The Cubs Have Their Revenge...
• In his last start as a Washington National before last night's game against the Chicago Cubs, on August 6, 2006, a then-31-year-old Livan Hernandez threw 120 pitches over 7.0 innings pitched in 3-2 loss on the road against the San Diego Padres in which he allowed just 2 ER on a two-out HR by Brian Giles in the bottom of the eighth inning of what was then a 2-2 ballgame. One hundred and twenty-eight starts later, and now 34, Livan Hernandez once again pitched under the curly-W, this time in Wrigley Field one night after the Nationals had lit the Cubs up for 15 runs, but it was the Chicago batters who took over tonight, putting together a 6-run eighth to break up a 2-2 tie in which Livan Hernandez had gone 6.0 innings, throwing 117 pitches and allowing 5 hits and 2 ER on a two-run HR by Milton Bradley...
• The Nationals' beleaguered bullpen showed it's fatigue tonight, and those September call-ups can't come soon enough. After Livan Hernandez it was Jason Bergmann, who entered a game that was tied at 2-2 after six and left one inning later having allowed 2 hits and the go-ahead run. Bergmann's followed by DC left-hander Ron Villone in the eighth, who gives up a leadoff single to the lefty he was brought on to face and is replaced by Jorge Sosa who throws 35 pitches and records just one out, surrendering 4 hits, 2 BB and 5 ER. Saul Rivera's forced to pitch again, recording two outs to end the eighth after having thrown 2.0 innings last night.
Cubs win, 9-4.
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• E: 113.
• Early Returns On The Return...
For The Completists, Full Game Report After The JUMP...
Nationals now 45-82.
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• E: 113.
One out in the third, one batter after Milton Bradley hits a two-out two-run HR off Livan Hernandez to break a 2-2 tie, the Cubs' slugger Derrek Lee flies to right and Elijah Dukes gets there...and drops it...Dukes drops it. The Nationals' right fielder and his manager argue that Dukes dropped it on the transfer from glove to hand, but with two outs that didn't make much sense even if true. OUTCOME: Aramis Ramirez flies to right in the next AB, Dukes catches it charging in and almost knocks Alberto Gonzalez down as the second baseman runs back into right calling for it, because Dukes wants to let the Ump know that he'd made the previous catch as he heads to the dugout.
• Early Returns On The Return...
"Right-hander Livan Hernandez, making his second go-round with the Nationals, did what he was supposed to do. He went deep into the game, pitching six innings and giving up two runs."
"On returning to Washington: 'I love the city. I loved playing there. Always I'm asking every year to bring me back over there. Inside it's very emotional. Everyone is my family.'"
"If the baseball Gods were sentimentalists, the Nationals would have won Wednesday night, and the storyline would have been simple: See Livo, swinging through the old saloon doors. See Livo, gutting out six innings, throwing 116 pitches, K'ing Derek Lee with absurd 65 mph curveballs. See Livo, winning his first game back with the Nats."
Washington Nationals At Chicago Cubs. Game 127 Of 162.
Cubs’ right-hander Rich Harden gives up a line drive single to right to Willie Harris in the game’s first at bat. Cristian Guzman gets hit in the leg, and there are two on with Ryan Zimmerman coming up. Zimmerman works the count full and fouls off a few before walking to load the bases. Adam Dunn’s at a full count too, but he K’s swinging with the bases juic...loaded. Josh Willingham brings Willie Harris home with a sac fly to center. 1-0 DC. Elijah Dukes hits a hard grounder to short that Ryan Theriot handles...2-2 curve to Ryan Theriot and Livan Hernandez has his first K of the game. 2-2 fastball up and out and it’s two K’s for Mr. National Himself. Derrek Lee flies to center and it’s 1-0 Nationals after the first.
Alberto Gonzalez pops out to second. Wil Nieves grounds to second and Livan K’s swinging as Harden settles in...Livan Hernandez gets Aramis Ramirez to ground back to the mound, and then walks Kosuke Fukudome in front of Alfonso Soriano. Soriano flies out to Harris in center. Jeff Baker takes strike three on a curve inside and doesn’t believe the Ump called it.
WIllie Harris grounds out to short. Cristian Guzman slaps the second out to first for D. Lee. Ryan Zimmerman hits a two-out single over second to bring Dunn up. Adam Dunn K’s looking at fastball high and outside...Koyie Hill splits the right-center gap with a leadoff single to start the Cubs’ third. Rich Harden bunts back to the mound and Livan Hernandez fields and throws to second to take out the lead runner. Ryan Theriot flies out to Elijah Dukes. Milton Bradley sends a high fly ball to right and...GONE! Two-run HR, 2-1 Chicago. Derrek Lee takes a two-out fastball to right into Dukes’ glove, but he drops it after the catch and it’s called an error. Aramis Ramirez flies to right and Dukes charges in to make the inning-ending grab, and show the ump how he'd dropped that fly on the transfer...
Josh Willingham sends a soft liner to short for the first out of the fourth. Elijah Dukes reaches out and lines to center for a single. Alberto Gonzalez grounds to Aramis Ramirez, Ramirez to Baker at second and D. Lee at first, double play...Kosuke Fukudome drives a double to right and off the ivy. Alfonso Soriano flies out to Josh WIlingham in left center. A 1-2 curve from Livan gets Jeff Baker swinging. Koyie Hill gets the intentionals, and Harden gets popped up, 2-1 Cubs after four.
Wil Nieves goes back up the middle with a leadoff single in the fifth. Livan Hernandez gets the sac bunt down, even with two strikes. Willie Harris can’t hold up on a sinking two-strike pitch from Harden. Two down. Cristian Guzman waves Wil Nieves over to second on a ball in the dirt that Koyie Hill misses. Guzman lines to center, Nieves scores to tie it at 2-2. Ryan Zimmerman gets fooled by a two-strike slider, and he K’s to end the Nationals’ half...Livan Hernandez gets weak fly to center from Ryan Theriot. Milton Bradley gets a two-strike fastball inside that breaks in for strike three. Big D. Lee gets the two-strike bender and K’s swinging way ahead of strike three.
Adam Dunn skies the first out of the sixth to Fukudome in center. Josh Willingham takes a one-out walk in front of Dukes. Dukes grounds to short, Theriot to Baker to D. Lee, double play...Aramis Ramirez singles up the middle to leadoff the Cubs’ sixth. Fukudome gets as far as the track with a fly ball to Josh Willingham. Alfonso Soriano takes an 0-2 curve to left for a single. Jeff Baker grounds to short, Guzman to Alberto Gonzalez to Dunn, double play, Livan’s through the sixth with a tie.
Angel Guzman takes over for Rich Harden to start the seventh. Alberto Gonzalez K’s chasing a full-count fastball upstairs. Wil Nieves grounds out to short. Pinch hitter Mike Morse takes strike three to end the top of the frame...Koyie Hill drills a single through second off Jason Bergmann. Aaron Miles bunts to first, Dunn makes the play. Hill moves up. Ryan Theriot lifts a low fastball to center, Hill takes third. Milton Bradley grounds weakly to third, Zimmerman charges and throws home, but offline and wide, 3-2 Cubs as Hill slides in safe. Still first and third. Jason Bergmann throws a high two-strike fastball by D. Lee. Aramis Ramirez flies to center, Willie Harris has it.
Willie Harris vs John Grabow. Harris skies one to right for the first out of the eighth. Cristian Guzman flies out to Fukudome in center. Ryan Zimmerman pushes a single to right, but Adam Dunn flies out to left to end the DC eighth...Ron Villone gives up a broken bat single to center to Fukudome. Alfonso Soriano’s up against Jorge Sosa. Soriano K’s swinging through a 2-2 pitch. Jeff Baker grounds to first, Dunn makes the play, but Sosa’s not covering. Koyie Hill’s up. Jorge Sosa throws a wild pitch by Nieves at home. Hill doubles to right, and two runs score, 5-2 Cubs. Mike Fontenot lines to right and over Elijah Dukes’ head. 6-2 Cubs. Ryan Theriot walks to put two more runners on. Sosa walks Milton Bradley. Sosa hangs an 0-2 bender to D. Lee, who doubles off the ivy in left, 8-2 Cubbies. Saul Rivera’s on to face Aramis Ramirez. Single through short, 9-2 Cubbies. Dunn starts the double play on a grounder by Fukudome.
Carlos Marmol walks Josh Willingham to start the ninth. Elijah Dukes walks. Marmol walks Alberto Gonzalez to load the bases. Wil Nieves grounds into a force at third. Willingham scores. 9-3 Cubs. Ronnie Belliard goes down swinging. Willie Harris doubles off the ivy, one run scores, 9-4. Cristian Guzman K’s swinging to end the game. 9-4 final.
Nationals now 45-82.