WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the midst of his best start of the season,
Ramon Ortiz also flashed a little baserunning savvy.
Ortiz scored from second base on a wild pitch during a bizarre
sixth inning and was in control on the mound to help the Washington Nationals beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 6-2 Sunday.Ortiz reached second on a misplayed sacrifice attempt in the
sixth. With Ortiz on second and Marlon Anderson on third with two
outs, reliever Jon Switzer threw a wild pitch, which slowly bounded
away from catcher Dioner Navarro.Navarro got the ball and flipped it behind his back to try to
get Anderson, but the ball sailed over Switzer's head. Ortiz
alertly hurried around third and beat Navarro back to the plate for
the Nationals' final run."I like to play hard," Ortiz said. "It's the way I like to
play. When you do play hard, the window opens."Ortiz (6-6) also threw seven innings, allowing one run and four
hits. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter to earn his first
win since June 7."I think that was overall the smoothest outing -- number of
pitches thrown, number of innings pitched," manager Frank Robinson
said. "Today it was smooth sailing out there. He was in complete
control."The Devil Rays committed three of their four errors in the
sixth. Right fielder Russell Branyan dropped a Royce Clayton
flyball in the gap after cutting in front of center fielder Damon Hollins, giving the Devil Rays four errors for the first time since
April 19 against Boston."That was just a bad moment for us," manager Joe Madden said
of the sixth.Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run drive in the first for his 11th
homer for the Nationals. Jose Guillen, who entered the game with a
.205 average, hit two of Washington's five doubles, and Anderson
was 2-for-3.Jae Seo (0-1) allowed four runs, three earned, and seven hits
over five innings to lose his first start with the Devil Rays, who
acquired him in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
Seo's last start was June 2."I thought his velocity got better as his game went on,"
Maddon said. "We've just got to get him some steady work. And I
thought he got sharper as the game got deeper so I thought that was
a good sign."The Devil Rays won 11 of 18 games in interleague play, but
Sunday's finale with Washington was a sloppy ending. After
Zimmerman's home run scored Royce Clayton, Daryle Ward reached when
second baseman Jorge Cantu misplayed a grounder. Ward scored on
Guillen's double for a 3-0 lead.The Nationals added a run in the fourth when Brian Schneider
walked and scored on Jose Vidro's double.
Anderson made his second straight start in center field. He
jumped against the wall in right-center field to make a leaping
catch of a flyball by Russell Branyan in the sixth inning. ...
Ortiz hit three batters with pitches. He has a team-high 11 for the
season. ... LF Carl Crawford went 2-for-4 for Tampa Bay and
finished the series with eight hits in 13 at-bats. ... LF Alfonso
Soriano did not play for the first time this season. In his last
eight games, he is 2-for-33. ... Seo earned the loss in the
Nationals' 10-4 win over the Dodgers on May 28. ... Guillen left
the game in the seventh inning after his second double. He had
stayed in after feeling some tightness in his right hamstring after
his first-inning double. ... Navarro was acquired with Seo in last
week's trade with Los Angeles, which sent LHP Mark Hendrickson and
C Toby Hall to the Dodgers.