The Washington Times - April 24, 2011, 01:47AM

PITTSBURGH — There wasn’t much about Livan Hernandez’s 450th consecutive start that was like the 449 before it.

For starters, it was supposed to happen Friday night, but when that game was postponed due to rain the Nationals veteran right-hander turned his focus toward Saturday night. That too was delayed by rain, an hour and 11 minutes to be exact, and from there, the night was an aberration compared to almost all every other one in Hernandez’s career.


Hernandez said after the game that he was given 30 minutes notice to get out to the field and complete his warmup prior to the first pitch. He threw his regular 85 pitches in the bullpen but with the usual 10 minutes of long toss and 20 minutes in the bullpen, Hernandez found himself still warming when the top of the first inning got underway at 8:16 p.m.

Instead of coming to the mound to begin his outing in the bottom half of the inning from the dugout, like he usually does, Hernandez was forced to complete his warmup while Jeff Karstens set his teammates down 1-2-3 on nine pitches. 

He then allowed five runs in the first inning — something he’s done just one other time in his career — but still managed to go six innings.

While Hernandez prefaced his postgame statements by saying he wasn’t making excuses for the five runs he gave up to the Pirates in the first inning, he felt the time given was not adequate.

“They’ve got to do a better job in letting us know or put the game a little later because everybody’s doing something here and for the starting pitcher I came from the bullpen to the mound straight because they say half an hour and we’re not ready,” he said. “I think they’ve got to say something for more time. I think they (made) a little mistake.”

“I’m not making excuses,” he said. “I threw the pitches I’ve got to throw but I stayed in the bullpen. It’s not normal for any starting pitcher… They’ve got to let us know before 30 minutes it’s not enough time for the starting pitcher.”

Hernandez couldn’t remember when, if ever, he’d run in from the bullpen to the mound. Chances are the last time may have been in his major league debut in 1996 — the only relief appearance of his career.

As for the milestone start, a tribute to both Hernandez’s effectiveness and durability over the past 16 years, Hernandez acknowledged the significance and the Pirates did have the first pitch he threw taken out of play for him to commemorate the moment, but it was soured a little by the game’s outcome, a 7-2 loss.

“It’s better if I win the game,” he said. “I didn’t throw the ball good. I threw the ball bad today. but I’m really happy (about the mark), it’s something that’s very nice and 450th start in a row, it’s not easy for anybody so it happened today and I’m really happy with that.”