The Nationals celebrated July 4th at Nats Park with a victory over the San Francisco Giants. Despite the heat and the 11:05 start time, over 35,000 fans turned out to watch what promised to be a pitching duel between Edwin Jackson and Madison Bumgarner, but what turned into an offensive explosion by the Nats that included four home runs.
Jackson started out the game with his usual rocky first inning, giving up three runs. Jackson walked Gregor Blanco and Melky Cabrera singled, with both runners moving into scoring position on Ryan Zimmerman’s uncharacteristic error. Buster Posey hit a sacrifice fly to score Blanco, and then Pablo Sandoval connected on a two run homer.
Jackson settled down after the first inning, not allowing another run to score until the sixth. Bumgarner cruised through the first two innings, but ran into trouble in the third. He got two quick outs on groundouts by Jhonatan Solano and Jackson, but then gave up three runs after Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper both singled, Ryan Zimmerman doubled, Michael Morse walked and Ian Desmond hit a two run single. Tyler Moore struck out to end the inning, but the Nats had tied the game.
Solano hit a home run in the fourth inning which put the Nats ahead for good. In the fifth inning, Zimmerman hit a home run with Harper on base, and the next batter, Michael Morse, also hit a home run. Solano would also hit a single in the sixth inning and steal second for his first major league stolen base. Bumgarner ended his day giving up seven earned runs to the Nationals.
In the sixth inning, Jackson walked the first batter Emmanuel Burriss, but got Cabrera to fly out and Posey to pop out. Sandoval hit a double to score Burriss and get the Giants’ fourth run of the day. Tom Gorzelanny came in to relieve Jackson and after giving up a walk to Brandon Belt induced a ground out by Nate Shierholtz to end the inning. Gorzelanny also pitched the seventh, and Sean Burnett came in to pitch the eighth.
In the eighth inning, with Clay Hensley pitching, defensive replacements Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel got in on the scoring action. Bernadina had a single and stole second. Ankiel then hit a home run to score two more runs. The Giants then brought in Javier Lopez, who loaded the bases but then got Zimmerman to ground into a double play to end the inning. Michael Gonzalez pitched the ninth inning for the Nats. None of the Nats relievers gave up a run.
Champ of the Game: For the Nationals, it was Ryan Zimmerman, who went two for five with a double, a home run and three RBIs, along with some fine defensive plays.
Pablo Sandoval went three for four with three RBIs, producing almost all of the Giants runs. He is the Champ of the Game for the Giants.
Chump of the Game: Without question, it was Mark DeRosa for the Nats. DeRosa was 0 for 3 at the plate, with one of his outs that weird, weak check swing/half swing thing he does to dribble the ball into the infield. He had two horrendous plays in right field, misjudging two balls that went over his head and hit the wall, leading to two Giants “doubles” on balls that should have been caught or tracked better to limit the hit to a single.
For the Giants, the chump of the game was Nate Schierholtz, who went 0-3. He ground into a double play, struck out to start an inning and ground out to end the top of the sixth after Brandon Belt had worked a walk in front of him to get on base.
Unsung Hero: Danny Espinosa went 2 for 4 and was hit by a pitch, so he got on base three times in five attempts. He also had several nice plays in the field.