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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
WASHINGTON - John Patterson's red cap was soaked on a muggy, 87-degree night. His right hand was too wet with sweat to throw his curveball.
So he stuck mainly to his fastball and did exactly what he and the struggling Nationals desperately needed: He pitched a gem to earn a win.
Making do with what support a revamped lineup provided, Patterson allowed three hits and worked into the ninth inning Tuesday night, leading Washington past the Colorado Rockies 4-0, the East leader's fourth victory in 13 games.
The right-hander's previous five starts were all no-decisions, even though his ERA was 2.97 in that span.
"I didn't come into the day thinking about a win for me," Patterson said. "We needed a win as a team."
He delivered and in the process looked very much like what Nationals general manager Jim Bowden called him Monday: a No. 1 pitcher.
"Patterson set the tone," manager Frank Robinson said. "I knew he was on top of his game tonight when he started out throwing strikes."
Patterson began 21 of 29 batters with strikes and had stretches where he retired 10 straight and nine straight. He left to a standing ovation after giving up Aaron Miles' leadoff single in the ninth on his 108th pitch.
"He attacked the zone," said Miles, who stretched his hitting streak to a career-best 14 games. "He is tough to hit, you can say that much."
Mike Stanton gave up a single to his only batter, but Chad Cordero got three outs for his major league-high 33rd save.
Patterson got into trouble only in the fifth, when he issued both walks. The second was drawn by opposing starter Shawn Chacon and loaded the bases with two outs. But Patterson got Cory Sullivan swinging on a 91 mph fastball, one of his eight strikeouts.
"I kept us in it," said Chacon, the subject of trade rumors, who gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings. "It is one of those games where you have to throw a shutout to win."
A day after a 5-4 loss to the Rockies, who have the league's worst record, Robinson shook up his lineup, sitting slumping shortstop Cristian Guzman and hobbled third baseman Vinny Castilla. Only two position players batted in spots they had occupied this season.
The results were modest. The Nationals scored twice off Chacon in the second and twice off former teammate Zach Day in the eighth. Washington has scored more than four twice in its past 13 games.
GIANTS 5, BRAVES 4: Deivi Cruz scored from second base Jason Ellison's short single to left, sliding under the tag at home for host San Francisco. Pedro Feliz hit a three-run homer in the seventh to put the Giants up 4-3, but Adam LaRoche tied it with a homer off closer Tyler Walker in the ninth.
CUBS 7, REDS 3: Aramis Ramirez homered twice, his third straight game with a homer, and drove in five as visiting Chicago won its eighth in nine games. Derrek Lee had three hits, including a two-run double in the fifth off Luke Hudson.
ASTROS 9-6, PIRATES 3-4: Wandy Rodriguez took Ezequiel Astacio's roster spot minutes after Astacio beat Pittsburgh, then pitched even better than Astacio as Houston completed a sweep. Astacio held the Pirates to two runs in six innings for his first major-league victory in the opener.
BREWERS 5, CARDINALS 4: Bill Hall's two-run double in the eighth capped visiting Milwaukee's rally from a 4-0 deficit. Lyle Overbay homered and Brady Clark had three hits and an RBI for the Brewers, who beat St. Louis for the second time in eight meetings and ended the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.
PHILLIES 5, DODGERS 4 (10): Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in the 10th to lift host Philadelphia. Los Angeles went ahead 4-3 in the top half on Billy Wagner's bases-loaded walk to Jayson Werth. The Phillies' Chase Utley hit a two-out run-scoring single off starter Brad Penny in the fifth to tie the score at 3.
METS 3, PADRES 1 (11): Pinch-hitter Chris Woodward hit a two-run homer with one out in the 11th for host New York. Cliff Floyd homered off the scoreboard in right-center in the fifth, the Mets' first baserunner against Brian Lawrence, to tie it at 1.
MARLINS 6, D'BACKS 3: A.J. Burnett won for the first time in four starts and Miguel Cabrera homered twice, leading visiting Florida to its second win in nine games.
MARLINS 6, DIAMONDBACKS 3: A.J. Burnett won for the first time in four starts and Miguel Cabrera homered twice, leading Florida over the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-3 Tuesday night for only the Marlins' second win in nine games.
Carlos Delgado also homered for the Marlins (46-46), who on Monday dropped below .500 for the first time since they were 5-6 on April 16.
GIANTS 5, BRAVES 4: Deivi Cruz scored from second base on Jason Ellison's short single to left, sliding under the tag at home plate to end the San Francisco Giants' thrilling 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
Pedro Feliz hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning to put San Francisco up 4-3, but Adam LaRoche tied it with a solo homer off closer Tyler Walker (3-2) in the ninth.