• Mr. National Top 5:
5. Full Disclosure: I Still Have An Expos' Livan no. 61 Shirsey: When Livan Hernandez walked from the bullpen to the Nationals' dugout down the first base line this afternoon, casually as usual, taking his time, the fans in attendance at Nationals Park cheered the right-hander, rising to their feet and prompting Hernandez to remove and tip his cap to the crowd. When he took the mound it was the traditional first pitch fastball to start New York Mets' infielder Ruben Tejada, who flew out to Jayson Werth in center to start game three of three in Washington, D.C. A weak grounder back to the mound from Justin Turner gave Hernandez out no. 2, and a grounder to first on a 2-1 pitch gave him one scoreless on 12 pitches, 9 strikes. After a nine-pitch 1-2-3 first by Mets' starter Mike Pelfrey, Livan Hernandez came back out for the second and retired next three Mets in order on eight pitches, just to outdo Pelfrey...
4. Not Headfirst!: Danny Espinosa gets a drag bunt down and by the mound, so Mets' first baseman Josh Satin has to field it and toss to Mike Pelfrey covering, but the Nats' second baseman's headfirst slide beats the big NY starter to the base for the first hit of the game by either team in the bottom of the second. Mike Pelfrey gets Wilson Ramos to chase a 2-2 fastball outside, however, and he's matched Livan Hernandez with two scoreless. Livan Hernandez gives up back-to-back singles to start the third, and after a sac bunt advances both runners, a Ruben Tejada two-run liner to right gives New York a 2-0 lead after three innings in Nats Park.
3. Livo Gets His Lead: Livan Hernandez throws a quick seven-pitch 1-2-3 fourth after a long 25-pitch third for the 36-year-old right-hander, who's at 52 pitches, 33 strikes after 4.0 IP. Jayson Werth walks to start the Nats' fourth and moves to second on a Rick Ankiel single that flies over Pelfrey's right shoulder and out into center. After he dove instead of stopping Ryan Zimmerman's walk-off bloop last night, Lucas Duda costs the Mets again when he misjudges a fly to right by Danny Espinosa that gets over his head for an RBI double that cuts NY's lead in half at 2-1. Second and third for Nats' rookie first baseman Chris Marrero, who sends a broken bat grounder to second to drive Ankiel in and tie it with his first MLB RBI. 2-2 game. Make that 3-2, Wilson Ramos battles in a nine-pitch AB before shooting a sharp grounder by a diving David Wright at third to drive Espinosa in. Double for Ramos, one-run lead for Washington.
2. No Fairy Tale Ending: After the Nats take the 3-2 lead, Livan Hernandez is back on the mound where he throws a quick six-pitch fifth inning, allowing a one-out infield single by the opposing pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, before a 4-6-3 DP off Ruben Tejada's bat ends the frame. After a 36-pitch fourth, Mike Pelfrey labors through a 29-pitch 5th, walking three straight batters with two down before he's lifted with the bases loaded. Ryota Igarashi pops Chris Marrero up and in spite of Pelfrey's trouble it's still close, 3-2 after five. One out into the sixth, it's tied. The Mets even it up when Luca Duda launches a 2-0 change from Livan Hernandez into the second deck over the out-of-town scoreboard in right for his 9th HR of 2011. Back-to-back singles by David Wright and Angel Pagan have Livan in trouble. Jason Bay singles to center to load the bases. That's it for Livan. The DC Faithful rise to their feet as Mr. National leaves the mound, tipping his cap to the crowd for what might be the last time.
1. [Coffey Sprints To Mound]: Willie Harris hits for Josh Satin after Livan's replaced and the former Nats' outfielder crushes the first pitch he sees, sending a low liner by first for a two-run single that makes it 5-3 New York. A suicide squeeze by catcher Mike Nickeas brings Jason Bay in to make it 6-3 NY, and the books is closed on Livan Hernandez, who's in line for the loss in his last outing of 2011. Livan Hernandez's line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 74 pitches, 47 strikes, 8/3 GO/FO. Mets' rookie Josh Stinson takes over in the bottom of the sixth, and gives up a double by Wilson Ramos and a walk to Alex Cora before a DP grounder by Desmond and groundout to second by Bernadina end the frame. 6-3 Mets after six.
0. Not With A Broken Bat Bang, But A Whimper: Doug Slaten gives up one and two out singles, but throws a scoreless seventh for Washington. New York rookie Josh Stinson comes back with a 1-2-3 inning against the middle of the Nats' order, and it's up to Henry "Lightning" Rodriguez to keep it close in the top of the eighth. Rodriguez does, throwing an eight-pitch 1-2-3 frame which ends when Mike Nickeas swings through a 100 mph 0-2 fastball. Still 6-3 NY. Danny Espinosa reaches on an infield single to start the eighth, but Jason Isringhausen retires the next three Nats in order to hold the Mets' lead through eight. Drew Storen throws a scoreless top of the ninth, but Bobby Parnell doesn't implode this time, setting Ian Desmond, Brian Bixler and Ryan Zimmerm--actually Zim walks. One on, two outs. Jayson Werth grounds out to third, ballgame. Mets win 6-3, take two of three from Nats to win the weekend series.
• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...
• Doghouse's Post Game WPA Graph: COMING SOON.
Nationals now 64-74.