3 for Los Angeles.