- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 6, 2005

Washington Nationals ace Livan Hernandez blew up again.

For the second time in two weeks, Hernandez publicly displayed his displeasure. When manager Frank Robinson pulled his ace with two out in the fifth inning, Hernandez disgustedly tossed his glove into the stands over the dugout as he walked off the field at RFK Stadium in what ultimately ended as a 6-5 victory for the San Diego Padres.

With Padres outfielder Brian Giles at the plate and Dave Roberts and Damian Jackson on first and second, Robinson pulled his durable workhorse after 93 pitches. Hernandez was coming off a 145-pitch performance last Sunday in Miami.

Hernandez entered last night’s game having pitched the most innings (1651/3) of any pitcher in the National League. Maybe Robinson was looking down the road for the welfare of his ace. Whatever the reason, Hernandez didn’t like it.

Following a 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies on July 20 at RFK, Hernandez said he was “99.9 percent” sure that he was going to have season-ending knee surgery on his right knee. During his clubhouse tirade that night, Hernandez said nobody knows how his knee feels after he took his fourth loss of the season.

Hernandez was hit early and often in this one. By the fifth inning, the Padres had smacked 10 hits off the big right-hander inning and led 4-2.

San Diego scored lone runs in the first, third, fourth, and fifth innings. In the first, the Padres took a 1-0 lead when Mark Sweeney singled to center with two outs and scored Joe Randa.

An inning later, the National mounted their first of their three early-game rallies. Preston Wilson opened the second inning with a long drive to straightaway center field that bounced off the wall near the 410 mark. With two outs, light-hitting shortstop Cristian Guzman drew a walk, putting runners on first and second with Hernandez at the plate.

The 30-year-old Cuban is one of the better hitting pitchers in baseball. Hernandez helped himself again at the plate in the second inning. Hernandez blooped a single down the line in shallow right field that scored Wilson and Guzman. Guzman, who was running on the play, scored from first when Giles couldn’t cleanly field Hernandez’s hit and the Nationals claimed their first lead of the game, 2-1.

The Padres tied the game 2-2 in the third inning when Randa led off the inning with a double into the left-field corner. With two outs, Mark Sweeney drilled a double deep into the right field corner that easily scored Randa.

In the fourth, the Padres reclaimed the lead on Roberts solo home run into the Padres right-field bullpen. It was Roberts’ seventh home run of the season and the Padres led 3-2. San Diego extended its lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning when Giles led off the inning with a single to center field and scored on Robert Fick’s single to right.

But, the Padres lead would prove to be short-lived. The Nationals rallied for the second time in this game with a three-run fifth inning off Padres starter Woody Williams.

Williams exhibited a total loss of his control when he walked two batters and hit one. Williams walked Wilson with the bases loaded that scored Brad Wilkerson that made it 4-3. Backup catcher Gary Bennett, who started his third consecutive game in place of Brain Schneider, delivered a huge two-run single to right that scored Jose Guillen, who was hit in the left elbow by Williams, and Nick Johnson that gave the Nationals a 5-4 lead.

The Padres tied the game 5-5 in the eighth inning off Nationals reliever Gary Majewski when Jackson, the Padres backup shortstop, led off with a hard-hit grounder to third. Roberts put Jackson in scoring position with a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Eric Young brought Jackson in with a single to shallow right-center field.

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