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Notable Nationals Opening Day Moments

On Thursday afternoon, the Washington Nationals visited the Cincinnati Reds for their 20th Opening Day game since moving from Montreal in 2005. But it was a less-than-stellar performance from the Nationals as they fell to the Reds by the score of 8-2, making it one for D.C. fans to forget.

However, Washington has had some positive and more memorable moments to open the MLB season over the years, especially in the 2010s, so here are some Opening Day games that really stand out for the Nationals.

Nationals at Phillies, April 4th, 2005

The Washington Nationals’ first regular season game came against the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on this day. Brad Wilkerson, the last player to don a Montreal Expos jersey, had the honor of being the first batter for the Nats, and responded with the first hit in the new team’s history. Outfielder Terrmel Sledge hit Washington’s first home run.

However, Kenny Lofton hit a three-run homer and Jon Lieber pitched 5 2/3 effective innings, as the Phillies won 8-4.

Braves at Nationals, March 30th, 2008

The Nationals opened the 2008 season by hosting the Atlanta Braves in a nationally-televised game at their new facility Nationals Park. President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Washington’s manager Manny Acta, and Mr. National himself Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-out, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Atlanta 3-2.

Marlins at Nationals, April 1st, 2013

Coming off a remarkable 2012 season where they finished with the best record in baseball and reached the postseason for the first time, the Nationals began the 2013 season at home against the Miami Marlins, as Bryce Harper hit two home runs to lift Washington to a 2-0 victory.

Nationals at Mets, March 31st, 2014

Washington opened the 2014 season against the New York Mets at Citi Field, winning by the score of 9-7 in 10 innings. The score was tied at 5-5 heading into extras, but in the top of the 10th, Ian Desmond hit a sacrifice fly to send home Jayson Werth, and Anthony Rendon hit a three-run homer.

The Mets did attempt to rally in the bottom of the 10th when David Wright hit a two-run home run, but Washington hung on for the victory. Nationals reliever Aaron Barrett made his major league debut and was credited with the win, as he stuck out two batters in the ninth inning.

Nationals at Braves, April 4th, 2016

The Nats opened 2016 on the road against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, with Max Scherzer as the team’s Opening Day starter for the second year in a row. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy hit two home runs off of Atlanta starting pitcher Julio Teheran, but with the score tied at 2-2 heading into the eighth inning, Washington’s bullpen gave up a go-ahead run from the Braves.

However, Michael A. Taylor hit a sacrifice fly that sent home Jayson Werth to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the ninth. In the 10th inning, Murphy hit an RBI double to drive in Ryan Zimmerman, while Jonathan Papelbon retired all three Braves batters to record the save and lift the Nationals to a 4-3 win.

Nationals at Reds, March 30th, 2018

Washington’s season opener in Cincinnati was played a day later than originally planned, due to rain. Max Scherzer got the Opening Day start once again and struck out eight of the first 11 Reds batters he faced, including seven in a row. The bullpen’s trio of Brandon Kintzler, Ryan Madson, and Sean Doolittle pitched the last three innings and preserved a 2-0 shutout victory.

Harry Lichtman
Harry Lichtmanhttps://mlbreport.com/
Washington Nationals Beat Reporter | Frostburg State University Class of 2018 | Resident of Potomac, MD


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