Mets-Nationals: Livan Hernandez's Strong Start Backed by Early Offense

Jonathan RagusCorrespondent IJune 7, 2009

PORT SAINT LUCIE, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Fernando Martinez of the New York Mets poses during photo day at Tradition Field on February 23, 2009 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

The Mets offense exploded in the first inning this afternoon, scoring five runs before Livan Hernandez even threw a pitch. Hernandez took the ball and ran with it, shutting out the Nationals over seven innings in a 6-0 win at Nationals Park.

Rookie Fernando Martinez got the train rolling when he smoked a double to the deepest part of Nationals Park, which scored Alex Cora. Martinez moved to third on a groundout and David Wright walked.

Nationals starter Craig Stammen, who lacked control all afternoon, threw his first of two wild pitches while Wright was stealing second base. Martinez scored and made it 2-0.

Danny Murphy, who went 2-for-4, then singled in Wright and he was followed by a Ryan Church double. Brian Schneider’s sacrifice fly made it 4-0, and then Stammen threw his second wild pitch, allowing Church to score.

That was all before Livan Hernandez threw the first of his 116 pitches. Hernandez was strong once again, scattering four hits and four walks over his seven innings of work. He improved his record to 5-1 and dropped his ERA to 3.88 on the season.

It was a fairly quiet game from there on. The Mets quickly and efficiently dispatched of the Nationals in a two-hour and 48-minute game.

New York tacked on two more runs late in the game. Jesus Colome was the next pitcher in for the Nationals and he also threw two wild pitches in his two innings of work. Wright singled off Colome in the seventh to score Cora, who had swiped a base earlier in the inning.

Carlos Beltran added the last run in the ninth when he doubled in Martinez. Although he only went 1-for-5, Martinez was a part of the Mets' offensive success on this day.

Pedro Feliciano, Bobby Parnell, and Francisco Rodriguez combined to finish off the last two innings and salvage their series in the nation’s capitol.

It’s not what they hoped for, but the Mets can turn themselves around in the upcoming week when they head back to New York for a three-game series with their division rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. Then, they will head across town to take on the Yankees in their brand new facility.


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