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Soriano, Hernandez still giving their all for Nationals

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- Alfonso Soriano collected four extra-base hits to raise his average to .467 since the All-Star break, then repeated a phrase he's been using a lot lately: "I want to stay here."

Livan Hernandez threw six solid innings, his fastball reaching the high 80s, then uttered that exact same four-word phrase over and over.

If, as the rumor mill would have it, Soriano and Hernandez are on their way out of town, they're still helping Washington right now, and the pair led the Nationals to a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.

"I don't want to get traded," said Hernandez (7-8), who earned his first win in nearly a month. "This is my team."

With other clubs' scouts in town ahead of the July 31 trading deadline, Soriano hit three doubles and a triple, drove in one run and scored two.

"That's my first choice: I want to stay here," Soriano said. "But like I said ... I have no control."

Hernandez gave up seven hits and three runs for his fourth quality start in his last five outings.

"You know when you feel good. Today was one of those days," said Hernandez, hampered by knee and back problems earlier this season.

The Nationals got key contributions from up and down the roster in earning their first two-game winning streak since taking four in a row against Tampa Bay and Florida from July 1-4.

Rookie Ryan Zimmerman delivered the go-ahead hit, a two-run double in the fifth off reliever Scott Williamson (2-3) to put Washington up 4-3. Pinch-hitter Alex Escobar added a two-run homer off Will Ohman in the sixth, rounding the bases with a hitch in his step after hurting his right hamstring Friday. And Austin Kearns hit his first homer for Washington since arriving from Cincinnati on July 13.

Hernandez earned the first win for a Nationals starter since July 3: The 13-game drought was the franchise's longest since the Expos went 14 games without a win from a starter in August 2000.

With the game-time temperature 92 degrees, Hernandez threw 106 pitches, and would like to have two back: the breaking balls that Aramis Ramirez turned into solo shots in the first and fifth innings, giving the third baseman two consecutive two-homer games.

"You hang the ball," Hernandez said, "he's going to get you."

Ramirez has five homers in his last three games and 21 this season, the fourth year in a row he's topped 20.

"As a team, we didn't get it done," Ramirez said. "Everybody has to do their part. You can see that the last couple of days -- we hit, but we still lose."

After allowing two runs in the first, Hernandez retired eight of nine batters. But in the fifth, with the score 2-2, Ramirez drove a 77 mph pitch over the wall to put Chicago ahead.

Hernandez and three relievers then shut out Chicago the rest of the way.

"Livan, he made some adjustments after the first inning, and he settled down," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "Our offense today was basically Aramis. It was a tough day."

For the second game in a row, a Cubs pitcher left injured. On Friday, Scott Eyre departed with a tight hamstring, and Washington turned a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 victory, capped by a two-run hit from Escobar, who was injured running to first.

This time, Cubs starter Sean Marshall allowed two runs on six hits through four innings, but exited with a strained left side muscle after one pitch in the fifth, and Baker said he might have to go on the disabled list.

Williamson got two outs before Soriano doubled. After Felipe Lopez walked, Zimmerman's double put Washington ahead.

That was a relief to Zimmerman, who hit into two odd double plays: a 1-4-2 in the first and a 9-2 in the third, with Soriano out at the plate both times. Nationals baserunners were thrown out in each of the first four innings.

"Just because you run on a play that you may not run on, that doesn't mean you're being aggressive," Washington manager Frank Robinson said. "That means you're being stupid."

Notes

  • Actor Tom Hanks was at the stadium and chatted with Robinson before the game.
  • For Ramirez, Friday and Saturday represent the first time he's had consecutive multihomer games; he has three this season and 13 in his career.
  • Soriano has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games, batting .417 (25-for-60).
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Alfonso Soriano is tagged out at home -- twice -- but he does produce four extra-base hits.  (AP)
Alfonso Soriano is tagged out at home -- twice -- but he does produce four extra-base hits. (AP)

Players of the Game
Washington

A. Soriano
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
Chicago

A. Ramirez
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 2
 
Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF5010001 .277
Neifi Perez, 2B4000001 .253
    Roberto Novoa, P0000000 .250
   a- Derrek Lee, PH1000001 .270
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4232001 .266
John Mabry, 1B2100101 .214
   b- Angel Pagan, PH-RF1000000 .250
Jacque Jones, RF4020000 .295
    Matt Murton, LF0000000 .278
Phil Nevin, LF-1B4021020 .230
Ronny Cedeno, SS3000112 .254
Henry Blanco, C3010011 .240
    Will Ohman, P00000001.000
    Todd Walker, 2B1000000 .283
Sean Marshall, P2000022 .156
    Scott Williamson, P0000000 .000
    Michael Barrett, C2010000 .339
Totals3631032610 
a-flied out for Novoa in the 9th
b-flied out for Mabry in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jacque Jones (22, Hernandez), Henry Blanco (7, Hernandez), Michael Barrett (16, Bowie)
HR - Aramis Ramirez 2 (21, Hernandez, Hernandez)
RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (61), Phil Nevin (50)
2-OUT RBI - Aramis Ramirez 2 (19), Phil Nevin (29)
SB - Jacque Jones (6, 2nd base off Hernandez/Fick)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jacque Jones 1
DP - Perez-Blanco-Marshall, Jones-Blanco, Blanco-Ramirez
E - Neifi Perez (6, Misplayed grounder), Aramis Ramirez (6, Wild throw)
Chicago Cubs
Sean Marshall 4622021 4.98
Scott Williamson (L,2-3) 1333200 5.08
Will Ohman 1.1111021 4.17
Roberto Novoa 1.2311100 5.16
IBB - N. Johnson by Scott Williamson
HBP - Ward (by Roberto Novoa)
WP - Will Ohman (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Sean Marshall 64-41, Scott Williamson 33-18, Will Ohman 27-21, Roberto Novoa 34-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Sean Marshall 5-3, Scott Williamson 2-1, Will Ohman 1-1
Batters Faced - Sean Marshall 16, Scott Williamson 8, Will Ohman 5, Roberto Novoa 10
Washington Nationals
Alfonso Soriano, LF5241010 .287
Felipe Lopez, SS4121101 .261
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5012002 .288
Nick Johnson, 1B3020101 .302
Austin Kearns, RF3111103 .269
Luis Matos, CF3110000 .211
   a- Daryle Ward, PH0000000 .295
    Ryan Church, PR-CF0000000 .215
Marlon Anderson, 2B4000026 .264
Robert Fick, C4000011 .260
Livan Hernandez, P2110000 .282
   b- Alex Escobar, PH1112000 .429
    Micah Bowie, P0000000 .000
    Jon Rauch, P0000000 .000
   c- Melvin Dorta, PH1000000 .000
    Chad Cordero, P0000000 .000
Totals3571373414 
a-hit by pitch for Matos in the 7th
b-homered for Hernandez in the 6th
c-lined out for Rauch in the 8th
Batting
2B - Alfonso Soriano 3 (24, Marshall, Williamson, Novoa), Felipe Lopez (16, Novoa), Ryan Zimmerman (30, Williamson), Luis Matos (9, Williamson), Livan Hernandez (4, Marshall)
3B - Alfonso Soriano (2, Marshall)
HR - Austin Kearns (17, Marshall), Alex Escobar (3, Ohman)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (61), Felipe Lopez (32), Ryan Zimmerman 2 (63), Austin Kearns (51), Alex Escobar 2 (12)
2-OUT RBI - Felipe Lopez (8), Ryan Zimmerman 2 (23), Alex Escobar 2 (9)
SB - Nick Johnson (9, 2nd base off Novoa/Barrett)
CS - Nick Johnson (3, 3rd base by Marshall/Blanco), Marlon Anderson (4, 2nd base by Marshall/Blanco)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Luis Matos 1
Washington Nationals
Livan Hernandez (W,7-8) 6733252 5.80
Micah Bowie (H,1) 1.2100000 0.93
Jon Rauch (H,8) 0.1100010 3.30
Chad Cordero 1100000 3.52
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 106-65, Micah Bowie 24-17, Jon Rauch 11-8, Chad Cordero 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 5-7, Micah Bowie 2-3
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 26, Micah Bowie 6, Jon Rauch 2, Chad Cordero 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38021
Game Time - 3:18
Temperature - 92
Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Rick Reed