PHILADELPHIA (AP)—A few players drank beers. Others quietly grooved to hip-hop music. Some simply showered and dressed.
The Washington Nationals have their first win. They’re still working on how to celebrate.
Brad Wilkerson hit for the cycle for the second time in his career and Jose Guillen hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning, leading the Nationals to a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night. It was Washington’s second game since moving during the offseason after 36 years as the Montreal Expos.
“It’s a special day to get the first victory,” Wilkerson said.
Vinny Castilla was 4-for-5 with two doubles and one RBI for Washington, which hadn’t celebrated a victory by a major league team since the expansion Senators left for Texas following the 1971 season. The Nationals play their home opener at RFK Stadium on April 14 against Arizona.
“It’s nice to win your first game,” Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Wilkerson was 4-for-4 with a walk and two RBIs, completing his cycle with a ground-rule double in the eighth against Aaron Fultz. Wilkerson homered off Brett Myers in the third, singled off Myers in the fifth and tripled against Rheal Cormier in the seventh. Wilkerson’s first cycle was against Pittsburgh on June 24, 2003.
He said he probably would’ve stopped at second had his double not bounced over the fence.
“I tweaked my ankle going to third on the triple, so I wasn’t thinking about going for three,” Wilkerson said.
Jose Vidro led off with a single and Guillen lined an 0-1 pitch into the right-center field seats to give the Nationals a 4-3 lead. Wilkerson capped the four-run inning with an RBI double.
Joey Eischen pitched a perfect seventh to earn the win for the Nationals, who lost their opener 8-4 to the Phillies on Monday.
“When Pat hit the homer, I liked our chances,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We just didn’t hold them.”
Day held the Phillies to just two hits before Kenny Lofton singled with one out in the sixth. Lofton moved to second on a groundout and scored on Jim Thome’s RBI single to right to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Burrell followed with a long drive deep into the left-field seats. A notoriously slow starter, Burrell has five hits and four RBIs in the first two games.
Wilkerson gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the third with a long homer into the seats in the second deck.
“I put in some extra work in the cage and I felt like I got some good swings,” Wilkerson said.
Myers gave up two runs—one earned—and five hits, and struck out seven in 6 2-3 innings. It was an encouraging outing for the right-hander, who struggled last season after winning 14 games in his first full season in 2003. Myers was 11-11 with a 5.52 ERA last year.
“I had confidence in every pitch that I threw and where I threw it,” Myers said. “It just didn’t work out for us.”
Day allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings in his first start since he broke his right middle finger last Aug. 1.
Worrell, the Phillies’ set-up man for closer Billy Wagner, retired just one hitter, allowing four runs and four hits.
: Wilkerson’s cycle was the seventh in franchise history. Vladimir Guerrero had the last on Sept. 14, 2003, against the Mets. Wilkerson is the 26th player to have more than one cycle. … Eagles Pro Bowl linebacker Jeremiah Trotter got a standing ovation when he was introduced during the eighth inning, inciting chants of “E-A-G-L-E-S” from the crowd of 23,435 at Citizens Bank Park. The attendance was almost 21,000 fewer than opening day. … Wilkerson has 12 career HRs against the Phillies in 217 at-bats.