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Posted at 01:50 PM ET, 03/31/2011

Opening day live blog

End game, 3:43: The Nationals went down meekly to end the game. LaRoche flied out to left and Morse and Ankiel both struck out against right-hander Craig Kimbrel, who earned the save. Nats lost, 2-0.

Mid ninth, 3:36: Sean Burnett pitched the ninth for Washington, allowing a leadoff single to Jones. But on McCann’s grounder back to the mound, Burnett threw to second where Desmond was covering for the force out. Desmond then completed the double play to first, and Burnett struck out Uggla swinging.

End eighth, 3:25: Reliever Todd Coffey worked a perfect top half for the Nationals, but they couldn’t take advantage at the plate, where Washington went down in order. Ian Desmond and Werth both grounded out to third before Zimmerman grounded to short. Werth nearly beat the the throw to first, but Freeman made a nice play to secure the ball off the dirt.

End seventh, 3:13: Espinosa doubled and moved to third when Rodriguez was thrown out at first. Jerry Hairston Jr. was in the on-deck circle to hit in the pitcher’s spot, but when the Braves brought in left-handed reliever Peter Moylan, Lance Nix wound up in the batter’s box, where he struck out to end the inning.

Mid seventh, 3:02: McCann singled but one batter later was thrown out at second by Zimmerman on Uggla’s dribbler. Uggla beat the throw at first to avoid the double play, but that ended the afternoon for Hernandez, who allowed two runs on four hits with no walks in 6 1/3. He retired 16 of the final 17 he faced. Doug Slaten replaced Hernandez and walked Heyward to put runners on first and second. Tyler Clippard entered in relief at that point and struck out Gonzalez on a change-up before getting Freddie Freeman to pop up to left

End sixth, 2:44: Zimmerman drew a two-out walk and advanced to second on LaRoche’s bloop single to left. Both were stranded, however, when shortstop Alex Gonzalez fielded Michael Morse’s hard-hit grounder and threw to second. In the top half, Hernandez continued to coast with another perfect inning, retiring 15 in a row since yielding a second-inning homer to Heyward. He got Martin Prado to fly out, with Werth making a nice catch, and Nate McLouth to ground to Espinosa, who made a backhand stop before throwing to first. Jones then grounded to Zimmerman.

End fifth, 2:29: Neither team got a run in a fairly routine inning. Espinosa had a chance to reach on on dribble down the third base line, but Jones charged hard to make the throw in first in time for the out. Ivan Rodriguez grounded out to second, and Hernandez struck out looking, including fouing a ball off his right arm.

End fourth, 2:15: Adam LaRoche gave the ball a ride to deep left, but it died at the track. Ankiel drew a two-out walk but got thrown out trying to steal second on a play that wasn’t close. Hernandez showed his best stuff, fanning Dan Uggla on 60 mph curve and getting Heyward to go down swinging on a 65 mph pitch. Espinosa made a diving stop on McCann’s sharp grounder and tossed to Hernandez covering first for the opening out. Nats trail, 2-0.

End third, 1:58: Hernandez had a perfect top of the inning, inducing a fly out to right, getting a strikeout looking and then a fly ball to left. The Nationals didn’t get anything at the plate either, with Zimmerman striking out looking and voicing his obvious displeasure to home plate umpire Tim Welke. Nats trail, 2-0.

End second, 1:44: Rick Ankiel drove a ball to deep right center, but the cold weather made it die at the warning track. Danny Espinosa singled but was left stranded at second. Nats trail, 2-0.

Top second, 1:33: Jason Heyward belted 2-1 pitch over the wall in right center to lead off to give Atlanta another. Braves lead, 2-0.

End first, 1:30: Werth singled to center and goes to third on Ryan Zimmerman’s single to right, but Nationals can’t bring either home. At least there’s a first glimpse of what Manager Jim Riggleman wants to do this season: go from first the third. Nationals trail, 1-0.

Mid first, 1:18: Livan Hernandez began with two straight outs, but Chipper Jones doubled to right, and Brian McCann delivered an RBI single to short center that RF Jayson Werth overran. Not that it would have prevented the first run of the game had he fielded it cleanly.

Pregame, 1:05: First pitch coming up momentarily. DC Sports Hall of Fame inductee James Brown still doing introductions on the field.

By  |  01:50 PM ET, 03/31/2011

 
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