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Recap: Cardinals , Nationals
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Game: 1
Venue: Space Coast Stadium
Date: March 25, 2011 6:05 PM EDT

VIERA, Fla. (AP) - Tom Gorzelanny and Kyle Lohse both pitched well for six innings, and the Washington Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 on Friday night.

Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman played for the first time since March 14. After missing 10 games with a strained left groin, he went 0 for 3 and played six innings in the field.


``I thought he looked fine,' Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. ``The main thing is to just stay healthy. Get through it with no setbacks.'

Brian Bixler broke a 2-all tie with a sacrifice fly in the seventh that put the Nationals ahead for good.

Bixler's fly was to short right field, and Alex Cora beat Nick Stavinoha's throw home that was high on the third-base side.

``At first thought, I didn't think it was deep enough,' Bixler said. ``When I first hit it I couldn't see it because the sky was kind of hazy, so I was hoping he couldn't see it. But then I saw him under it, and I think Alex got a good read on it, and he did a good job. He helped me out a little bit.'

Gorzelanny allowed two runs and four hits for Washington, striking out five and walking one. He gave up a two-run homer to David Freese in the fourth after walking Matt Holliday.

``I was locating pretty well today,' Gorzelanny said. ``I was getting ahead of guys early and going after guys and trying to challenge them. I was able to fill up the zone with pretty much everything today.'

Lohse yielded two runs and six hits while striking out three and walking none.

Chad Gaudin (2-0) got the victory for Washington, pitching one shutout inning. Fernando Salas (0-1) took the loss, allowing one run on one hit with two walks.

``Salas came in and walked the first guy,' Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. ``This is the big leagues. Walking the leadoff man, you don't say it's OK. Otherwise you lose credibility with your players. So that was not good. I think composure was part of the problem. It looked like he was really excited out there, which is understandable. He's trying to make the ballclub.'

Nyjer Morgan drove in the first run for the Nationals with a single in the third inning. Roger Bernadina also singled in a run.

Albert Pujols had a single in three at_bats for St. Louis.

NOTES: Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche had an MRI exam and will sit out at least the next three games with left shoulder soreness. ... The Nationals optioned RHP Yunesky Maya to Triple-A Syracuse.

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