for this game

Kawakami wins major league debut

Apr 12, 2009 - 3:40 AM ATLANTA (AP) -- Kenshin Kawakami overcame some early jitters to put together an impressive major league debut Saturday night.

Kawakami pitched six effective innings and Kelly Johnson drove in three runs, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Kawakami allowed three runs and four hits, walked four and struck out eight. The 33-year-old righthander is the first Japanese-born player in franchise history.

"I thought for his first appearance in the United States, he was outstanding, a great addition to the team," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.

Johnson went 3-for-4 one night after he had the game-winning hit in the 10th inning of a 6-5 win over the Nationals. Chipper Jones and Yunel Escobar had run-scoring singles for Atlanta.

"I'm seeing the ball pretty good, but I think it's Kenshin's night - his first win in America," Johnson said. "Since Day 1 in spring training I've loved him because he just mixes it up. He goes in and out, changes speeds and throws strikes."

Kawakami joined the Braves in January, agreeing to a three-year deal as a free agent. The 2004 Central League MVP won 112 games in 11 seasons in Japan.

Kawakami kept the Nationals off balance with a fastball in the low 90s, a slider in the mid-80s and a changeup at 67-68 mph. He started a little shaky, walking two with two outs in the first and giving up Nick Johnson's RBI single. Ryan Zimmerman made it 3-0 with a drive into the right-field stands in the third.

"I wasn't nervous, I was excited," Kawakami said through an interpreter. "A little too excited."

Kawakami didn't allow a hit after Zimmerman's homer. He threw 89 pitches, 54 for strikes.

"KK did good," Jones said. "He started a little wild, but effectively wild."

Mike Gonzalez worked the ninth for his first save in his second attempt.

Zimmerman had a two-run homer for the Nationals, who dropped to 0-5. John Lannan (0-2) gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings.

Washington has lost nine straight dating to last season.

"We're just getting beat, it's not for a lack of trying," manager Manny Acta said. "We've got to show up ready to win. We can't feel sorry for ourselves.

"There's no reason to show panic. I guarantee we'll not go 0-for-April."

Johnson led off the third with his second homer to cut the Nationals' lead to 3-1. He also had a two-run double in the Braves' three-run fourth.

Rookie Jordan Schafer went 3-for-4 and scored two runs for Atlanta.






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    Nationals 3, Braves 5  FinalApr 12 3:22 AM
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    Nationals 3, Braves 5  FinalApr 12 2:42 AM


  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 1 x 5 11 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - JOHN LANNAN, MIKE HINCKLEY (7TH), JULIAN TAVAREZ (7TH), JOEL
    HANRAHAN (8TH) AND JESUS FLORES
    ATL - KENSHIN KAWAKAMI, PETER MOYLAN (7TH), RAFAEL
    SORIANO (8TH)

    Apr 11 9:43 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY YUNEL ESCOBAR SCORED JORDAN SCHAFER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, Y ESCOBAR ON FIRST, K JOHNSON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    ATLANTA 5 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: C JONES (.375, 1-FOR-4, RBI)

    Nationals 3, Braves 5  Bot 8, 0 OutsApr 11 9:35 PM
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    Nationals 3, Braves 5  Bot 8, 0 OutsApr 11 9:35 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Nationals 3, Braves 4  Bot 7, 0 OutsApr 11 9:04 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CHIPPER JONES SCORED KELLY JOHNSON.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, C JONES ON FIRST, Y ESCOBAR ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    ATLANTA 4 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: B MCCANN (.353, 0-FOR-2)

    Nationals 3, Braves 4  Bot 4, 0 OutsApr 11 8:28 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY KELLY JOHNSON SCORED CASEY KOTCHMAN AND JORDAN
    SCHAFER.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, K JOHNSON ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    ATLANTA 3 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: Y ESCOBAR (.389, 0-FOR-0, 2 BB)

    Nationals 3, Braves 3  Bot 4, 0 OutsApr 11 8:26 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY KELLY JOHNSON (2) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 0
    OUT IN THE 3RD OFF JOHN LANNAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3, ATLANTA 1
    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: Y ESCOBAR (.389, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Nationals 3, Braves 1  Bot 3, 0 OutsApr 11 7:56 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY RYAN ZIMMERMAN (1) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF KENSHIN KAWAKAMI SCORED CRISTIAN GUZMAN.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A DUNN (.308, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Nationals 3, Braves 0  Top 3, 0 OutsApr 11 7:50 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 1 1 1 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: WAS - JOHN LANNAN
    ATL - KENSHIN KAWAKAMI

    DUE UP FOR ATLANTA: K JOHNSON (.278, 1 HR, 3 RBI)
    Y ESCOBAR (.389, 1 HR, 3 RBI)
    C JONES (.417, 1 HR, 1 RBI)

    Nationals 1, Braves 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsApr 11 7:20 PM