Nationals 11, Braves 4
ATLANTA (AP)—The Montreal Expos lost 10 of their last 11 series against the Braves, splitting the other.
The Washington Nationals won their very first series against Atlanta.
Jose Guillen homered twice, becoming the first player in the major leagues with five this season, and the Washington Nationals beat the Braves 11-4 Wednesday to win the last two games in the three-game series.
“This team is going to surprise a lot of people,” Washington’s Jose Vidro said after the Nationals completed a 5-4 trip and headed homer for Thursday night’s RFK Stadium opener.
It will be the capital’s first regular-season game since the expansion Senators became the Texas Rangers after the 1971 season. President Bush, the Rangers’ former owner, is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
“It’s nice to have somebody who can carry us,” Robinson said. “He has instilled in this ballclub that he can get the big hit and drive in the run.”
Guillen is hitting .359 with five homers and eight RBIs.
“It’s kind of different for me this year,” he said. “If they want me to be the guy, it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to go up there and look for a good pitch to hit. I’m an aggressive hitter.”
It was the first series win for the Expos/Nationals over the Braves since Montreal swept a three-game series from March 31-April 2, 2003.
Tomo Ohka (1-1) won despite walking six in six innings. He gave up three runs and four hits, leaving with a 5-3 lead.
Thomson (1-1) allowed four runs, seven hits and four walks in six innings.
Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected by plate umpire Randy Marsh in the first inning, his first ejection of the season. Cox and Thomson were upset about Marsh calling a ball on a close 3-2 pitch to Nick Johnson for the second walk, which loaded the bases. Ryan Church followed with a two-run single for a 2-0 lead.
Cox was tossed when he continued to complain while standing on the dugout steps after the third out.
“I thought the pitch was a strike,” Cox said. “It cost us two runs at the start of the game.”
Cox left the dugout but said he continued to manage after he was tossed. Asked if that is allowed, Cox said “Nope. I just manage the game downstairs. It’s not a problem. It’s easy. Everybody does it.”
Chipper Jones’ third homer cut the margin in half in the bottom of the inning, and Atlanta went ahead 3-2 in the third on Johnny Estrada’s two-run double. Washington went ahead for good in the fifth when Jamey Carroll and Jose Vidro hit back-to-back triples and Guillen followed with a sacrifice fly.
Braves right fielder Raul Mondesi appeared to misjudge Vidro’s drive, pulling up as if he thought the ball would clear the fence for a home run. Mondesi also struck out with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth after Adam LaRoche was intentionally walked.
Guillen’s homer off Bernero in the seventh gave Washington a 5-3 lead, but LaRoche hit an RBI single in the seventh. Mondesi, who stranded six runners, then struck out, leaving his batting average at .133.
Chipper Jones needs one homer to tie Reggie Smith for fourth among switch-hitters with 314. … Former longtime Braves president Stan Kasten attended the game. Kasten may be part of a group that could attempt to purchase the Nationals.