Jordan Zimmermann moved into the league-lead in ERA last night, but not by his own doing. Then-league leader Ryan Vogelsong took the mound for the Giants, but looked like one of the members of a pre-2009 Nationals pitching staff.
The Nationals tagged Vogelsong for eight runs over 2.2 innings, breaking Vogelsong’s league-high streak of 21 consecutive starts of six innings or more.
Seven of those eight runs would be scored in the top of the third, as the Nationals went on to have their highest-scoring inning of the season. After back-to-back-to-back infield singles by Michael Morse, Danny Espinosa and Roger Bernadina plated three runs, Giants manager Bruce Bochy would be ejected from the game, and the Nationals would go on to score an additional three runs on a bases-clearing double by Kurt Suzuki.
Though Vogelsong was pulled, reliever Brad Penny would not be much better. The Nationals would pile on an additional six runs on Penny over the next two innings, pushing the score to 14-0. Bernadina and Suzuki both struck again against Penny, driving in a combined three RBIs in the top of the fourth. Danny Espinosa would add salt to the wound in the fifth, hitting a two-run homer to centerfield, also scoring Tyler Moore.
With all the offense, it was easy to overlook the quality start made by Gio Gonzalez last night. Gonzalez gave the Nationals 6.2 innings of two-run baseball; striking out four on six hits while walking just two batters. Gio took a shutout into the sixth inning, the two runs coming on a two-run pinch-hit homer by Brandon Crawford.
Tom Gorzelanny would be money (as Ray Knight would put it) through the final 2.1 innings, giving up just two hits and one walk while striking out three.
Champ of the Game: You can hardly go wrong here, but Suzuki gets the cake. Any time you get four RBIs from your eighth batter, the odds are in your favor.
Brandon Crawford was really the only highlight for the Giants last night, hitting the two-run homerun off the bench.
Chump of the Game: Impossible to choose, but for all the right reasons. The Giants get this award, for not staying home.
Unsung Hero: As I mentioned earlier, it was easy to overlook Gonzalez’s quality performance last night. He gave the Nats a chance to win even if they hadn’t scored all those runs.
The non-Penny bullpen gets the award for the Giants. They combined for 4.1 shutout innings to close out the game, striking out a combined four batters and giving up just five total hits.
Next Game: Tuesday, August 14 @ 10:15 PM EST at San Francisco Giants. Probables: J Zimmermann (9 -6, 2.35 ERA) vs. M Bumgarner (12-7, 3.08 ERA).