PHOENIX (AP) -- Leave it to an ex-National to finally give the
Arizona Diamondbacks a victory over Washington.
Livan Hernandez blanked his former teammates for seven innings
and four Arizona players hit solo home runs to help the
Diamondbacks beat the Nationals 4-2 on Wednesday.Hernandez retired 21 of 22 batters from the first to the eighth
before giving up a pair of runs on Robert Fick's pinch-hit double."Boy he was something," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said.In the teams' final meeting, Arizona beat Washington for the
only time this season. The Nationals came from behind to beat the
Diamondbacks in the other five contests."They tried to come back in the eighth again today," Hernandez
said. "That's not an easy lineup. They've got a good team. They're
going to be good next year."Alfonso Soriano was thrown out at third base for the second game
in a row, leaving him still one stolen base shy of becoming the
fourth 40-homer, 40-steal player in major league history."I think I'm trying too much to do it because I want everybody
to enjoy it like I'm supposed to be enjoying it, too," he said.
"I think now I have to calm down and whatever happens just
happens."He said he looks forward to getting the steal at RFK Stadium."I'll try to do it at home," Soriano said. "I think that will
be more exciting for me and for the fans to see."Soriano and Felipe Lopez led off the game with singles.
Hernandez threw a pickoff attempt to second as Soriano broke for
third. Second baseman Orlando Hudson threw to third baseman Chad
Tracy, who made the tag. It was the only time Soriano reached base
in the game."It looks to me like he's trying to force the issue to much,"
Washington manager Frank Robinson said. "In this game, sometimes
when you want something real bad you've got to let it come to you,
be patient."Hernandez said he noticed Soriano taking a big lead."I gave a nod to Orlando Hudson that he was running,"
Hernandez said. "Orlando threw to third base. It was a close play
but he was out."Conor Jackson, Hudson, Stephen Drew and Chris Snyder hit solo
home runs off Tony Armas Jr. to put the Diamondbacks up 4-0 after
four innings.Hernandez (12-12), acquired from Washington for two minor league
pitchers on Aug. 7, allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings.
He struck out five and walked none but fell just short of notching
his first complete game of the season and 43rd of his career."When I go pitch, I think I'll throw the whole game. I think
that is the point," he said. "When you're a starting pitcher, you
want to start and you want to finish."Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 19
opportunitiesArmas (8-11) failed to make it four innings for the seventh time
in 14 starts. He allowed four runs and six hits in 3 1/3, striking
out two and walking three.After Jackson's one-out home run in the second put the
Diamondbacks ahead 1-0, Arizona loaded the bases but Hernandez
couldn't get a bunt down, fouling off strike three, and Chris Young
struck out swinging.Hudson extended his career-best home run total to 15 with a
leadoff shot to the opposite field in the third. Drew led off the
fourth with a home run, then one out later, Snyder homered to make
it 4-0.With one out in the eighth, Brian Schneider singled for the
second time in the game. Nook Logan was safe on a bunt attempt when
he avoided Conor Jackson's tag. Fick doubled into the left-center
gap to bring both runners home. Soriano and Lopez flew out to left
to end the inning.
Soriano has been caught stealing 16 times this season. ...
The first three Diamondbacks homers came on 0-1 counts. ... Armas
is 2-7 in 12 starts since coming of the disabled list on July 17.
... Arizona is 3-15 against the Nationals/Expos in the past three
seasons. ... Hernandez is 3-4 in seven starts since coming to the