WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Nationals were one out away from getting shut out yet again when Livan Hernandez is on the mound.
Instead, they merely lost the game.
Home runs by Laynce Nix and Jonny Gomes on back-to-back pitches with two outs in the ninth took the zero off the board Wednesday night in a 4-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
``Second night in a row we didn't really come out offensively,' shortstop Ian Desmond said. ``Too little, too late.'
Hernandez (7-12) allowed four runs and seven hits with one walk and five strikeouts over 7 1-3 innings. The Nationals had just been shut out for the 13th time Tuesday in a 2-0 loss to the Diamondbacks; five of those shutouts have come when Hernandez is pitching.
``I don't think about something like that. Never,' Hernandez said. ``I go out and try to do my job, try to do my best, and the reason I go to the mound is to try to give us a chance to win, that's what I do.'
Daniel Hudson (13-9) allowed nine hits, struck out six, walked none and threw 102 pitches for the Diamondbacks before he hit the wall at 8 2-3 innings, just missing his first career shutout.
``Just two stupid pitches at the end,' he said.
J.J. Putz came and got his 32nd save, retiring Wilson Ramos on a foul out to first.
``That's what that team is known for,' said Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who streak of 29 consecutive games reaching base came to an end. ``They don't score that many runs, they get big hits when they need them, and then their pitching staff kind of carries them. The last two games, that's what they've done to us.'
The Nationals nearly scored in the eighth after Ramos' single and Desmond's double put runners on second and third with one out. But Rick Ankiel lined out to first, and Diamondbacks new acquisition John McDonald followed with a highlight play to preserve the shutout. The shortstop fielded Zimmerman's chopper up the middle, did a 360 and threw a one-hopper to first baseman Lyle Overbay, who made a nice, clean snag that beat Zimmerman by a hair.
Arizona got on the board in the fourth when Gomes dropped the ball while taking it out of his glove on Chris Young's double to the left field corner, an error that allowed Justin Upton to score from first. Overbay followed with an RBI single to right.
In the eighth, Ryan Roberts and Gerardo Parra singled back to back to chase Hernandez, and Montero drove both runners home with a single off reliever Henry Rodriguez.
NOTES: Another milestone for Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg in his return from Tommy John surgery: He took batting practice Wednesday. Strasburg will pitch Saturday for Triple-A Syracuse in his fifth minor league rehab start, and it'll be the first one in which he'll have to hit. ``He's wanted to hit, but nobody's been letting him,' manager Davey Johnson said. Strasburg likely has two starts left before making his much anticipated return to the majors sometime around Sept. 6. He threw a side session Wednesday before his BP. ... Nationals OF Jayson Werth sat out after leaving Tuesday's game early with a strained groin. ``He would play if we were in a pennant race or something,' Johnson said.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP
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