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Baseball Opening Day: DC Team Inaugurates New Stadium With Win

Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals have defeated the visiting Atlanta Braves, 3-2, to open their 2008 season with a win. As VOA's Jim Stevenson reports, the victory capped an exciting opening day at the brand new $611 million Nationals Park.

Baseball fans in Washington were thrilled late Sunday with the opening of the long-awaited Nationals Park. Almost 42,000 fans packed the sold-out venue for the inaugural game between the host Nationals and the Atlanta Braves.

And they were treated to a dramatic ending. With the score tied at 2-2 in the ninth inning, Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman smacked a home run to left center field. He talks about his game-winning hit.

"The first pitch was a little low," Zimmerman said. "I kinda guessed he would just come back because he did not want to walk me. (He threw) a fast ball up. And I put a good swing on it."

The game opened with a ceremonial first pitch thrown by President Bush. Manager Manny Acta caught the ball and says the visit by Mr. Bush made the day special.

"Sitting there in the clubhouse and seeing the President of the United States walk in. He talked to all of us. And he made everybody feel real good," Acta said.

A former Major League baseball team owner, Mr. Bush has showed interest in the construction of Nationals Park. He seemed at ease in the clubhouse, an oval dressing facility in the shape of the President's office at the White House.