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Washington at Chicago

Chi. Cubs
W: L. Hernandez (3-1) L: T. Gorzelanny (0-3)
S: M. Capps (9)
HR: WAS - None   CHC - None

Nationals 3, Cubs 1

CBSSports.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Livan Hernandez isn't quite ready to declare this a career rebirth, no matter how dominant he's looking in the early going.

He was at it again on a chilly Tuesday night, pitching six-hit ball into the eighth inning to lead the Washington Nationals over the Chicago Cubs 3-1.

At 35, Hernandez continues to excel after struggling last year.

"I've thrown four good games," he said. "Let's see what happens. It's early. I feel very good."

So do the Nationals, who at 11-10 matched their best start since 2005. Ian Desmond delivered a pair of RBI singles -- one during a two-run first and one in the eighth that made it 3-1 -- and Cristian Guzman added a run-scoring triple to back another dominant outing by Hernandez (3-1).

"Livo has kind of set the tone for us," manager Jim Riggleman said.

The way he struggled a year ago, who would have predicted that?

Hernandez did not allow an extra-base hit while outpitching Tom Gorzelanny (0-3) and continued to put aside last season's misery, when he was 9-12 with a 5.44 ERA for the Mets and Nationals. This year? He has allowed three runs in four starts, and he kept the Cubs off balance with a heavy sinker.

He left after Ryan Theriot led off the eighth with a single down the right-field line.

Tyler Clippard came in and walked Kosuke Fukudome on a 3-2 pitch before Derrek Lee popped out. Marlon Byrd then grounded to second on a 3-1 count, putting runners on second and third, and Aramis Ramirez bounced to first to end the inning.

Matt Capps allowed a two-out single to Geovany Soto in the ninth before striking out pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin for his major league leading ninth save in as many chances. That snapped the Cubs' four-game win streak.

Gorzelanny lasted seven innings in his longest start this season, allowing two runs and five hits. He settled down after a rough first but is still seeking his first win even though his ERA is just 2.45.

With the gametime temperature at 43, the Nationals quickly warmed up and took the lead.

They got triples from two of the first three batters, with Nyjer Morgan driving one to left-center leading off and scoring on a single by Desmond. Guzman then knocked a low slider over center fielder Byrd's head for another triple that made it 2-0.

"You learn how to fight your way out and that's what I had to do," Gorzelanny said. "I knew I could get out of it. To get out of there with two runs, I felt, was a good thing."

The Cubs cut it to 2-1 in the second on back-to-back singles by Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot that put runners on first and third before Soto's RBI forceout. But Chicago got little else against Hernandez, whose ERA is at 0.87.

"He just continues to trust his stuff," Riggleman said. "He gets his breaking ball down, throws his changeup and off-speed stuff anytime he wants."

The Nationals backed him with several highlight reel defensive plays on Tuesday, robbing Lee three times.

Third baseman Alberto Gonzalez dove to his left to snag Lee's liner in the first. In the third, it was Desmond taking away a hit when the shortstop made a diving stop on a grounder toward the middle and, from his stomach, flipped to Guzman at second to force Fukudome. Then, in the sixth, Josh Willingham reached up for a nice running catch on Lee's liner to left.

"They made some good plays, but you know, you've got to hit the ball better, find some holes," Lee said.


Nationals C Ivan Rodriguez was back in the lineup after being scratched Monday because of lower back tightness. ... Ryan Zimmerman was out of the lineup for the sixth straight game with right hamstring soreness and probably won't start until this weekend's series at Florida. ... New Bears running back Chester Taylor threw out the ceremonial first pitch and delivered an off-key rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning that might have made Harry Caray cringe.

Copyright 2017 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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Players of the Game

I. Desmond
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

G. Soto
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0

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Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF4210010 .291
Ian Desmond, SS4122000 .258
Cristian Guzman, 2B4011011 .286
    Tyler Clippard, P00000001.000
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
Adam Dunn, 1B4000022 .225
Josh Willingham, LF3000101 .303
    Willy Taveras, PR-LF0000000 .154
Ivan Rodriguez, C4010011 .400
Justin Maxwell, RF2000200 .182
Alberto Gonzalez, 3B3010002 .300
Livan Hernandez, P3000001 .091
    Adam Kennedy, 2B0000000 .212
3B - Nyjer Morgan (5, Gorzelanny), Cristian Guzman (2, Gorzelanny)
RBI - Ian Desmond 2 (10), Cristian Guzman (8)
SB - Nyjer Morgan (6, 2nd base off Grabow/Soto), Ian Desmond 2 (3, 2nd base off Gorzelanny/Soto, 2nd base off Grabow/Soto)
CS - Willy Taveras (2, 2nd base by Berg/Soto), Justin Maxwell (1, 2nd base by Gorzelanny/Soto)
Team LOB - 4
E - Cristian Guzman (2, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Livan Hernandez (W,3-1) 7611110 0.87
Tyler Clippard (H,4) 1000100 0.57
Matt Capps (S,9) 1100020 0.73
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 99-62, Tyler Clippard 19-9, Matt Capps 19-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 10-10, Tyler Clippard 2-1, Matt Capps 1-0
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 28, Tyler Clippard 4, Matt Capps 4
Chicago Cubs
Ryan Theriot, SS4010001 .330
Kosuke Fukudome, RF2010201 .333
Derrek Lee, 1B4000004 .203
Marlon Byrd, CF4000012 .338
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010002 .150
Alfonso Soriano, LF4110011 .292
Mike Fontenot, 2B4010000 .292
Geovany Soto, C4021000 .362
Tom Gorzelanny, P1000001 .000
   a- Xavier Nady, PH1000000 .200
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
    Justin Berg, P0000000 .000
   b- Tyler Colvin, PH1000011 .324
a-grounded out for Gorzelanny in the 7th
b-struck out for Berg in the 9th
SH - Tom Gorzelanny (1)
RBI - Geovany Soto (6)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Fontenot-Theriot-Lee, Soto-Fontenot
E - John Grabow (2, Throwing)
Chicago Cubs
Tom Gorzelanny (L,0-3) 7522230 2.45
John Grabow 1110010 7.04
Justin Berg 1000110 4.00
Pitches-Strikes - Tom Gorzelanny 97-57, John Grabow 27-17, Justin Berg 15-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tom Gorzelanny 5-11, John Grabow 3-0
Batters Faced - Tom Gorzelanny 26, John Grabow 5, Justin Berg 3
Game Information
Attendance - 37440
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 43
Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Greg Gibson