Atlanta at Washington

W: L. Hernandez (4-1) L: K. Kawakami (0-5)
S: M. Capps (11)
HR: ATL - J. Heyward (8)   WAS - J. Willingham (4), I. Desmond (2), A. Dunn (5)

Nationals 6, Braves 3 wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Livan Hernandez needed 41 pitches to get through the first inning. Ryan Zimmerman went 0 for 4. The right fielder and shortstop committed ugly errors.

But these are the 2010 Washington Nationals, who are actually in the neighborhood of first place in the NL East. Hernandez persevered to keep his ERA under 1.00. Every starting position player except Zimmerman got a hit. The right fielder made up for his error with a diving catch that saved a run, and the shortstop atoned for his miscue by hitting a home run.

Hernandez allowed two runs -- one earned -- while throwing a season-high 123 pitches over a season-low 5 1/3 innings Tuesday night as the Nationals moved back to two games above .500 (14-12) with a 6-3 win over the Atlanta Braves.

"It's goes back to finding ways to win," said Josh Willingham, who hit one of three solo homers for the Nationals. "Last year, it seemed like sometimes we found ways to lose."

Hernandez (4-1), the 35-year-old right-hander with the rubber arm, walked five and watched his ERA scoot from 0.87 all the way to 0.99 because of a solo home run by rookie Jason Heyward in the fourth. Not bad considering that the first inning seemed to take half the night.

"That inning defines Livan Hernandez, basically," said Ian Desmond, who had the error-and-homer night for Washington. "He was in trouble, he stayed calm, he kept on making his pitches and worked his way out of it. That's what he does every time."

Adam Dunn added a solo homer as the Nationals snapped Atlanta's three-game winning streak and handed the Braves their eighth straight road loss, the franchise's longest road skid since 1996. Heyward remains hot, but the rest of the lineup could only marvel at Hernandez.

"He threw 150 pitches and he didn't even break a sweat," Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones said. "I'll say this about Livan, the repertoire might not blow your mind, but that guy knows how to pitch. He changes speeds on every single pitch that he has."

Braves starter Kenshin Kawakami (0-5), seeking his first win since Aug. 31, allowed three runs and seven hits over five innings. He was bothered by a blister on his right foot, but he said that wasn't the problem.

"It's the way I'm pitching," Kawakami said through an interpreter, "and I'm not pitching right now, getting into a good rhythm -- that's pathetic right now."

Heyward remains the Braves' standout star in the young season. He hit his eighth homer on the day he was chosen the NL's rookie of the month, then did something that really shows he's becoming hot stuff: He drew his first career intentional walk in the fifth.

Atlanta's other run off Hernandez came in the first, when Roger Bernadina dropped a sinking liner in right field for an error that helped lead to Troy Glaus' sacrifice fly. Two innings later, Bernadina made a diving two-out catch of a ball in the gap with a runner on second.

Tyler Clippard lowered his ERA to 0.46 with 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the Nationals before the Braves got a run in the ninth off Miguel Batista.

Matt Capps, entering with one out and a runner on first, then ended the game by getting Glaus to hit into a double play. It was Capps' majors-leading 11th save in 11 tries, dropping his ERA to 0.63.

"This team," Dunn said, "is definitely on the up."


Hernandez had lasted at least seven innings in each of his four previous starts this season. ... Desmond's throwing error in the fifth ended his streak of 18 games without a miscue. ... The Nationals promoted No. 1 overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg to Triple-A Syracuse. He went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts with Double-A Harrisburg. ... Washington LHP John Lannan will skip his next start to rest his throwing arm, which has some swelling that has affected his sinker and change-up. ... The Braves placed SS Yunel Escobar on the 15-day DL and purchased the contract of INF Brandon Hicks from Triple-A Gwinnett. Escobar has a strain on the inside of his left thigh. ... Atlanta manager Bobby Cox spent the morning on Capitol Hill, where he received framed copies of statements placed into the Congressional Record by a pair of senators honoring his career. ... The huge Nationals Park scoreboard -- the team's pride and joy -- went blank in the bottom of the sixth. It was off and on the rest of the evening, so the public address announcer called out balls and strikes for the fans in attendance who don't actually watch the game. ... Dunn, whose homer was only his fifth of the season, on his slow start: "I've been feeling good all year and haven't done jack," he said, "so I'm hoping to come in one day and feel terrible."

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 1

J. Heyward
AB 2
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Atlanta Braves
Nate McLouth, CF4110120 .176
Martin Prado, 2B5000003 .337
Chipper Jones, 3B4120112 .222
Brian McCann, C4021112 .257
Troy Glaus, 1B4001004 .226
Jason Heyward, RF2121200 .289
Melky Cabrera, LF4000017 .202
Omar Infante, SS4000000 .304
Kenshin Kawakami, P2010000 .143
   a- Brooks Conrad, PH0000100 .200
    Eric O'Flaherty, P0000000 .000
    Jonny Venters, P0000000 .000
   b- Eric Hinske, PH1000000 .286
    Jesse Chavez, P0000000 .000
a-walked for Kawakami in the 6th
b-flied out for Venters in the 8th
2B - Nate McLouth (3, Hernandez), Chipper Jones (5, Hernandez)
HR - Jason Heyward (8, Hernandez)
SF - Troy Glaus (1)
RBI - Brian McCann (9), Troy Glaus (14), Jason Heyward (24)
SB - Brooks Conrad (1, 2nd base off Burnett/Rodriguez)
Team LOB - 11
DP - McCann-Prado
Atlanta Braves
Kenshin Kawakami (L,0-5) 5733012 5.47
Eric O'Flaherty 1111001 1.69
Jonny Venters 1111100 1.86
Jesse Chavez 1211120 5.11
Pitches-Strikes - Kenshin Kawakami 79-46, Eric O'Flaherty 14-9, Jonny Venters 13-6, Jesse Chavez 30-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kenshin Kawakami 8-5, Eric O'Flaherty 3-0, Jonny Venters 2-1, Jesse Chavez 1-0
Batters Faced - Kenshin Kawakami 21, Eric O'Flaherty 4, Jonny Venters 5, Jesse Chavez 6
Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF4010002 .273
Cristian Guzman, 2B4021001 .281
    Adam Kennedy, 2B-1B0000000 .214
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000013 .345
Adam Dunn, 1B3111100 .236
    Willy Taveras, PR0100000 .143
    Miguel Batista, P0000000 .000
    Willie Harris, RF0000000 .175
Josh Willingham, LF3111000 .265
    Tyler Clippard, P00000001.000
   a- Alberto Gonzalez, PH-2B0000000 .290
Ivan Rodriguez, C4120000 .406
Roger Bernadina, RF-LF4021000 .200
Ian Desmond, SS4122012 .260
Livan Hernandez, P1000000 .083
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
    Justin Maxwell, RF1100112 .167
    Matt Capps, P0000000 .000
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Clippard in the 8th
HR - Adam Dunn (5, O'Flaherty), Josh Willingham (4, Kawakami), Ian Desmond (2, Kawakami)
SH - Alberto Gonzalez (1), Livan Hernandez (2)
RBI - Cristian Guzman (9), Adam Dunn (11), Josh Willingham (14), Roger Bernadina (1), Ian Desmond 2 (13)
2-OUT RBI - Cristian Guzman (2)
CS - Cristian Guzman (1, 2nd base by Kawakami/McCann)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Zimmerman-Gonzalez-Kennedy
E - Roger Bernadina (1, Dropped line drive), Ian Desmond (4, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Livan Hernandez (W,4-1) 5.1521511 0.99
Sean Burnett (H,4) 1100020 2.84
Tyler Clippard (H,7) 1.2100020 0.46
Miguel Batista 0.1111100 6.11
Matt Capps (S,11) 0.2000000 0.63
IBB - Heyward by Livan Hernandez
WP - Miguel Batista (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 123-71, Sean Burnett 14-9, Tyler Clippard 23-16, Miguel Batista 19-9, Matt Capps 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 10-6, Sean Burnett 1-0, Matt Capps 1-0
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 27, Sean Burnett 4, Tyler Clippard 6, Miguel Batista 3, Matt Capps 1
Game Information
Attendance - 17098
Game Time - 3:06
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Bill Miller, Third Base - Chad Fairchild