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Red Sox Feel Right At Home

Red Sox 11, Nationals 3

Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury is safe at third with a two-run triple in the pivotal eighth inning as Ryan Zimmerman awaits the throw.
Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury is safe at third with a two-run triple in the pivotal eighth inning as Ryan Zimmerman awaits the throw. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
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Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maybe Half Street should be renamed Yawkey Way. Maybe Ben's Chili Bowl should be replaced with an Italian sausage vendor, or a place to grab a cup of chowda. If Nationals Park were not so void of history, it would have felt like Fenway Park last night. At times, it certainly sounded like it.

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In front of a crowd packed with Boston fans, the Red Sox made themselves at home in Washington, dispatching the Nationals, 11-3, to strike an emphatic tone at the beginning of this three-game series.

It was an unnatural night in Southeast Washington -- aided by the Red Sox faithful, Nationals Park hosted a record crowd of 41,517 -- but the Nationals' bullpen again blew up its team's chances and displayed for the out-of-town fans one of the main perpetrators in a season of misery.

"It was a typical example of what got us where we're at now," Nationals Manager Manny Acta said, adding, "It was tough."

The Nationals (20-48) needed three pitchers to escape the eighth inning. But the damage had been inflicted on the scoreboard by the time they emerged. The Red Sox battered Washington's relievers for six runs in the eighth, rendering a 4-3 game a foregone conclusion before the home team had a chance to bat in the bottom half of the inning.

After the game, Acta suggested the Nationals might need to shake up the bullpen to solve the issues that have bogged it down. Washington is in search of a reliable option among relievers Joel Hanrahan, Kip Wells and Jesús Colome.

"Somebody has to step up out of those three guys," Acta said.

Boston (43-27) banged a season-high 17 hits off of Washington's pitchers, thanks largely to the disastrous eighth inning. It ended up one of those statistic-skewing nights for several of the Red Sox:

-- Jason Bay: 4 for 6 with one home run and three RBI.

-- Jacoby Ellsbury: 4 for 4 with three RBI.

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