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New father Desmond returns with big night for Nats

April 28, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP) —
New father Ian Desmond homered and tripled in his first game back from paternity leave and Livan Hernandez pitched eight strong innings to lead the Washington Nationals past the New York Mets 4-3 Thursday night.

Desmond’s solo home run in the fifth was his third of the season and it gave Washington a 4-2 lead. He had missed the Nationals’ past two games after his wife, Chelsey, gave birth Tuesday to the couple’s first son, Grayson Wesley Desmond.

The loss ended New York’s six-game winning streak, the team’s longest run since winning eight straight last June. Ike Davis had a single, a double and drove in a run for the Mets, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

Hernandez (3-2) allowed three runs, two earned, and seven hits with five strikeouts and a walk. He also got his first hit of the season and drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt.

Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.

Chris Capuano (2-2) allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out two without a walk.

Hernandez was pitching the day after his name surfaced at the trial of a convicted drug dealer in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hernandez told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he wouldn’t comment and he did not talk to reporters before Thursday’s game, which is standard protocol on the day a pitcher starts.

All the runs came in the middle innings, with both teams scoring in three straight innings. While the Mets could only manage a single run at a time, the Nationals were able to get a pair in the fourth.

The game was tied 1-all when Desmond tripled and scored on Jerry Hairston’s single. Hairston advanced to third on Ivan Rodriguez’s single, and Hernandez then perfectly placed a bunt in front of the plate. Mets catcher Josh Thole fielded the ball but his dive back to the plate was too late to get Hairston, who scored to give the Nationals a 3-1 lead.

Davis led off the fifth with a single. The Mets loaded the bases on Thole’s single and an error by Rodriguez, who fumbled Capuano’s sacrifice bunt. Center fielder Rick Ankiel made a tough catch on Jose Reyes’ sacrifice fly, but New York couldn’t add another as Hernandez struck out Daniel Murphy.

Davis also drove in a run with a double to right field in the sixth.

The Nationals took a 1-0 lead in the third when Jayson Werth hit a flyball that right fielder Carlos Beltran appeared to misjudge. The ball sailed over his head, bounced off the warning track and into the Nationals’ bullpen for a run-scoring ground-rule double.

NOTES: Washington optioned OF Roger Bernadina to Triple-A Syracuse before the game. ... Former Nationals team president Stan Kasten was on the field during batting practice. ... Mets C Ronny Paulino (anemia) had been expected to return from the disabled list Friday, but manager Terry Collins said Paulino would likely return Saturday. Collins said he wanted to give Paulino extra at-bats in his rehab stint at Triple-A Buffalo.

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