The Nationals met the Giants at AT &T Park for the third and final game of the series between the two with both teams having won one game. The Nationals won the early afternoon game, 6-4 behind Stephen Strasburg’s pitching performance and solid hitting by the team.
The Nationals found out an hour before game time that Melky Cabrera, the Giants All Star outfielder, had been suspended by Major League Baseball for fifty games for using performance enhancing drugs. Gregor Blanco took his place in the outfield for today’s game–and possibly for much of the foreseeable future.
The Nationals roughed up Tim Lincecum in the first inning and never looked back. They scored two runs off hits by Steve Lombardozzi, Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth. The Giants answered in the bottom of the second inning against Strasburg, scoring two runs to tie the game.
Danny Espinosa had the answer in the Nats third, blasting a two run homer to center estimated at 434 feet. Espinosa is the only National who seems to have solved how to hit home runs at AT&T Park–just hit them to deep center. That was Espinosa’s second home run to center in this series and it put the Nationals ahead for good. Lincecum pitched the fourth inning for the Giants, after he gave up a hit, a stolen base and threw a wild pitch, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled Lincecum after that inning.
The Nats scored a run in the fifth after Michael Morse hit a double (which had to be reviewed to make sure it was not a home run) and scored on Jayson Werth’s single to center. The sixth run for the Nationals was scored in the seventh inning off Giants reliever Santiago Casilla, who walked Jayson Werth and gave up a double to Danny Espinosa which sent Werth to third. Werth came home on a sacrifice fly by Kurt Suzuki.
Stephen Strasburg pitched six innings, giving up two runs, striking out seven and walking four while throwing 100 pitches. This was not an overpowering performance by Strasburg, but a solid start. Ryan Mattheus threw a perfect seventh inning for the Nats. Sean Burnett came on in the eighth inning, and almost escaped without the Giants scoring in that inning. Burnett gave up a single to Pablo Sandoval and a double to Buster Posey, and then got outs from Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt. However, Gregor Blanco got a single which scored Sandoval. Burnett then got Brandon Crawford to strike out to end the inning.
The score was 6-3 in favor of the Nats heading into the ninth inning. The Nats failed to score in the top of the inning, and Tyler Clippard came in to close the game. The Giants scored an unearned run on an uncharacteristic error by LaRoche, who failed to catch a high pop up which would have been the third out of the inning. The dropped ball allowed Hector Sanchez to score from second. Clippard then faced Buster Posey with a runner on. Clippard struck him out to get the save and lock down the Nationals win. The Nationals went 8-2 on the long road trip, and now head home.
Champ of the Game: Jayson Werth went two for four, had three RBI’s, scored a run and stole a base, all on a bad ankle.
Chump of the Game: Bryce Harper went 0 for 5 at the plate, which was egregious considering that Steve Lombardozzi went 4 for 5 and was on base almost every time Harper was batting.
Unsung Hero: Steve Lombardozzi, who as mentioned above went 4 for 5 and had several excellent defensive plays in the field. He only scored one run despite all the hits because of the lack of production immediately behind him from Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, who was 0fer.
Next Game: Friday, August 17th at Nationals Park against the New York Mets at 7:05 p.m. The Mets starter Johan Santana (6-8, 4.58 ERA) will probably face Ross Detwiler (6-5, 3.18 ERA) if the reports are true that Davey Johnson intends to reset the pitching lineup. Otherwise, the Nationals starter will be Edwin Jackson (7-7, 3.74 ERA).