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| Sports |

Arizona Diamondbacks Baffled By Hernandez; Lose Again At Home

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Returning home didn't make a difference. Neither did a roster filled with new players after a flurry of trades. The Diamondbacks lost again.

This time it was 3-1 to the Washington Nationals in front of 500 or so people at Chase Field. (OK. 16,793 actually showed up).

The offense only managed one run, strikeouts were high again, and starting pitching struggled early on.

We're sure most folks around here (us included) can't wait for football season to start.

The Nationals started the scoring early with a run off D-Backs starter Rodrigo Lopez in the first. Washington's Josh Willingham singled home Adam Kennedy for an early 1-0 lead.

The Nationals tacked on another run with a solo homer in the second by Ivan Rodriguez, the 300th of his career as a catcher.

The Snakes cut into the lead in the second on an RBI groundout by Gerardo Parra, making it 2-1.

Former D-Back Adam Dunn added to the Nationals lead in the third with a towering blast to right that probably still hasn't landed yet.

The Snakes had a chance for some runs in the eighth but couldn't find the clutch hit. With two men on, Kelly Johnson struck out, and Justin Upton (swinging on a 3-0 pitch) grounded out to end the threat.

D-Backs interim manager Kirk Gibson said he gave the go-ahead for Upton to swing for the fences.

"He gave me the green light, and I was looking for something I could drive," Upton said.

Ultimately, the shaky start over the first three innings cost Lopez and the Snakes. In all, he pitched seven solid innings while giving up seven hits and two home runs and walking two.

Gibson thought Lopez performed well after a rough start.

"He pitched great...we just didn't have the offense today," Gibson said.

Once again, it was the long ball that doomed the D-Backs' pitchers. Lopez now leads the league in home runs allowed.

"It's not something I'm proud of, it's ridiculous," he said.

The Nationals starter, Livan Hernandez, pitched brilliantly, going 7.1 innings, only allowing five hits and one run.

Gibson said he always finds a way to get the job done.

"He's masterful," Gibson said. "You have to give Livan a lot of credit. He moved the ball around and changed speeds."

The only good news was that the game was a brisk two hours and 19 minutes. It was over before it started.

The Snakes continue their four-game series with the Nationals tonight at Chase Field. Joe Saunders (6-10, 4.51 ERA) gets the start against Washington's Scott Olsen (3-2, 3.67 ERA).

First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. TV: Fox Sports Arizona. Radio: KTAR 620-AM. More info: dbacks.com.

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