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Live Blogging Opening Night – Game Action

Top of the First:

Odalis (remember when he was a youngin’ in Atlanta’s system?) faces Kelly Johnson. Odalis’s tag is sticking out, off-center at the 8pm spot around his neckline. That’ll be annoying for the rest of the night. Strikeout! The Pi Train is in First Place! Cover Zero is 0-1 on the night.

During the Yunel Escobar at-bat, Miller and Morgan discuss Odalis Perez’s tag, with lots of close-ups. Enjoy, Paul Lukas! Chipper’s on-deck. Escobar walks. There goes The Pi Train’s WHIP.

Chipper: dummy. First-pitch lazy fly to right field. AaRr is now 0-for-1 on the season. Mark Teixeira’s up.

Teixeira: Backwards K. Full-count, then watched it groove down the middle. Then he mouths off a bit that he didn’t like the call. It’s going to be a long season. AaRr is now 0-for-2 on the season. Last Place.

Bottom of the First:

Oy – Christian Guzman gets the first hit in Nationals Park history, a slap bouncer into right field. Looked a lot like Scott Posey’s first hit ever for the Marlins.

Hudson then tries to pick-off Guzman, goes past Teix, Guzman goes to third. Bobby Cox looks like he threw up a bit in his mouth.

Milledge K’s. Alex has tied Barry in pitching.

Oh, boy. Joe Morgan just said that Hanley Ramirez has everything – power, speed, defense. Defense? The Miller said that Morgan finished 2nd in the ROY voting to Jim Lefebvre. Zimmerman is still up. And he strikes out.

X-Men takes the lead in pitching with two strikeouts. Nick Johnson up.

Gametime temperature is 49 degrees. Meanwhile, it’s 82 in Phoenix, and the Dbacks open up AT Cincinnati.

Broken-bat shot to right field for Johnson. Drives in the first run in this ballpark. RBI to Get Off Kong! Johnson stretches it to a double against Francoeur’s arm. 1-0 Nats. Austin Kearns up.

Another base hit to right. Johnson beats the (wide) throw from Francoeur. 2-0 Nats. Uncle Lester on the board with a hit and an RBI. X-Men: 2 ER. Paul LoDuca up.

Interesting stonework behind home plate – grays and greens.

The Braves’ navy cap today does not have any red in it – all navy field with a stark white stylized “A”.

Lastings Milledge better lay of the sunflower seeds.

LoDuca taps out a grounder to Chipper. End of inning.

After one inning, the standings: Get Off Kong, Uncle Lester, Goodfellas, everyone else, then Pi Train and X-Men.

Top of the Second:

Jeff Francoeur – first-pitch tapper to Zimmerman at third. Almost missed it with B-roll of Nationals’ arrival at the stadium. Next up, Brian McCann.

McCann line shot off the fence. Hard bounce to Kearns and the relay throw gets McCann out by two steps at second. Single, Error on advancing it to a double. I’m liking these high angles at the ballpark (as well as the High-Def). Next up, Matt Diaz.

Firm grounder to Belliard at second base. Seven pitches, three outs.

Bottom of the Second:

Elijah Dukes flew out to center on the first pitch. Next up, Ronnie Belliard.

Belliard grounded out to Chipper, who was playing on the grass (up). Morgan and Miller are jawing about Yankee Stadium, and the 1977 All-Star game, where Morgan hit a HR off of Jim Palmer.

Odalis Perez strikes out. Another seven pitch inning.

Standings after two innings: Get Off Kong!, Uncle Lester, Goodfellas, Cover Zero, everyone else, Pi Train, then X-Men.

Top of the Third:

Perez starts pitching while ESPN is still in billboards. First up, China-Doll Mark Kotsay.

Kotsay pops up to shallow right. President Bush is in the booth – sounds a little timid. Bush and Morgan met in 1994 prior to the first game in Arlington, when Bush was a co-owner. Tim Hudson is the batter.

Hudson flies out down the first-base line. Top of the order, Kelly Johnson.

Apparently George Bush warmed up in the tunnel with Jose Rijo. Good to know Bowden has collected all the former Reds. Barry Larkin is also an advisor to the team.

Kelly Johnson lines to center. Cover Zero gains some points. Next up, Yunel Escobar.

Whoops, Odalis Perez gets Johnson in a pickoff-turned-rundown play. Three outs.

Bottom of the Third:

Christian Guzman up. Broken bat flare to center, caught by the China Doll. Next up, Lastings Millege.

First pitch, ground out to Teixeira. Next up, Zimmerman.

Zimmerman at least worked the count a little. Grounder up the middle. Escobar handles it, does a 270, and gets him by a step. 1-2-3

No change in the standings after three innings.

Top of the Fourth:

Yunel Escobar grounds to Belliard at third. One down. Chipper up.

Hey, Chipper didn’t swing at the first pitch. 1-0. 2-0.

LINE DRIVE HOME RUN TO CENTER! “A rope!” said President Bush. “Blasted that thing, didn’t he.”

Teixeira up. 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, SHATTERED BAT, grounds to shortstop. Francoeur up. Odalis Perez has fixed his tag, btw.

Long at-bat, followed by a dink hit by Frenchy. Rolls down the line, bounces off of the third base bag, and then rolls foul. Fair ball. “Infield hit.” McCann up.

Can of corn to center for McCann.

Ah, Bush is catching the game, and heading to the Ukraine tomorrow. End of inning.

Bottom of the Fourth:

Ah, Brewers’ Sausage-like Presidents race. Thomas Jefferson trips and falls, Lincoln almost trips over him.

Nick Johnson up. Long fly, just short of the warning track – caught by Kotsay. Next up, Austin Kearns.

Kearns chopper, snagged by Hudson. LoDuca up.

Weak grounder to short. Three down.

Standings after four innings: ATOMIC ROADRUNNERS IN FIRST, Get Off Kong, Uncle Lester, Goodfellas, Shoeless Jews, Cover Zero, Misogynistic Padres, Stanimals, X-Men, The Pi Train.

Top of the Fifth:

Matt Diaz up. Grounder to shortstop . . .right through Christian Guzman’s five-hole. Man on first. Mark Kotsay up. I don’t think Kotsay is even activated for the week. Yep, Misogynistic Padres activated him at utility for the week. Fly-out to left. Tim Hudson up.

Hudson bunts nicely, Diaz moves over to second base. Top of the order – Kelly Johnson up.

Johnson grounds out to first. Still 2-1 Nationals.

Bottom of the Fifth:

Elijah Dukes, grounds out to Chipper Jones. He’s 0-2 and has seen TWO pitches tonight. Ronnie Belliard up.

Chopper to shortstop, just past a shallow-playing Chipper. Two down. Rob Mackowiak pinch-hitting for Odalis Perez. The Pi Train’s pitching evening is over.

Mackowiak grounds out to second base. Hudson’s cruising.

After five innings, the standings are: 1. Roadrunners, 2. Kong, 3. Lester, 4. Goodfellas, 5. Shoeless, 6. Cover Zero, 7. Miso Padres, 8. Stanimals, 9. X-Men, 10. Pi Train.

Top of the Sixth:

Chipper Jones retrospective by Peter Gammons. Gammons – “Sure-fire Hall of Famer, best OPS of any 3B – ever.”

Saul Rivera is pitching. I always thought it was pronounced “Sawl” like the Jewish name, but it’s really “Sa-uul”.

Willie Harris replaces Elijah Dukes in left field, part of a double switch. Miller hasn’t realized this yet – he thinks Dukes might be injured.

Yunel Escobar grounds out to deep shortstop. Chipper up. He switches to left-handed.

0-1, 1-1, 1-2 (foul off), 2-2, swinging strikeout. Good sinker by Rivera. Teixeira up, also switching to left-handed.

On 1-0, Teix pops up tremendously to the pitcher’s mound.

Bottom of the Sixth:

Christian Guzman up. Hudson has retired 13 in a row. Hooded 7-iron to first base. Groundout.

Peter Gammons reports that Elijah Dukes had a tight hamstring, so they replaced him with Harris. I think it was because he was 0-2 on two pitches tonight.

Temperature is down to 43 degrees. Lastings Milledge up.

Comebacker to the mound, Milledge out. Zimmerman up.

Chopper to Chipper – heh. 1-2-3, 16-straight retired.

No change in standings.

Top of the Seventh:

Frenchy grounds out to shortstop. One out.

McCann line shot, running catch by Kearns. Two down.

Matt Diaz nearly identical shot as McCann’s – Three down.

Yawn.

Bottom of the Seventh:

Hudson still in. Nick Johnson up. This game is getting a bit boring. Pop fly to left center – Kotsay brings it in.

Kearns pops up to right-center. Kotsay brings that one in as well.

Long fly ball by LoDuca caught by Diaz. Another 1-2-3, 19 straight retired by Hudson – who still is in line for the loss.

Standings unchanged since last inning.

Top of the Eighth:

Lefty Ray King now on the mound. Kotsay up. Flies out to shallow left – third straight flyout for Kotsay.

Pinch hitter up. Brayan Pena hitting for Hudson. Pena walks. Man on first. Top of the order.

Kelly Johnson up – currently 1-for-3.

Gregor Blanco (Atomic Roadrunners) pinch-running for Pena! He’s not active, however.

Johnson hits a long flyout to center. Two out.

New pitcher coming in: Luis Ayala trotting in. Yunel Escobar up.

Short chopper to third, barely thrown out – but it was ruled foul. Ground out FC to shortstop. Three down.

Bottom of the Eighth:

Will Ohman (lefty) in for the Braves. Willie Harris up.

Harris bounces one right to Teixeira. One away. Ohman takes care of business and is pulled. Peter Moylan (Peter Moylan!) enters the game. Hmm, a big fella.

Ronnie Belliard hits a firm grounder up the middle – Moylan just misses it, but Yunel Escobar backs him up. Two down. Next up is Felipe Lopez, batting lefty.

Moylan out to a quick 0-2 count, with some nasty movement. Wow, backwards K, with some mean movement back into the zone.

Standings unchanged.

Top of the Ninth:

Chipper up facing Jon Rauch. Morgan babbling about how Chipper will be facing Chad Cordero right up to the point where Rauch is about to throw his first pitch. I guess as an analyst he missed Rauch warming up, and the announcement that he was now pitching.

0-1 count, Chipper nails a line-shot right into Rauch’s glove. Teixeira up. Now Jesus Colume and Mark Hanrahan are warming up in the pen, not Cordero.

Teixeira taks an 0-1 pitch to deep right center field – off the wall! Double for Teix. Six inches higher and it would have been a homer. Teixeira replaced by pinch-runner Martin Prado. Francoeur up.

(Cordero reporting of stiffness. Not specific stiffness, perhaps to the brim of his cap.)

Francoeur taps a weak grounder to second. Prado advances to third. Two down. McCann up.

Passed ball! LoDuca scrambles back to the backstop. No throw – Prado scores! Tie game!

McCann bloops a 3-0 pitch to left field. Three out.

Bottom of the Ninth:

Moylan back in for a second inning of work. Replay of the passed ball. Morgan has now said four times that the ball was in the air when it went by LoDuca. Now, watching the replay, it’s “the ball is in the air, and it just sinks past him, you see the ball hits the ground at his glove when it hits his glove.” Hmm.

Prado stays in at 1B for Teixeira. Moylan is a bit of a side-armer. 2-2 count to Christian Guzman. Another pitch with great movement for Moylan. Swinging strikeout. Lastings Milledge up.

Jon Miller foreshadowing: “Any National player whose got the idea of hitting the heroic game-ending home run, will be exploited by Moylan.”

Milledge off the fists grounds out to Chipper. Miller: “Moylan served him a jam sandwich.” Ryan Zimmerman up.

Two out, bottom of the ninth, tie game. 1-0 low.

Miller, more foreshadowing: “Last year, despite only 91 RBI for Zimmerman, 18 were game-winning.”

Pitch, down the middle, Belted deep left-center. Kid in the first row has a souvenir. Ryan Zimmerman walk-off.

Great, now I’m last in pitching.

Good game, great opening for the Nationals. That was the first baserunner for the Nationals since the first inning – 24 straight were retired.

Standings after Game One:

  1. Goodfellas 68.5
  2. Atomic Roadrunners 63.5
  3. Get Off Kong! 63
  4. Uncle Lester 61.5
  5. Shoeless Jews 55
  6. Cover Zero 51.5
  7. Stanimals 49
  8. Misogynistic Padres 48
  9. X-Men 46.5
  10. The Pi Train 43.5

That’s it, everyone. Thanks for coming. Good night.

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