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Washington at Arizona

Scoreboard
Washington (47-59) «111000000380
Arizona (39-67)010000000150

Nationals 3, Diamondbacks 1

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- Three hours before the first pitch, Arizona interim manager Kirk Gibson gushed about Livan Hernandez's ability to navigate through a game, to make the best use of his unique mix of pitches.

Gibson and the Diamondbacks had watched it firsthand two years earlier, when they won the NL West with the right-hander. Seeing it from the other side wasn't quite as much fun.

Relying on his syrupy curveball and hitting his spots with every pitch, Hernandez baffled Arizona's hitters into the eighth inning to lift the Washington Nationals to a 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks on Monday night.

"He did a great job," Gibson said. "He walked one guy, moved the ball around, changed speeds and we never really got him into any trouble until the last inning."

Ivan Rodriguez became the fifth catcher to hit 300 homers with a solo shot off Rodrigo Lopez (5-10) in the second, and Adam Dunn hit another into the swimming pool in right-center the next inning. Hernandez (8-7) didn't need much more than that, keeping the Diamondbacks off balance with a curveball that barely cracked 60 mph at times.

Sean Burnett got the final five outs for his first save since closer Matt Capps was traded, giving the Nationals their third win in 10 road games.

Still buried at the bottom of the NL East, Washington is starting to show signs of life, backing up a 4-2 homestand against Philadelphia and Atlanta -- the top two teams in the division -- with a taught win over a good-hitting team in a high-scoring ballpark.

"We had a good homestand, relatively speaking, and tonight was a good way to start a road trip," Nationals manager Jim Riggelman said.

A barely-audible crowd of 16,793 -- 129 more than the smallest ever at Chase Field -- came out to watch two last-place teams, but still managed to affect the game. A small group of fans in left field caused a delay of about a minute in the first inning by draping a sign addressed to Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick over the wall to protest the new immigration law in Arizona.

Plate umpire Angel Hernandez halted the game when he saw the large sign that read: "Mr. Kendrick ... Stop the hate. Say no to SB1070." Nationals left fielder Josh Willingham tried to get the fans to take the sign down before a security guard came out and pulled it off the wall.

On the field, Hernandez baffled the Diamondbacks with his hard-breaking, sometimes-softserve array of pitches. He topped out in the mid-80s with his fastball and had Arizona's hitters out on their front foot with extensive use of his barely-pop-a-bubble curveball.

Hernandez gave up a run on Gerardo Parra's groundout in the second inning and retired 18 of the next 19 hitters before being lifted with two on and one out in the eighth. He allowed one run on five hits with five strikeouts.

"He was outstanding," Riggelman said. "When he's throwing like that, hitting his spots like that, keeping hitters off balance, it's one of those nights where he can go nine. This ballpark, the way the ball flies out of here and the power they have in that lineup, I just didn't want a good night ruined by one ball getting in the air."

Homers have hurt Lopez all season and walks were the problem his last start, so of course that's how the Nationals beat him. The first inning was the walks; Willingham followed two with a run-scoring single for the first run.

Rodriguez then led off the second inning with his second homer of the season -- and first since May -- to join Mike Piazza, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench and Yogi Berra in the all-catchers 300 club.

"As a catcher, it takes a lot to play the position and to be able to get it done is a nice feeling," Rodriguez said. "It took me a long time to hit a home run, but finally I got a good pitch and I was able to hit it out.

Another solo long ball came in the third inning, this one a really long one by Dunn that careened off the wall behind the pool and bounced back into the water, sending the swimmers scrambling.

Lopez didn't have any more walks or homers over the next four innings, but it didn't matter the way Hernandez was pitching. Lopez gave up three runs on seven hits in seven innings and has allowed an NL-worst 27 homers.

"I was leaving the ball up and they were taking advantage," he said.

Notes

Nationals rookie RHP Stephen Strasburg threw long toss for the second straight day without any problems. He's been on the DL since July 22 with shoulder stiffness. ... Washington has won seven of its past nine games against the Diamondbacks. ... Arizona's Justin Upton was 0 for 4 to end a 17-game hitting streak.

 
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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Players of the Game
Washington

I. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Washington

L. Hernandez
IP 7.1
H 5
ER 1
BB 1
K 5
 
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Nyjer Morgan, CF4010000 .263
Adam Kennedy, 2B-1B3100102 .259
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3000110 .293
Adam Dunn, 1B4111022 .276
    Alberto Gonzalez, 2B0000000 .300
Josh Willingham, LF4021000 .269
    Sean Burnett, P0000000 .000
Roger Bernadina, RF4000013 .270
Ivan Rodriguez, C4121000 .268
Ian Desmond, SS4020000 .260
Livan Hernandez, P2000001 .132
    Willie Harris, LF1000000 .188
Totals3338324  
Batting
2B - Josh Willingham (17, Demel), Ian Desmond (18, Lopez)
HR - Adam Dunn (26, Lopez), Ivan Rodriguez (2, Lopez)
SH - Livan Hernandez (9)
RBI - Adam Dunn (67), Josh Willingham (54), Ivan Rodriguez (30)
2-OUT RBI - Adam Dunn (14), Josh Willingham (20)
SB - Nyjer Morgan (29, 2nd base off Lopez/Montero)
PK - Nyjer Morgan (3, Lopez)
Team LOB - 6
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Livan Hernandez (W,8-7) 7.1511150 3.12
Sean Burnett (S,1) 1.2000020 2.82
Pitches-Strikes - Livan Hernandez 91-58, Sean Burnett 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Livan Hernandez 6-11, Sean Burnett 3-0
Batters Faced - Livan Hernandez 28, Sean Burnett 5
Arizona Diamondbacks
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Chris Young, CF3000101 .267
Kelly Johnson, 2B4010012 .279
Justin Upton, RF4000013 .279
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000021 .254
Miguel Montero, C4000000 .308
Mark Reynolds, 3B4110010 .220
Stephen Drew, SS3020000 .268
Gerardo Parra, LF3001010 .248
Rodrigo Lopez, P2000012 .064
    Sam Demel, P0000000 .000
   a- Tony Abreu, PH1010000 .237
    Juan Gutierrez, P0000000 .000
Totals3215117  
a-singled for Demel in the 8th
Batting
RBI - Gerardo Parra (19)
Team LOB - 5
Arizona Diamondbacks
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Rodrigo Lopez (L,5-10) 7733232 4.64
Sam Demel 1100010 4.43
Juan Gutierrez 1000000 6.69
Pitches-Strikes - Rodrigo Lopez 95-62, Sam Demel 9-7, Juan Gutierrez 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rodrigo Lopez 9-8, Sam Demel 1-1, Juan Gutierrez 2-1
Batters Faced - Rodrigo Lopez 29, Sam Demel 4, Juan Gutierrez 3
Game Information
Attendance - 16793
Game Time - 2:19
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Joe West