Livan Hernandez certainly looks at home pitching in a Nationals uniform again. And he’s pitching pretty much like we remember from his previous stint in D.C.: mostly effective, but victimized by the home run.
Livo cruised through the first two innings, striking out the first two Cubs he faced and retiring six of the night’s first seven batters. He looked like he’d get out of the third inning unscathed, too, but then Milton Bradley got a hold of a 2-1 fastball and put it into the right field bleachers for a two-run homer.
The Nats had a golden opportunity to jump on Rich Harden in the first, with Willie Harris singling, Cristian Guzman getting plunked and Ryan Zimmerman drawing a walk. But Adam Dunn struck out on a 3-2 slider, and the Nats had to settle for Josh Willingham’s sac fly. They’ve otherwise been held silent by Harden.
One other development of note: Elijah Dukes muffed a routine fly ball in the third for a two-base error. Though he tried to plead with first base ump Bill Welke that the ball only came out in the transfer from glove to hand, replays showed he never had control of it. Moments later, Dukes collided with Alberto Gonzalez to catch the third out, then had words for Welke as he trotted in to the dugout. Dunn had to physically push Dukes away and escort him to the dugout.
We may need to keep a close eye on those two the rest of the night.