Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

Florida leads 1-0 (as of 4/2)

Game 1: Monday, April 2
Florida9Final
Washington2
Game 2: Tuesday, April 3
Florida9Final
Washington3
Game 3: Wednesday, April 4
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Washington7

Marlins 9

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Nationals 2

(0-1, 0-1 home)

1:05 PM ET, April 2, 2007

RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. 

123456789 R H E
FLA 120301200 9 13 0
WAS 000101000 2 7 0

W: D. Willis (1-0)

L: J. Patterson (0-1)

Cabrera's four RBI carry Marlins past Nats

A CLOSER LOOK
• Summary: The Marlins' Fredi Gonzalez won his first game as a manager as the Marlins routed the Nationals thanks to big games from Miguel Cabrera (four RBIs) and Hanley Ramirez (four hits).
Miguel Cabrera
Cabrera

• Hero: Cabrera homered into the upper deck of RFK Stadium and drove in four runs for Florida.

• Figure this: Ramirez, the NL Rookie of the Year in 2006, tied his career high with four hits -- two doubles and two singles. He also stole two bases.

• Quotable: "We're tied for second, with the rest of the league who lost today. It's just one game," Nationals manager Manny Acta on his big-league debut.

• Elias Says: Manny Acta and Gonzalez made their managerial debuts when the Nationals hosted the Marlins. Over the last 20 years, there were only three other games in which both managers debuted.

--ESPN.com news services

Marlins 9, Nationals 2

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An empty champagne bottle sat near Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez after a half-dozen people helped him guzzle it.

And why not?

There was plenty to toast Monday: Gonzalez's first game as a big league skipper, and a 9-2 victory over the Washington Nationals, thanks to Miguel Cabrera's four RBIs, Hanley Ramirez's four hits and four runs, and Dontrelle Willis' six solid innings.

"It was nice, it really is, but we've still got 161 more," said Gonzalez, 43, who was Atlanta's third-base coach the past four seasons. "It was fun. It was great. It was everything I expected it to be."

It's safe to say he enjoyed his debut as a manager in the majors far more than Washington's Manny Acta did.

"We're tied for second, with the rest of the league who lost today. It's just one game," said Acta, who coached third base for the Mets in 2005-06. "Somebody has to win, somebody has to lose. I lost today."

Not only is Acta 0-1, but his starter, John Patterson, didn't make it out of the fourth inning, and two position players -- a quarter of the starting lineup -- left with injuries before the end of the fifth: shortstop Cristian Guzman (left hamstring) and center fielder Nook Logan (left foot).

"That," Gonzalez said, "is freaky."

Acta's take: "It's not frustrating, it's just weird. We went the whole spring training and were pretty much healthy coming out of Florida, and then two guys go down."

Gonzalez (Cuba) and Acta (Dominican Republic) were the first pair of managers born outside the United States to make their major league debuts in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Yet while Gonzalez, who took over for NL Manager of the Year Joe Girardi, could enjoy most every moment -- with his teen son, Alex, joining him in the dugout -- Acta's first game since replacing Frank Robinson went about as poorly as possible.

There were the two injuries, plus Patterson (0-1) left after allowing six runs over 3 2/3 innings. It was his first start since July; his 2006 was cut short by arm surgery.

"I didn't have any life on my fastball," the right-hander said. "It was just dead. I fought it. I kept trying to get the ball to jump."

So Acta's day could be summed up by a five-minute span during the fourth inning. First, he jogged to the deepest part of the park to check on Logan. Shortly after making the long trek back to the dugout, Acta turned around to lift Patterson when he allowed Cabrera's two-run, upper-deck homer that made it 6-0.

Dan Uggla reached the upper deck, too -- a rarity at RFK Stadium, the cavernous former home to baseball's Senators and football's Redskins that the Nationals will leave for a new park after this season -- with a two-run homer off Micah Bowie in the seventh.

"It's just the first day, and we've got a long ways to go," Uggla said, "but it was definitely fun."

Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a two-run double plus two walks. Ramirez scored four runs, stole two bases and had two doubles and two singles to match his career high for hits in a game; he did it twice in 2006, when he edged Washington's Ryan Zimmerman for the NL Rookie of the Year award.

Ramirez "starts our fire," Uggla said. "You just got a little glimpse of what he can do."

There was more: Center fielder Alejandro De Aza singled and tripled in his major league debut. And pinch-hitter Aaron Boone drove in his 500th career run with a sac fly in the seventh.

Willis (1-0) allowed one earned run and seven hits, leaving after 100 pitches.

"He kept us guessing," Ryan Church said.

About the only bright spots for Washington were Dmitri Young (two doubles) and Zimmerman, who tripled, singled and made two neat defensive plays -- throwing out a batter from the seat of his pants after slipping while fielding a bunt, and stretching over a rail to reach into the photographers' camera well to make a catch.

"It's going to be kind of a roller coaster, I think, for us this year," Zimmerman said. "We're going to play real well at some points and sometimes we might not play so well. So I think it's important for us leaders and especially the coaching staff not to kind of get too high and too low and kind of keep us level. Manny does that real well."

Game notes


De Aza wore No. 7, the first Marlins position player with that number since Ivan Rodriguez in 2003. ... It was the first Opening Day game in Washington since 1971. The Senators left for Texas at the end of that season, and baseball didn't return to the city until the Montreal Expos moved in 2005. The Nationals began the past two seasons on the road.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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