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GOP's Diamond Blowout

The GOP scored eight unearned runs in the top of the first inning and went on to cruise to a 17-1 win over Democrats in the annual baseball game among members of Congress.

Republican pitcher Rep. Steve Largent of Oklahoma struck out eight batters Thursday night for his fourth win and the 25th GOP victory in the 38 years of partisan play.

"That first inning shows how important defense is," said Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo.

With bases loaded and two outs, Hulshof and Largent crossed home plate to start the scoring on an error by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Martin Olav Sabo, who says he was blinded by the setting sun at Prince George's Stadium.

The only home run of the night was a solo by Tennessee Republican Rep. Zach Wamp that netted $25,000 for prostate cancer research. Wamp also hit a double and drove in three runs for the GOP.

It was the third straight win for the Republicans.

The Democrats' star was New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who scored the team's only run, twice slid headfirst into base and stole a base. Pitcher Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., struck out only one Republican. His team lost to Largent's last year, 4-1.

Sponsored annually by Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, the charity game netted an estimated $100,000 for the Washington Literacy Council, the Metropolitan Police Boys and Girls Club and the Bowie Health Center Foundation.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig made an appearance - the first time in 10 years the sport's top official has come to the game.

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