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Thru 4 1/2: Nats trail 2-1

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We’re halfway home in the first game between the Nats and the Padres at Petco Park, and while Livan Hernandez has settled down after a rocky first inning, he made an uncharacteristic mistake at the plate that cost the Nats a prime scoring chance.

Hernandez, who had already singled and scored a run in the third, came up in the fourth with the bases loaded and one out. He’s one of the better hitters among National League pitchers, and I could see letting him swing away in that situation. But the sacrifice bunt is a higher-percentage play, and that’s what the Nats did. Problem is, Hernandez dribbled a weak bunt right back to pitcher Tim Stauffer, who started a 1-2-3 double play that ended the inning.

He’s only given up one hit, though, since allowing two runs on three hits in the first, and the Nats trail 2-1 in the fifth.

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