GAME 145 REVIEW: Livo Halts Losing Streak, Shuts Out Braves 6-0

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | , , , | 0 comments »

THE RESULT:  Livan Hernandez continued his renaissance season, pitching eight shutout innings and hitting a home run, leading the Washington Nationals to a 6-0 victory over the playoff-hopeful Atlanta Braves, before 26,954 at Turner Field.

Hernandez (10-11, 3.66) was masterful as he has been so often this season, but perhaps he saved his best for this Atlanta team that finds itself in a battle with Philadelphia for the N.L. East crown.  Livo went eight innings, allowing just five hits and two walks, striking out six.  He dominated a Braves lineup that had N.L. All-Stars in each of the four batting slots.

Offensively, Hernandez had himself a career night, going 2-for-4 with a solo home run and RBI double off losing pitcher Jair Jurrjens (7-6, 4.64).

Livo had struggled his last few starts, prompting concern that he might be wearing down at the end of a long season.  Since the All-Star break, Hernandez' ERA had been 4.86until last night. Batters were hitting him at a .293/.344/.406 clip in his last 18 starts.  But everything came together for the venerable righty, and he joined an elite list of pitchers that have made 30 starts for 13 consecutive seasons.

"He was just so good today," manager Jim Riggleman said in the post-game. "He reminds us over and over that it's not about the radar gun and stuff. It's a great lesson for everyone on the staff to watch how he works."

Adam Dunn chipped in two hits, including a mammoth two-run home run (35) estimated to travel more than 460 feet.  Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond also had two-hit nights.  Desmond hit his 10th homer of the season to straight-away center field, breaking a 2-for-24 slide that had lowered his batting average under .280.

Sean Burnett struck out the side in his inning of relief.

THE GOOD:  Livo.  In his last four starts, Livo pitched to a 9.70 ERA, but he was very sharp last night.  Kick in the homer and double and you've got your man of the match.

THE BAD:  Michael Morse was hitless in four trips and left five men on base.

THE UGLY:  We'll leave ugly empty.  Don't want to lose the mojo of breaking a six-game losing streak

THE STATS:  5 Ks, 3 BBs, 1-for-8 with RISP, 8 LOB, 1 GIDP.

NEXT GAME:  Today at 12:10 pm.  John Lannan (7-7, 4.69) faces Mike Minor (3-0, 5.63).