Washington 6, San Francisco 2; 23 August 2014 (Washington 74-54, San Francisco 68-60)
After a 72-minute rain delay, the Nationals and Giants took the field on a muggy Saturday afternoon. Jordan Zimmermann took the mound, with Tim Lincecum bearing the same responsibility for the Giants.
Zimmermann pitched eight strong innings, shutting down the Giants after the first inning. Jayson Werth had two hits and two RBI to lead the offense.
San Francisco came out hacking early. Angel Pagan opened the game by pulling an inside fastball into the right field corner for a double. The next hitter, Hunter Pence, took an 0-2 fastball that might have been shoulder-high, and hit a long fly ball into the centerfield seats. Two batters, two runs for San Francisco before an out was recorded. The Nationals answered in the bottom half of the inning in similar fashion. Denard Span led off by taking a 3-2 changeup into the right field corner. Pence had a bit of trouble securing the ball, but Span was able to make it to third with his seventh triple of the season. It was Span’s first career hit off Lincecum. Anthony Rendon followed with a walk after a 3-2 count. Werth bucked the trend by taking the first pitch, inside half, into right center field for a single to score Span/send Rendon to third base. Adam LaRoche’s 4-6-3 double play allowed Rendon to score from third, and just like that the game was tied at 2 going into the second inning.
The bottom of the next inning, Washington did some more damage. With one out, Asdrubal Cabrera drew a walk, and Zimmermann bunted him over to second. Span’s line drive single to center drove Cabrera home. With Rendon at the plate, a Lincecum wild pitch allowed Span to take second. Later in the at-bat, Rendon hooked a slow roller to Sandoval at third. Sandoval charged the ball, but overthrew first baseman Buster Posey. Span came home, and Rendon took second on the error. Werth’s line single to right center brought Rendon home, and Washington had a 5-2 lead at the end of two innings. With two out in the bottom of the third, Cabrera drove an outside fastball to the left-center field bleachers for a homer, and Zimmermann followed with a hard grounder down the left field line for a double. That was all for Lincecum, and the Nationals were on to face the Giants’ bullpen the rest of the game.
Zimmermann only gave up five more hits after that rough start (7 hits total, the two first-inning earned runs, no walks, 8 strikeouts). To the Giants’ credit, reliever Yusmeiro Petit came out of the bullpen and shut down the Nationals (4.1 innings, no hits/earned runs/walks, 5 strikeouts). Petit retired 13 straight batters.
On Sunday, Washington sends Stephen Strasburg to the hill to win the series. San Francisco will counter with right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.
Notes: after Sunday’s game, the team heads out on a nine-game road trip, starting with three in Philadelphia. Proposed starters are: Monday – Tanner Roark/A.J. Burnett; Tuesday – Gio Gonzalez/Cole Hamels; Wednesday – Doug Fister/Kyle Kendrick.
Outfielder Nate Schierholtz was called up from AAA Syracuse. Outfielder Michael Taylor was sent down to AAA, but is a prime candidate to be recalled on 1 September when rosters are expanded.
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