The first batter of the inning popped to foul ground, and he made the catch, then flashed a smirk to the Nationals’ dugout. For the final out of the inning, third baseman Alex Cora made a diving stop and a one-hop throw across the diamond. Nix made the scoop to end the inning.

“Of course the game is going to find you when you move to a new spot,” Nix said. “It’s always kind of funny how that happens. I can’t say I was too comfortable at first. It’s not real fun with Carlos Pena up, a hard-hitting lefty. It’s something new, a lot closer to the game. But it was fun.”

Sunday, at Manager Davey Johnson’s urging, Nix took groundballs before the game in case the Nationals would need him in an an emergency with Michael Morse out a handful of games with a deep bruise in his forearm. After Matt Stairs suffered a knee injury, Johnson sent Nix into the game. Nix acquitted himself well enough that he’ll start at first base Tuesday, Johnson said.

“Nixie looked like a Gold Glover over there,” Johnson said. “He scooped one out of the dirt and looked very comfortable over there. That’s a big plus for us when we’re banged up over there.”

Nix also went 2 for 4 with a triple and a bases-loaded walk that tied the score in the seventh inning. He said he does not think playing first is a good alternative because of his sore right Achilles’ heel, and that Morse needs to resume playing once he’s healthy. But the Nationals want to keep Nix’s bat in the lineup however necessary — he’s hitting .280/.319/.525 this season.