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Johnson's walk-off homer lifts struggling Nats over D-Rays

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nick Johnson was more excited about a rare win
for the Washington Nationals then his first game-ending home run.

Johnson's home run to right-center field with two outs in the
10th inning gave the Nationals a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay
Devil Rays.

"We won the game, that's the main thing," Johnson said when
asked what he was thinking about as he trotted around the bases.
"I was excited."

Johnson hit a 2-1 fastball from Brian Meadows (2-2) for his
first home run since May 28, then was mobbed at home plate by his
excited teammates. The win snapped a four-game losing streak for
the Nationals.

Gary Majewski pitched two scoreless innings of relief for
Washington, and Chad Cordero (3-3) pitched a perfect 10th inning
for the win, the Nationals' second in 11 games.

"It's nice to get a win, but I'm not relieved. One win doesn't
cure what ails us -- we had chances to win this game before the 10th
inning," manager Frank Robinson said. "But it's good to get a
win."

Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and Aubrey Huff had three hits
apiece for the Devil Rays. Tampa Bay stranded 12 runners on base
and was 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.

"We had chances early and didn't take advantage of it," Tampa
Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "You always have a tendency to look
at the end of the game to be the reason why you've lost, but it's
not necessarily true."

Jose Guillen's upper-deck home run to left-center field off
Tampa Bay starter James Shields gave the Nationals a brief lead in
the sixth inning, but Huff tied the game when he hit a home run to
deep right field off Washington starter Livan Hernandez.

Hernandez battled a sore right knee but managed to stay out of
big trouble. He worked his way out of most of his jams during his
seven innings and 131 pitches, allowing only three runs despite
giving up 10 hits and four walks.

He settled down after a 35-pitch first inning, when he allowed
two runs and four hits, including Crawford's one-out triple,
Baldelli's RBI single and Jorge Cantu's sacrifice fly.

Tampa Bay starter James Shields had to work his way out of some
trouble, allowing seven hits and a season-high four walks in six
innings. The Nationals scored two runs in the first as Jose Vidro --
batting leadoff for the first time in nearly four years -- led off
the game with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on a single by
Royce Clayton. Vidro eventually scored on Johnson's sacrifice fly,
and Clayton scored on a single by Ryan Zimmerman to tie the game at
2.

Robinson indicated that he will likely stick with Vidro at
leadoff for the time being.

"It was nice to get the leadoff hitter on, get somebody on base
with nobody out," Robinson said. "It seems like most of the time
we get things going, it's two outs or one out."

Shields stayed out of trouble after that until the sixth, when
he allowed his first career home run to Guillen.

The Nationals threatened in the eighth when Johnson led off with
a double, but he was stranded at third.

The Devil Rays had first and second with none out in the ninth,
but a double play and a flyout ended that threat.

Game notes
C Robert Fick left the game after two innings because of
mild gastrointestinal distress. ... Before the game, the Nationals
placed RHP Shawn Hill on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation
in his right elbow and activated RHP Pedro Astacio. He will start
Monday against Toronto. ... Vidro's last appearance as leadoff
hitter was Aug. 16, 2002, for Montreal against San Diego, when he
had two doubles in an 11-6 Expos win. ... Marlon Anderson made his
first career start in center field. ... Huff has at least two hits
in each of his last five games. He finished 3-for-5 and improved to
.483 (29-for-60) in interleague play. ... Zimmerman has a team-high
51 RBI, first among rookies.