Although the real MLB opener took place in Tokyo as the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics split the short two game MLB opening series in Japan last Tuesday and Wednesday, Baseball’s American Opening Day took place Sunday night in Washington DC with Nationals’ 3rd basemnan Ryan Zimmerman sealing the 3-2 decision over the Atlanta Braves with a two-out walkoff solo shot.
The Nationals were fast out of the blocks with two runs in the 1st inning on RBIs by 1st baseman Nick Johnson and rightfielder Austin Kearns off of Braves ace Tim Hudson who settled down after the 1st inning and pitched 7 fine innings giving up 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 3 and walking none. Hudson retired his last 19 straight batters.
The game settled into a classic, tight opener with the Braves notching a run in the 4th as 3rd baseman Chipper Jones reached Nationals’ newly acquired lefthanded starter Odalis Perez for a one-out solo shot to cut the lead to 2-1.
The score remained the same until the 9th inning as Hudson was solid through 7 and the Braves bullpen got through the 8th inning while 4 Nationals’ relievers held the lead until the 9th inning.
With Nationals’ reliever Jon Rauch pitching in the 9th trying to preserve the lead, 1st baseman Mark Teixeira stoked a one-out double. Martin Prado pinch-ran and went to 3rd base on a ground-out. He then scored to tie the game as a Rauch pitch eluded nationals catcher Paul Lo Duca for a passed ball.
Braves’ pitchers had retired 24 consecutive Nationals hitters after the two 1st inning runs off of Hudson before Zimmerman went ballpark on a Moylan 1-0 sinker. Rauch, who went 1 1/3 innings and was charged with a blown save on the passed ball, was credited with the win while Moylan took the loss.
For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Monday’s games, click here.
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