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Hernandez’s strong start pushes Nats over .500
The next batter, Justin Maxwell, smacked his first home run of the season off a 3-1 offering from Wolf to center, driving in Rodriguez for a 3-0 Nationals lead and giving the Nats some breathing room early on.
Hernandez flied out to right, but Morgan got on base with a two-out walk. However, Guzman struck out swinging to end the inning, but not before the Nats got the three-run lead.
Armed with the advantage, Hernandez made quick work of the Brewers in the third, getting Weeks to fly out, Counsell to ground out and then finished with Braun popping out.
Wolf recovered to record a 1-2-3 inning for his half of the third, striking out Zimmerman, getting Dunn and Willingham to fly out.
Milwaukee got a bit of a threat going in the fourth, after Fielder grounded out, McGehee put a double in between Morgan and Maxwell in the gap in right. However, Hernandez erased the threat, getting Edmonds to fly out and Hart to grounding out to short. After Washington came up empty in their half of the fourth, the Brewers got a hit from Wolf, but couldn’t move him over, thanks to Weeks popping out to right, and Counsell ended the inning by grounding into a force play with Wolf out at second.
The Nats got some insurance in the fifth thanks to Guzman and Zimmerman, as Guzman reached first on a single, then stole his third base of the season with Zimmerman at the plate. The Nats’ All-Star then promptly drove Guzman in with a double down the left field line.
Gernandez again made quick work of the Brewers, striking out Fielder and inducing a ground and fly out to keep rolling.
The Nats then put the game out of reach with a three-run sixth by pouncing on Brewers reliever Todd Coffey.
Willingham welcomed Coffey to the game with a double to the scoreboard, and Desmond dropped a base hit in between three Brewers in the outfield to put runners on the corners with no out. Rodriguez then drove in both runners with a double to the scoreboard, then moved to third on a throwing error from the center fielder to push the score to 6-0 with no out.
Maxwell then added his third RBI of the afternoon by flying out to drive in Rodriguez before Coffey finally worked out of the inning.
Hernandez continued to make short work of the Brewers in the seventh, finishing the 1-2-3 frame on his 90th pitch of the afternoon thanks to a Kottaras grounder.
Zimmerman collected his second RBI in the bottom half of the frame off new reliver Chris Narveson, as after Guzman got a single and took second on a throwing error, the third baseman doubled to center to drive him in.
Milwaukee got a base runner on in the eighth thanks to a fielding error on Guzman, but Hernandez was able to prevent any damage.
Hernandez got some help from Zimmerman in his bid to finish the complete game, as the third baseman made a nice grab of a McGehee shot and threw him out for the second out of the ninth that Hernandez afterwards called an “unbeliveable play.” Hernandez earned his eighth career shutout and 48th career complete game thanks to his 112-pitch performance.
The win marks only the second time in the last three seasons the Nationals have been above .500, as the team started out the 2008 3-0 — before going on to lose nine straight to drop below the break-even point for the rest of the season. It is also the latest the Nationals have been above .500 since their first season in Washington. The team was 7-4 after 11 games on April 16, 2005, when they moved to 7-4 in their second game ever at RFK Stadium with a win over Arizona.
About the Author
Ted Starkey, a Web editor for the continuous news desk, has written for and edited high-traffic websites, including AOL News, AOL Sports, FanHouse.com, USAHockey.com and BuffaloBills.com. He also has covered the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympics, Stanley Cup playoffs, NFL, NHL, MLB and NCAA hockey during his career.
He is a graduate of American University, with a double major in ...
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