(Photo by Ian Koski/Nats Daily News) 
"He was really good.  He's been good just about most times he's been out there." -- Jim Riggleman, on Nats starter Livan Hernandez

THE RESULT:  There wasn't much difference between Monday night's game and the most of the games on the six-game losing streak.  The Nats didn't get many hits.  The opposition got a bunch.  And Nyjer Morgan got picked off.  Again.

But the differences were stark.  Livan Hernandez gave up eight hits and a walk, but only allowed one to cross the plate.  And two of the Nats four hits were solo home runs.

As simple as that, the Washington Nationals broke a season-high six-game losing streak, defeating the hapless Kansas City Royals 2-1, before 13,592 at Nationals Park.

The win moves the Nats record to 32-29, 10 1/2 games behind division leading Atlanta.

Asked if the first win after a losing streak is a little sweeter, manager Jim Riggleman replied, "It feels real good. It's been a little grind here lately, it's been tough to win a ball game.  We've been having trouble breaking it open a little bit."

It was a bit strange night at the park, as many of the crowd didn't learn of the demotion of Opening Day starter John Lannan until they arrived at the stadium on South Capitol Street.

Hernandez (W, 6-4, 2.82) made another great start for Washington after getting beat around in his last start.  His biggest mistake -- walking No. 8 hitter Yuniesky Betancourt -- haunted him a bit, as the Royals shortstop scored later in the inning.  And as the Nats are going, any time a single run scores they have to be concerned.

But solo shots by Michael Morse (3), who came within three rows of clearing the stands in left center, and Cristian Guzman (1) off Kansas City starter Bruce Chen (L, 3-2, 3.96) were enough to carry the day.

Cristian Guzman's solo shot was the difference in 2-1 win. (Photo by Ian Koski/Nats Daily News)

Hernandez defines "crafty veteran", and he's really had his mojo working at Nats Park this season.  In seven home starts, he's now 4-1 with an ERA of 1.81 in 54 2/3 innings.

His battery mate, Pudge Rodriguez, had a good night with his arm as well.  Rodriugez threw out two would-be base stealers, and picked off a runner at second base during a tense seventh inning.

"Pudge had a great night," Riggleman said succinctly. "Wasn't an offensive night for Pudge, but he did a great job behind the plate."

Royals' Mike Aviles caught stealing by Pudge Rodriguez.  (Photo by Ian Koski/Nats Daily News)

Tyler Clippard continued his eighth inning domination with a one-hit, one strikeout performance.  And Matt Capps struck out the side -- looking -- in the ninth inning, though he also gave up two base hits and stranded the game-tying run at third base.

Matt Capps is happy.  (Photo by Ian Koski/Nats Daily News)

It's never easy with this team.

THE GOOD:  He shall be Livan.  I have to admit, I expected an ERA double what he has right now.

Michael Morse.  All he's done so far this season, given the chance, is hit.  He is batting .429 with a .500 on-base percentage and a .714 slugging percentage in 40 plate appearances -- and just eight starts -- since May 16.

Morse's home run swing. (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

"He takes advantage of his opportunities," Riggleman said. "I haven't been able to get him in there as much as I know a lot of people want him in there. And I'd like to have him in there. But I like [Roger] Bernadina, too."
"I kinda got a platoon going there with him and Bernadina, so it's pretty much when a left-hander is pitching.  We'll get him in there some other times, too.  But we're trying to get a long look at Bernadina against right-handers too."
THE BAD:  Nyjer Morgan.  The guy went 1-for-2 with a walk and successful sacrifice, so I shouldn't be too hard on him.  But he was picked off first in the first inning after a leadoff single.  It's the 11th time this season he's been caught stealing. 

Speed is supposed to be his weapon, but he's a liability on the bases, and he needs to be reigned in by the manager at this point.

Nyjer Morgan's league-leading 11th caught stealing of the season. (Photo by Ian Koski/Nats Daily News)

THE UGLY:  He hit some long fly balls tonight, but Adam Dunn had nothing to show for it.  0-for-4 with five runners stranded.

NEXT GAME:  The series with the Royals continues Tuesday at 7:05 at Nationals Park.  Luis Atilano (5-4, 4.77) takes on Anthony Lerew (0-0, 3.00).

Morgan tried to break up double play, to no avail.  (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)