Coming off the momentum of a game-saving catch in the ninth inning of yesterdays match-up, the Nationals exploded for five runs one against of the best pitchers in the game, Johan Santana. The majority of the runs came in one fell swoop as Josh Willingham hammered a first inning grand slam to center, scoring Nyjer Morgan, Willy Taveras, and Adam Dunn. Willingham would strike again in the third inning, hitting a double off Santana to center field, driving in Cristian Guzman.
Livan Hernandez would set the pace for the Nationals as he pitched seven shutout innings to earn the win, by far the best start out of any Washington hurler so far. Hernandez scattered five hits and allowed three walks, keeping the Mets off the scoreboard. Matt Capps came on to close it for the club, earning his third save of the season.
The Nats took two out of three from their division rival, the New York Mets this weekend, helping them improved their record to .500 at 3-3. While the first game got out of hand, a 2-8 loss with the club surrendering six runs in the final three innings, the Nationals were in control for nearly the entirety of each of the final two showings.
Josh Willingham helped carry the club through the series, going 4-9 with two runs and five RBI. Willingham’s effort helped him improve his overall batting average to .421 on the season. Also coming through big this weekend was Willy Taveras, who despite going 0-4 today managed to drive in four runs and score one.
The series was capped off with Livan Hernandez’s outstanding seven inning performance tonight. The 35-year-old looked extremely sharp by keeping the Mets batters off balance and surrendering relatively weak contact throughout the day.
(WPA Charts from Fangraphs.com, the BEST stat site on the net)
As you can see the Nationals were in control from Josh Willingham’s homer on. Livan Hernandez didn’t offer the Mets a chance to get back into the game while boasting a WPA of .194.
At the plate Josh Willingham was the most valuable player in Win Probability Addded with .282, the next best was Nyjer Morgan at .086.