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“It was a couple of days since I threw on a mound,” said Hernandez, who was released by the Mets on Sunday. “I thought it was going to be a little tough. But I feel pretty good. I threw a lot of pitches today.”

Hernandez’s teammates supplied him with a couple of runs - on a sacrifice fly by Josh Willingham in the first and an RBI single by Guzman in the fifth - but they squandered an early opportunity to pounce on Chicago starter Rich Harden, scoring only once in the first inning despite putting the evening’s first three batters on base.

It was a stark contrast to Tuesday night’s ballgame, in which Washington pounded three home runs en route to a 15-6 victory. There was no such offensive eruption Wednesday, at least not for a Nationals club that surely hoped Hernandez’s return would produce a more satisfying outcome.