Nieves Hits Ninth-Inning Blast to Lift Nationals

First big fly for backup catcher comes in huge situation
By Mike Buss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2008 12:08 AM CDT
Washington Nationals' Wil Nieves reacts after hitting a two-run home run to win the game against the Chicago Cubs in the ninth inning on Friday, April 25, 2008, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – Wil Nieves hit his first major league homer, a two-run shot in the ninth inning, to give the Washington Nationals a 5-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night. Nieves drove an 0-2 pitch from Chicago's Bob Howry (0-2) into the Washington bullpen in right field for the Nationals' second straight victory after dropping 16 of 19 games.

Jon Rauch (2-0), Washington's fifth pitcher of the evening, worked a perfect ninth. Nick Johnson hit a two-run homer off Ryan Dempster into the second deck in right field in the first inning. It was the first home run to reach the second deck of Nationals Park since it opened this season. Chicago, the NL Central leaders, had won six of seven.