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04/08/09 1:20 PM ET

With new stance, Kearns finding stroke

Outfielder's more open approach providing immediate results

MIAMI -- It looks like Nationals right fielder Austin Kearns has his swing back. In the eighth inning of Tuesday's game, Kearns hit a mammoth home run off Marlins right-hander Leo Nunez. The ball landed in the left-field upper deck over the Paul Warfield sign.

Manager Manny Acta said the hit was a good sign for Kearns because he was able to handle an inside fastball. Last year, Kearns couldn't get around on inside pitches, but he changed his batting stance this spring and has been successful ever since.

Kearns no longer has a closed stance, as hitting coach Rick Eckstein suggested that he open his stance so he would no longer be vulnerable to inside pitches.

"His swing is different," Acta said. "He has worked very hard with Rick during the offseason and Spring Training when it comes to shortening up his swing. He is able to hit pitches inside. He wasn't able to do that last year. He has hit two balls hard down the line and he hit a home run yesterday on a very good fastball. That's something we haven't seen here since his arrival."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.