Church's ninth-inning homer lifts Nats over Marlins

MIAMI (AP) -- More than a week later than he expected, Ryan Church is in the middle of the Washington Nationals' offense.

Church hit a pair of two-run homers, including a tiebreaking
drive in a three-run ninth inning Sunday that led Washington over
the Florida Marlins 7-5.

Left off the 25-man roster when the season started, Church was
recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Thursday. He was 0-for-5 the
following day in his season debut, walked in his only plate
appearance Saturday, then keyed Washington from the No. 5 slot in
the batting order Sunday.

"I didn't let myself get down for not being here at the
beginning of the year," Church said. "You have to let the game
come to you and wait for your opportunities. This is definitely a
good start."

Florida took a 5-4 lead in the eighth against Gary Majewski
(1-0) when Miguel Olivo hit an RBI double and scored on a triple by
pinch-hitter Wes Helms, a ball that landed just in front of Church
in right and skidded past him.

Alfonso Soriano doubled off Matt Herges (0-1) leading off the
ninth, was sacrificed to third by Marlon Anderson and tied the game
when Nick Johnson grounded to shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who checked
Soriano at third and threw wildly to first for an error.

Ryan Zimmerman walked, Johnson was out trying to advance to
third on a pitch that initially got past Olivo, and Church homered
to right.

"He struck me out and made me look stupid the other night,"
Church said of Herges. "He threw me a curveball then, and I
figured he would come back with it again, and he did. I wasn't
sitting on it, but I was looking for it."

Herges wasn't able to seal it for the Marlins in the ninth.

"I was glad to be given the opportunity, but you have to come
through in that situation," Herges said. "No matter what happens,
you have to get out of the inning. I hung a curveball. These are
the ones you remember for a long time."

Chad Cordero pitched the bottom half for his second save.

With the score 3-all, both benches emptied in the seventh after
Anderson struck out against reliever Carlos Martinez, then pointed
toward the reliever with his bat and headed for the mound. Anderson
was restrained by Olivo, Florida's catcher, and while the benches
and bullpens emptied, there were no punches thrown and no

"He made some antics that I didn't like," Anderson said.
"There is a way to play this game as a professional, and I don't
think he did."

Washington starter Ramon Ortiz, winless in three starts, gave up
three runs and eight hits in five innings. Florida's Sergio Mitre
allowed three runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Zimmerman's sacrifice fly put Washington ahead in the first --
just the third time this season Washington scored the first run of
a game.

Olivo's first homer of the season tied the score in the fourth
and Florida took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when Miguel Cabrera hit a
run-scoring single and scored on a single by Mike Jacobs, sliding
under the tag of catcher Brian Schneider to beat Church's throw.

Church's sixth-inning homer to left tied it at 3.

"I really liked the first one he hit because it went the other
way" Washington manager Frank Robinson said. "The second one was
impressive because he hit an offspeed pitch. He had a good approach
today, and he had great results."

Game notes
Washington's Royce Clayton left after being hit on the left
arm by a Mitre pitch in the sixth. He is day to day. ... Alfredo
Amezaga stole his first base of the year in the third. ... Josh
Willingham (2-for-4) had his fifth multihit game of the season for
Florida. ... The Marlins are 3-8 -- their worst 11-game start was
1-10 in 1998, after the previous payroll purge.