The Washington Nationals snapped a two game losing streak and returned to winning ways behind the arm of Livan Hernandez, defeating the Atlanta Braves 6-3. Hernandez labored through a 41 pitch first inning and a solo home run to sensational rookie Jason Heyward, but pitched 5.1 solid innings to improve to 4-1. The solo shot by Heyward raised Livo's ERA to 0.90 in 5 starts.
Livo was joined by exceptional bullpen performances by repetitive sensational pitching from Tyler Clippard and Matt Capps. Clippard tosssed 1.2 shutout innings lowering his amazing ERA to 0.46. He allowed 1 hit and struck out 2 batters. Matt Capps tossed a shutout 9th inning, getting the final 2 outs and picking up his 11th save in 11 opportunities. Capps lowered his ERA to 0.63. The amazing bullpen performances by Clippard and Capps play a big role in the success the 2010 Washington nationals have received thus far.
Offensively, the Nationals were powered by home runs by Adam Dunn (5), Josh Willingham (4), and Ian Desmond (2). Christian Guzman, Roger Bernadina, and Desmond each had 2 hits. Bernadina also had an incredible diving catch that got Hernandez out of trouble.
The success thus far has come from three areas that have seen pretty substantial improvement: team ptiching, team defense, and speed.
Nats Status: 14-12, 3rd place, 1 GB
Next Up: Atlanta, tonight, 7:05 Luis Atilano (WAS) v Tommy Hanson (ATL)