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News » Nationals beat Phillies to earn 1st win of 2009

Nationals beat Phillies to earn 1st win of 2009

Nationals beat Phillies to earn 1st win of 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) - Hitting has not been much of a problem for the Washington Nationals this season.

Pitching? That's been quite a struggle.

And winning? Well, the Nationals simply had not managed to do that at all - not even once - in 2009, until Thursday night.

That's when Shairon Martis threw 6 1-3 solid innings, Adam Dunn hit one of Washington's four homers, and the Nationals beat the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies 8-2 to avoid setting a club record for most consecutive losses to begin a season.

"Just to get in the win column," Josh Willingham said, "is big."

It certainly is when your team is the only club in the majors without a victory and is 0-7 for only the second time in franchise history, according to STATS LLC.

And, let's face it: 1-7 sounds a lot better than 0-8.

"We weren't nervous, by any means," Ryan Zimmerman said. "But it's a lot nicer to win than lose. We're six games under .500 - that's the way you look at it."

Martis (1-0) gave up two runs and five hits in by far the most effective performance by any member of Washington's young starting rotation so far. Mike Hinckley, Joe Beimel and Joel Hanrahan followed with 2 2-3 innings of perfect relief.

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins went 1-for-6 with two walks while Martis was in the game.

"If he can shut that offense down," Dunn said, "he can shut any offense down."

Dunn hit a three-run shot off Joe Blanton (0-1) in the first inning, and Willingham hit his first homer with the Nationals as a pinch-hitter in the seventh off Chad Durbin. Willingham hesitated as he began rounding the bases, thinking maybe his drive to left had been caught by Raul Ibanez.

"I filled up a lot of columns," said Willingham, who entered the night 0-for-11. "I've got a batting average now, a run scored, an RBI."

Elijah Dukes and Alberto Gonzalez connected against Jack Taschner during Washington's four-run eighth to put the game out of reach.

"The win means a lot. It gets the monkey off our back right now," Dukes said. "And just to feel more relaxed about yourself coming to the field - now we feel better as a team."

The Nationals entered Thursday averaging 4.9 runs, but their pitching has let them down night after night. Nationals starters were 0-5 with a 10.73 ERA before Thursday.

"I was more aggressive," said Martis, who started 19 of 26 batters with strikes. "I came with a goal to stop the losing streak."

Cardinals 7, Cubs 4

At Chicago, Chris Duncan atoned for some shoddy defense with a homer and three RBIs, and Yadier Molina drove in the go-ahead run to lead the Cardinals.

The Cardinals have won seven of their last eight and took the first of 16 games against their longtime rivals.

Milton Bradley, who'd been on his best behavior since signing a $30 million contract with the Cubs, argued a called third strike as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and was ejected by umpire Larry Vanover.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (2-0) then escaped the jam by getting Alfonso Soriano to fly out, leaving the score tied at 4.

Dodgers 7, Giants 2

At Los Angeles, Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff home run and the Dodgers won their fifth straight.

Eric Stults (2-0) allowed two runs and five hits, Casey Blake and pitch-hitter Doug Mientkiewicz each had two RBIs, and Matt Kemp hit a run-scoring triple, helping send San Francisco to its sixth straight loss.

It's the first time the Giants have lost their first six road games since moving west with the Dodgers after the 1957 season. The last time they dropped their first six on the road was in 1947 - the year Jackie Robinson made his big league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Three-time All-Star Barry Zito (0-2) allowed six runs over five-plus innings on four hits and four walks.

Padres 6, Mets 5

At New York, Chase Headley tied a career high with four hits and San Diego won the first regular-season series at Citi Field.

Jake Peavy settled down after allowing Carlos Delgado's long three-run homer in the first and San Diego held on for its sixth win in seven games. Former Mets reliever Heath Bell pitched a perfect ninth for his fifth save.

Ramon Castro added a two-run shot off former teammate Duaner Sanchez in the eighth but that was it for New York.

Peavy (2-1) allowed three runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked four.

Marlins 6, Braves 2

At Atlanta, Cody Ross hit a three-run homer and Florida finished off its first three-game sweep at Turner Field.

Ross finished with three hits and four RBIs after beginning the day with a .115 average, helping Florida (8-1) get off to its best start since opening the 1997 season with eight wins in the first nine games.

The Marlins outscored the Braves 21-7 in the series. Florida had never swept a series of more than two games in Atlanta, and the last time that happened was May 13-14, 1997.

Anibal Sanchez (1-0) gave up eight hits and two runs in six innings to give Kenshin Kawakami (1-1) his first loss. Kawakami allowed five hits and five runs, four earned, in six innings.

Astros 6, Pirates 3

At Pittsburgh, Lance Berkman made up for an earlier missed opportunity with a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning, and Houston overcame an early two-run deficit.

Hunter Pence added a solo home run as the Astros won the final two games of the three-game series. Before that, they'd lost five straight during a 1-6 start, their worst in 25 seasons.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 17, 2009

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