Washington at Philadelphia

W: J. Lieber (1-0) L: L. Hernandez (0-1)
HR: WAS - T. Sledge (1)   PHI - K. Lofton (1)

Phillies rain on Nationals' opening day parade

SportsLine.com wire reports

PHILADELPHIA -- Washington's new team played like Montreal's old one.

Kenny Lofton hit a three-run homer and Jon Lieber pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-4 victory Monday in the first game played by the Washington Nationals.

Terrmel Sledge homered and drove in three runs for the Nationals, who moved during the offseason after 36 mostly losing years as the Montreal Expos. Washington, which hadn't had a major-league team since the expansion Senators left for Texas following the 1971 season, plays its home opener April 14 against Arizona.

"We just haven't played a game that means something before the home crowd," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "It's a nice situation. We feel good about it. To get the first one that means something under your belt on the 14th would be a nice accomplishment."

Lieber allowed three runs and 10 hits to win in his first start since losing Game 6 of the AL Championship Series for New York against Boston. Lofton, who also played for the Yankees last season, reached four times and scored twice, and Pat Burrell had three hits and two RBI, helping manager Charlie Manuel win his debut with Philadelphia.

Lieber and Lofton were the only significant offseason additions for the Phillies, who missed the playoffs for the 11th straight year and cost manager Larry Bowa his job after the team entered last season as the NL East favorite.

"The first game is extra special," Lieber said. "You want to make a good impression. Hopefully that happened."

After three years in limbo as the Expos, playing before sparse crowds at Olympic Stadium and traveling to "home" games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Nationals have a new home and uniforms. They came out wearing gray jerseys with "Washington" in block letters across the chest in red, blue and gold.

Brad Wilkerson led off the game with the Nationals' first hit -- a bloop single to right-center field. Sledge had the first RBI on a groundout to second in the second inning. Sledge hit a two-run homer off Lieber in the sixth, but grounded into a double play against Ryan Madson with the bases loaded in the seventh.

Cheers of "Let's go, Nats!" were heard among the sellout crowd of 44,080 at Citizens Bank Park when Washington scored in the second to take a 1-0 lead.

"It was good to hear that, but you don't get caught up in it," Robinson said. "You keep your mind on what's going on in the field and what you're trying to accomplish. But it's nice to hear the fans cheering behind you. It's something we haven't heard in three years."

The Phillies quickly came back against loser Livan Hernandez in the bottom half of the second.

After Mike Lieberthal's RBI groundout to first base tied the game at 1, Lieber put the Phillies ahead with a sacrifice fly that sent right fielder Jose Guillen scurrying to the warning track.

Burrell had an RBI double in the third and a sacrifice fly in the fifth, and Lofton lined a three-run shot into the right-field seats to make it 7-1.

"I just try to be myself and not do anything different," Lofton said. "You have to keep it simple."

Hernandez gave up seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"I'm going to be ready for next time," he said. "I'm not the kind of guy to put my head down."

Four Phillies relievers held the Nationals to one run and three hits over the last 3 1/3 innings.


  • The Phillies are 56-65-2 in season openers. They hadn't opened the season at home since 1996 and hadn't won a season opener at home since 1980.
  • Lieber hadn't driven in a run since June 26, 2001, when he was with the Chicago Cubs in a game against the Mets.
  • The three sacrifice flies by the Phillies tied a team record.
  • Each of the Nationals' starters, including Hernandez, had a hit.
  • Wilkerson struck out three times.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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New Phillie Kenny Lofton spoils the Nationals' party with a three-run home run. (AP)
New Phillie Kenny Lofton spoils the Nationals' party with a three-run home run. (AP)

Players of the Game

T. Sledge
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

K. Lofton
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Washington Nationals
Brad Wilkerson, CF5010034 .200
Cristian Guzman, SS5010012 .200
Jose Vidro, 2B5110003 .200
Jose Guillen, RF5010011 .200
Nick Johnson, 1B3120100 .667
   a- Wil Cordero, PH1000000 .000
Vinny Castilla, 3B3121101 .667
Terrmel Sledge, LF4113002 .250
Brian Schneider, C3020100 .667
Livan Hernandez, P2010001 .500
    T.J. Tucker, P0000000 .000
   b- J.J. Davis, PH10100001.000
    Joe Horgan, P0000000 .000
    Antonio Osuna, P0000000 .000
   c- Tony Blanco, PH1000011 .000
    Joey Eischen, P0000000 .000
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
a-grounded out for N. Johnson in the 9th
b-singled for Tucker in the 6th
c-struck out for Osuna in the 8th
2B - Brian Schneider (1, Lieber)
HR - Terrmel Sledge (1, Lieber)
RBI - Vinny Castilla (1), Terrmel Sledge 3 (3)
2-OUT RBI - Terrmel Sledge 2 (2)
Team LOB - 10
Outfield Assists - Terrmel Sledge 1
DP - N. Johnson
E - Brian Schneider (1, Wild throw)
Washington Nationals
Livan Hernandez (L,0-1) 4.2877241 13.50
T.J. Tucker 0.1100000 0.00
Joe Horgan 1200110 0.00
Antonio Osuna 1211200 9.00
Joey Eischen 0.1100100 0.00
Luis Ayala 0.2000000 0.00
IBB - Thome by Livan Hernandez
HBP - Thome (by Joey Eischen)
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 92-57, T.J. Tucker 3-2, Joe Horgan 19-11, Antonio Osuna 27-16, Joey Eischen 21-10, Luis Ayala 1-1
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 4-6, Joe Horgan 1-1, Joey Eischen 1-0
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 24, T.J. Tucker 1, Joe Horgan 6, Antonio Osuna 7, Joey Eischen 4, Luis Ayala 1
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS3120201 .667
Placido Polanco, 2B5120004 .400
Bobby Abreu, RF5110014 .200
Jim Thome, 1B3100125 .000
    Tomas Perez, 1B0000000 .000
Pat Burrell, LF32321001.000
Kenny Lofton, CF3223201 .667
David Bell, 3B5020015 .400
Mike Lieberthal, C4021000 .500
Jon Lieber, P1001010 .000
    Rheal Cormier, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
   a- Chase Utley, PH0001000 .000
    Tim Worrell, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .000
a-hit a sacrifice fly for Madson in the 7th
2B - Pat Burrell (1, Hernandez)
HR - Kenny Lofton (1, Hernandez)
SF - Pat Burrell (1), Jon Lieber (1), Chase Utley (1)
SH - Rheal Cormier (1)
RBI - Pat Burrell 2 (2), Kenny Lofton 3 (3), Mike Lieberthal (1), Jon Lieber (1), Chase Utley (1)
2-OUT RBI - Pat Burrell (1), Kenny Lofton 3 (3)
SB - Jimmy Rollins (1, 3rd base off Hernandez/Schneider)
Team LOB - 11
Outfield Assists - Pat Burrell 1
DP - Polanco-Rollins-Thome
E - Pat Burrell (1, )
Philadelphia Phillies
Jon Lieber (W,1-0) 5.21033121 4.76
Rheal Cormier (H,1) 0.2211120 13.50
Ryan Madson (H,1) 0.2000100 0.00
Tim Worrell 1100020 0.00
Billy Wagner 1000000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lieber 99-69, Rheal Cormier 21-11, Ryan Madson 14-7, Tim Worrell 15-10, Billy Wagner 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lieber 8-6, Ryan Madson 1-0, Tim Worrell 1-0, Billy Wagner 2-1
Batters Faced - Jon Lieber 27, Rheal Cormier 5, Ryan Madson 2, Tim Worrell 4, Billy Wagner 3
Game Information
Attendance - 44080
Game Time - 3:19
Temperature - 59
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Larry Poncino, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Paul Nauert