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Nationals Tie Series, Blanking Braves 6-0

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) – Livan Hernandez dampened Atlanta’s playoff aspirations with his arm and his bat, pitching eight scoreless innings and hitting his 10th career home run, as Washington blanked Atlanta, 6-0, in the second contest of a three-game set at Turner Field.

Hernandez (10-11) surrendered five hits with six strikeouts and two walks, while doubling in a run to go with his solo shot in the fourth. Adam Dunn hit a long two-run shot in a three-run second — all of the runs Washington needed to snap a six-game losing skid.

“Pitching is more fun (than hitting),” said Hernandez. “We come every day and try to win. What’s in the past is in the past.”

Jair Jurrjens (7-6) took the loss, giving up four runs on nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks over five frames. Brian McCann had two of Atlanta’s five hits in defeat. The Braves have lost two of three games and sit two games behind Philadelphia, which downed Florida, 2-1, on Tuesday.

“I think every game we lose right now is going to be frustrating, especially with the Phillies winning. Like I’ve been saying, every game right now is really important for us,” said Jurrjens.

The Nationals pushed across three runs in the second, including a titanic home run by Dunn. After Ryan Zimmerman smoked a single to left, Dunn unloaded on a 1-1 changeup, driving it to the base of the concourse in right-center field, a missile measured at 455 feet.

“You know when you hit it, it is pretty good. You aren’t going to sit and watch it. We have already been in one brawl, I really don’t feel like starting another one,” said Dunn.

Nyjer Morgan found open space in center with a one out single, moved to second on a groundout and scored when Hernandez helped himself with a two- out double over the head of Nate McLouth.

Hernandez again swung a dangerous bat in the fourth, clubbing a 2-2 hanging slider over the wall in left-center field for a 4-0 lead.

In the meantime, Hernandez faced nary a threat until the home third, when he had two runners aboard before inducing a Martin Prado fly out. He allowed two singles in the first three batters of the sixth, but the first was wiped away on a Prado 6-4-3 double play grounder.

The Nationals added an insurance tally in the seventh as Danny Espinosa doubled and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Roger Bernadina then skied a fly ball to center, scoring Espinosa for a five-run advantage.

Ian Desmond hit a dead-center-field solo shot in the ninth for the final margin.

The last Nationals pitcher to homer in a game was Ramon Ortiz back on September 4, 2006…The Braves have been blanked 11 times this season…Dunn’s tape-measure home run was the sixth longest home run at Turner Field…Atlanta’s 52 home victories still sit four short of its Turner Field record…Hernandez had lost back-to-back starts before his eight brilliant frames on Tuesday…The teams have split 14 meetings this season…Desmond his 10th home run of the season, while Dunn crushed his 35th of the campaign.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.