Indians 3

(18-10, 9-6 away)

Nationals 8

(9-19, 7-7 home)

    6:05 PM ET, March 28, 2006

    Space Coast Stadium, Melbourne, Florida 

    123456789 R H E
    CLE 011100000 3 - -
    WAS 40020020 - 8 - -

    Washington 8, Cleveland 3

    VIERA, Fla. (AP) -- C.C. Sabathia shrugged off the three long homers he gave up in the Cleveland Indians' 8-3 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night, pronouncing himself on track to start opening day.

    "My cutter was good today. I threw some good fastballs late. I missed my spots early and they kind of punished me," the left-hander said. "I'm definitely ready. I feel good."

    Sabathia (0-2, 8.35 ERA) reached 100 pitches and gave up six runs -- five earned -- and five hits in six innings. He also hit a double off starter Ramon Ortiz in the fifth, then took third on a flyout to right.

    Ortiz allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings, then said he was happier with this outing than his previous, when he threw six shutout innings against Baltimore.

    "Every time, all my pitches are better," Ortiz said. "Good fastball, good slider, good changeup and good two-seam. I'm ready for the season."

    Sabathia will start the major league season opener against the World Series champion Chicago White Sox on Sunday night.

    "I love it. It's an honor," he said. "Against the White Sox. Division rival."

    He allowed Jose Guillen's three-run homer to left and Ryan Zimmerman's solo shot to just to the left of the 404-foot sign in center in the first inning.

    Zimmerman added a two-run shot off Sabathia to right-center in the fourth, giving the rookie third baseman seven homers this spring, showing more power than he did during last season's September call-up.

    But he also made his seventh error, a throwing mistake in the sixth.

    Washington's Alfonso Soriano, still adjusting to his shift from second base to left field, allowed what appeared to be a catchable ball drop in near the foul line for a double in the fourth.

    Soriano drew some boos from the home fans when he stepped to the plate to bat in the fifth; he grounded into a double play.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press