The bad weather held off, even if the temperatures were less than ideal. They received solid pitching from the starter and bullpen alike and played a crisp game in front of an appreciative crowd against a National League East Division rival.
All positive signs for the Nationals as the 2011 season began with Opening Day on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately, it wasn't accompanied by a victory. Atlanta starter Derek Lowe pitched a strong game and his bullpen did the rest as two early runs off Washington's Livan Hernandez held up in a 2-0 shutout win at Nationals Park.
An announced crowd of 39,055 braved misty, overcast conditions and temperatures that started the day at 41 degrees and only fell as the game progressed. Braves catcher Brian McCann delivered an RBI single in the first inning and Jayson Heyward lined a solo home run to right field off Hernandez in the second inning. That was all Lowe needed - though the Nats ran his pitch count high enough to knock him from the game after 5 2/3 innings.
Washington played well in the field with two fine defensive plays by new right fielder Jayson Werth and three good ones in the sixth inning from third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and second baseman Danny Espinosa.
"I think in our division there's going to be a lot of games like that this year," Zimmerman said. "We played well defensively, [Hernandez] pitched well like he always does and I think their guy just a little bit better."
Braves take advantage early as Nats fall 2-0 on Opening Day
Washington Examiner | Apr 1