What was expected to be a pitching duel in San Francisco turned out to be just that. Stephen Strasburg fired seven innings of one run ball, while Matt Cain fired seven innings of his own. Despite leaving the game with a 2-1 lead, Strasburg didn’t earn a decision as Rafael Soriano blew the lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. Yunesky Maya, called up after Ryan Mattheus broke his hand punching a locker Sunday afternoon, gave up a one out two run walkoff homer to Pablo Sandovalto win the game and guarantee a series loss for Washington. The Nationals have lost four straight games dating back to last Saturday in San Diego.
Despite not getting a victory, Strasburg pitched brilliantly after a wild start. In the first two innings, he walked two batters and gave up four hits and a run. He then settled down to give up just two more hits and a walk the rest of his outing. He struck out seven and lowered his season ERA to 2.66. Strasburg’s poor record of 2-5 despite his ERA shows that he has been the consistent victim of poor run support, poor defense, or poor performance by the bullpen all year.
Strasburg’s opposition, Matt Cain, also had a rough start to the game. He gave up two runs in the first inning on RBI doubles by Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. Ian Desmond snapped his 0-20 cold streak with a two hit game. While Cain never fully settled down and dominated the way Strasburg did, he didn’t give up any more runs in his outing. He gave up four hits and two walks in his seven innings, striking out seven Nationals.
The momentum of the game swung to San Francisco in the ninth inning. After closer Sergio Romo pitched his way to a scoreless top of the inning, Rafael Soriano responded by giving up a leadoff single to Buster Posey in the bottom half. Bruce Bochy sent out pinch-runner Andres Torres for Posey, and then with two outs, Blanco tripled to the gap in right center to tie the game. Bryce Harper appeared to have a play on the triple, but approached the right field wall cautiously and the ball dropped in. Harper appears to still be scared of slamming into walls after his collision in San Francisco a week ago.
Davey Johnson sent out journeyman right hander Yunesky Maya in the 10th and Maya(0-1) gave up a single to Marco Scutaro and then a game ending two run bomb to Pablo Sandoval. Jeremy Affeldt earned the win with a scoreless 10th. With last nights loss, the Nationals dropped to .500 at 26-26. Gio Gonzalez looks to end the recent four game slide tonight, when he opposes San Francisco lefty Madison Bumgarner. Despite struggling in his last outing against Colorado, Bumgarner has been the most consistent San Francisco pitcher so far with a 4-2 record and 58 strikeouts in 58 innings.
Matchup: Gio Gonzalez(3-2, 4.01) vs Madison Bumgarner(4-2, 3.09)
First pitch: 3:45 ET