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Correction to This Article
The article on the Washington Nationals' Opening Night victory over the Atlanta Braves incorrectly said that Braves pinch runner Martin Prado scored from second base on a passed ball. Prado scored from third.
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The Face of the Franchise Becomes the Hero of the Night

The Washington Nationals open their new stadium in Southeast D.C. with Sunday's regular season opener against the Atlanta Braves.

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"I didn't know," Rauch said, "until after the game started."

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Cordero, it turned out, had tendinitis in his right shoulder. Rauch, in his stead, allowed a one-out double to Mark Teixeira. A groundball moved pinch runner Mart¿n Prado to third. Facing Brian McCann, Rauch needed one more out. He unleashed a fastball.

"It was supposed to be a strike," Rauch said, "and I threw it 58 feet." The passed ball charged to catcher Paul Lo Duca allowed Prado to score from second.

In the Nationals' dugout, there was some measure of calm. Veteran first baseman Dmitri Young watched Kearns, due up fourth in the inning, grab his bat.

"Put it down," Young said. "You won't need it."

"He's done it too many times," Bergmann added later.

Yet Moylan has a devastating side-arm delivery that is brutal against right-handed hitters. Zimmerman and Kearns struggled so much against him that they joked about it. "I felt like I had no chance against him in the past," Zimmerman said.

But on this night, he needed just one chance. Moylan came with one fastball that missed, a hair low. Zimmerman wanted that same pitch, and Moylan obliged. It came in at 93 mph. It left at perhaps that same speed.

"The biggest part of those at-bats is keeping your emotions in check," Zimmerman said. But he couldn't as he rounded first, thrusting his right arm into the air. New ballpark, new era -- same result from Ryan Zimmerman, the player given the task of carrying the Nationals forward, this year and beyond.


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