Five Straight: Wins for Nationals, Losses for Cardinals

7 years 8 months 1 week ago Wednesday, June 15 2011 Jun 15, 2011 Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:21:50 PM CDT June 15, 2011 in Baseball
Source: Assoicated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rarely has a shutout tasted so good for Livan Hernandez.

After tossing a three-hitter that led the Washington Nationals over the St. Louis Cardinals 10-0 on Wednesday night, Hernandez got a pie in the face from his happy teammates for the first time in his 16 major league seasons.

"He's so old, they probably weren't doing pies in the face when he started," Nationals outfielder Michael Morse joked.

Morse homered twice and doubled, Jayson Werth and Danny Espinosa also homered and Ryan Zimmerman had his second RBI in as many nights since returning from the disabled list as the Nationals earned their fifth straight win.

The beneficiary of Washington's offensive outburst was Hernandez (4-8), who struck out six and walked none for his ninth career shutout. It was his 50th career complete game.

"We scored 10 runs and hit four home runs today -- that was great," Hernandez said. "Everybody is working hard every day to win some games and now we've got five in a row. Let's see what happens."

Albert Pujols made two errors at third base for the Cardinals, leading to a pair of unearned runs, as they lost their season-worst fifth in a row. Jon Jay was the only St. Louis hitter to reach second base, doubling in the fifth off Hernandez.

"He moved the ball around -- ball in, ball out, ball down, ball up," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "It was a masterful job of pitching."

Hernandez only needed 105 pitches to baffle St. Louis, working quickly through the Cardinals' dangerous lineup.

"It was just a great performance," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "It was just vintage Livo there. He was hitting his spots, changing his speeds -- he just really had it all going. He was completely in control tonight."

Hernandez got plenty of offensive support, especially from Morse, who drove in three runs and now has 11 homers in his last 36 games.

"I'm just going up there and putting some good at-bats together," Morse said. "We had a lot of patience today, and guys got their pitches and didn't miss them. Livan deserves (the runs). He's been pitching real well."

In his return from the disabled list, Cardinals starter Kyle McClellan (6-3) gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings.

Morse hit a solo homer in the second for a 1-0 lead. In the third, Werth hit a routine grounder to Pujols, who's normally a first baseman, and his soft throw across the diamond handcuffed Lance Berkman. After Roger Bernadina singled, Zimmerman singled home a run.

Morse and Espinosa doubled to begin a three-run fourth. Ivan Rodriguez added an RBI single, Hernandez sacrificed and Ian Desmond hit a hard grounder to Pujols, who couldn't make the backhanded stop, allowing another unearned run to score. Bernadina made it 5-0 with a bloop double down the left-field line.

Desmond had an RBI single in the sixth. Morse and Espinosa hit towering, consecutive homers in the seventh -- the first time Washington has hit back-to-back home runs this season. Morse has 12 homers this year and is hitting .373 during the 36-game run.

"I'm real happy for Mike," Riggleman said. "He's seizing an opportunity here and helping the team win games. This is much more than a hot streak."

Werth hit his ninth homer of the season in the eighth.

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