Bernadina earns another start in center

Bernadina earns another start in center

MIAMI -- With Steve Lombardozzi playing second base, Roger Bernadina got his second straight start in the outfield for the Nationals on Monday.

Bernadina got the nod over Rick Ankiel, who has a better track record against Marlins righty Carlos Zambrano. Ankiel is 3-for-5 with a home run against the Miami starter, while Bernadina was 0-for-1 entering Monday's series finale.

"He's really done a great job this year," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Bernadina. "He hasn't been playing regularly, but his at-bats the last month have been quality at-bats. I like his stroke. He seems to be enjoying the role. He had a heck of a game yesterday. Bo [Porter] is my outfield guru, and we both like Ankiel. ... But we're sticking with the hot hand."

While Bernadina went 0-for-4 on Sunday, he is hitting .310 in limited at-bats since the start of June. He made up for his performance at the plate Sunday with his defense, despite some recent errant throws. He made a diving grab early on in straightaway center field, and later made a nice play on a line drive to shallow center.

Bernadina's biggest contribution, though, was in the third inning. With men on first and second, Marlins first baseman Carlos Lee singled to center field. Ricky Nolasco rounded third and was halfway to home before Miami third-base coach Joe Espada emphatically sent him back to the base because Bernadina attempted a throw home.

Bernadina's throw home sailed to the backstop, which would have allowed Nolasco to score easily. Instead, Jose Reyes had to retreat to second and Lee had to rush back to first to give the Marlins a bases-loaded situation with one out -- a jam the Nationals escaped unscathed en route to a 4-0 victory.

"He made a couple plays in the outfield and was aggressive and threw it over and got rid of it quick enough that the third-base coach held [Nolasco]," Johnson said. "To me, that's a great play."