Livan, Nats hit hard in loss to Dodgers
Hernandez allows eight runs -- seven in fourth inning
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals endured one of their toughest losses of the season, as they fell to the Dodgers, 14-2, at Nationals Park on Tuesday night.
After two innings, the Nationals had a 2-1 lead, thanks to a two-run homer by first baseman Adam Dunn.
That would be all Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda would give up. Kuroda lasted six innings, striking out six batters while walking two.
It was all Dodgers after that. Right-hander Livan Hernandez had his worst outing of the season as a member of the Nationals, allowing eight runs in 3 2/3 innings. The ball was often up in the strike zone.
The Dodgers batted around in the fourth inning, when they scored seven of those runs. Rafael Furcal highlighted the scoring with a two-run single.
Hernandez said it simply about his outing: "I had a bad day. No excuses.
"The Dodgers are a good-hitting team," Hernandez continued. "The ball was over the place. I tried to throw a strike and it didn't happen. You go behind the hitter and make a mistake, you are going to pay for it. This is what happens."
Three innings later, Saul Rivera paid the price as the Dodgers added six more runs -- five off Rivera -- with Casey Blake highlighting the scoring with a two-run homer.
"I'm always a little curious -- I guess is the best word -- after an off-day knowing during my playing days and my managing days that off-days sometimes flatten you out," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "But I was just glad we were ready to play."
Nationals catcher Josh Bard was clearly frustrated by the loss, and he stressed the importance of his pitchers throwing more strikes.
When asked about Kuroda's performance, Bard said, "That's why they are a winning team and we're not. Kuroda and the bullpen guys pound the zone, go after guys, throwing strikes. We continue to fall behind. ... When you are pitching 2-0, 3-1 all the time, I don't know what else we are supposed to expect. Those guys are professional hitters, and we continue to think we could get them out being 2-0, 3-1.
"It's frustrating. I mean, I know it's hard to get guys out in this leagues, but throwing strikes is not hard, and that's where I get frustrated."
Unlike Sunday's game against the Mets, interim manager Jim Riggleman believed his team did the best it could and gave credit to the Dodgers for getting the job done.
"We got beat," Riggleman said. "They pitched good. We did not have a good night. Livan was not at his best tonight. He has done a great job for us. We received effort from everybody on the field. Everything about our pregame -- enthusiasm in the dugout -- [was there]. I was not displeased tonight as I was on Sunday. So, we just got beat."
Washington is now on a three-game losing streak and one loss away from back-to-back 100-loss seasons. Outfielder Willie Harris was not aware of the century mark until he was told by a member of the media.
"I didn't pay attention to it," Harris said. "One hundred losses -- they get up on you quickly. Nobody here wants to lose 100 games, and nobody wants to lose 90 games, but you go out and play. Unfortunately, somebody is going to lose."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.