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Saunders found himself in a sticky spot right off the bat against Washington, facing first and third with one out. He worked out of it, striking out Michael Morse then getting Wilson Ramos on a lazy flyout with the bases loaded.

Saunders did it again in the third inning, this time by striking out Morse and getting Danny Espinosa on a nubber to the mound. He got into a nice groove after that, retiring the next 12 batters before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh with a 2-0 lead.

“I was tired of going out there and not contributing, keep the team in ball games and losing one-run games,” said Saunders, who’s lasted at least six innings in seven straight starts. “It was time for me to say, hey, turn this around.”

Hernandez was nearly as good.

Arizona finally got to him again in the seventh inning, though, when Nady followed Chris Young’s leadoff single with a run-scoring double to the corner in left.

Hernandez allowed two runs on four hits, but got one run or less support for the seventh time in 13 starts to remain winless in seven outings since April 28.

“Livan has been pitching his (backside) off and it is unfortunate the we couldn’t come through and support him as an offensive,” Nationals center fielder Rick Ankiel said. “But that’s the way baseball goes.”

Washington also was shut out in consecutive games by the Mets on May 18-19 in New York.