The Washington Times - July 20, 2009, 08:28PM

With a pair of depleted lineups squaring off at Nationals Park, there wasn’t much reason to feel strongly about the Nationals or Mets winning easily tonight. The only point of difference was on the mound, where J.D. Martin was making his major-league debut for the Nats against their former ace, Livan Hernandez. That’s been enough for the Mets to get a comfortable lead so far.

Martin lasted just four innings, giving up five runs with a fastball that hovered in the high 80s and didn’t sink like the right-hander wanted it to. The Mets started hitting him immediately — Angel Pagan led off the game with an RBI single — and collected seven hits and five runs off him.

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As for Hernandez? He’d faced his former team four times in 2008 and 2009 before tonight — with three different teams — and given up a combined eight runs in 29 innings. He’s been almost as good again tonight, shutting out Washington for the first three innings before the Nats scored two on him in the fourth. Hernandez’s pitch count is only at 68 through five innings, so he’ll probably be able to get into the seventh and hand the game to the Mets’ bullpen.