Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Cristian Guzman's solo home run in the sixth frame -- his first of the season -- was the game-winner, as Washington snapped a six-game skid with a 2-1 victory over Kansas City in the opener of a three- game set.
The hit made a winner of Livan Hernandez (6-4), who dodged eight hits and one walk over seven frames while striking out five and allowing just the one run.
Bruce Chen (3-2) was the hard-luck loser after giving up two runs on three hits with four walks and three strikeouts. The costly stat was the two home run balls that made the difference.
Kansas City threatened in the ninth thanks to a leadoff single by Jose Guillen and one-out base hit by Aviles that moved the tying run just 90 feet away. However, Matt Capps struck out Yuniesky Betancourt then rung up pinch-hitter Mitch Maier to notch his 21st save.
The Nationals took an early lead in the second frame with Morse's line-drive solo home run that cleared the wall in left.
After squandering a leadoff double in the second, the Royals responded to tie the game in the top of the third. Betancourt walked, was sacrificed to second by Chen, moved to third on Podsednik's double past Nyjer Morgan in center, then scored on Kendall's groundout.
Guzman showed off his limited power in the sixth, hitting a solo shot out to left for a 2-1 edge.
John Lannan, the Nationals' Opening Day starter, was optioned to Double-A Harrisburg on Monday. The southpaw had just a 2-5 record with a 5.76 earned run average this season...Chen lost for the first time on the road this season...The Nationals transferred pitcher Garrett Mock from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list...The Royals finished 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.