In the last game of the four game series with the Giants, the Giants looked like the team the Nats expected to see during the series, and beat the Nationals 7-1 in an afternoon game in San Francisco.
The Nationals were undone by poor relief pitching, an unusual circumstance for the team. Blake Treinen only gave up two runs to the Giants over five innings pitched. The bullpen gave away five runs to put the game out of reach.
Tim Hudson pitched for the Giants, which is always a tough assignment for the Nationals. Hudson is a good pitcher, and the Nationals hitters in general do not handle him well. That was certainly the case again today as Hudson only gave up one run to the Nationals over his seven innings pitched. The Nationals has several opportunities to tack on some runs, but could not push the runs over the plate when they had the chance.
Blake Treinen did not have a bad outing. He was not quite as effective in this game as he has been his last several starts, but did hold one of the best teams in baseball to only two runs in five innings. In the bottom of the second, Michael Morse singled to open the inning, and Tyler Colvin tripled to score Morse. Brandon Crawford brought Colvin home with a groundout to the right side of the infield, and the Giants led by two.
The Nationals got on the board in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Adam LaRoche singled and went to second on a passed ball by Giants catcher Buster Posey during Ryan Zimmerman’s at bat. Zimmerman then singled to score LaRoche, and the Giants lead was cut to one run.
Treinen got himself into a jam in the bottom of the fourth inning, and it looked like the game was going to unravel completely. Morse singled to start the inning, and then Treinen walked Colvin and Crawford to load the bases. Treinen struck out Ehire Adrianza and got Hudson to hit into a double play to end the inning with no runs scoring.
The Nats had the opportunity to score in the top of the fifth. Kevin Frandsen, today’s second baseman, singled. Next batter Jose Lobaton singled and Frandsen went to third. The Nats had the tying run at third with nobody out. Momentum appeared to be shifting. Alas, the Nats could not get the runner in from third. Treinen could not get a bunt down and struck out when he bunted the ball foul for the third strike. Denard Span then ground into a double play to end the inning.
The top of the sixth also presented another opportunity for the Nats to score some runs, and again the Nats offense did not come through. After Anthony Rendon struck out to lead off the inning, both Jayson Werth and LaRoche drew walks. Hudson was having trouble with his command and the umpire’s strike zone. Zimmerman hit into a fielder’s choice, and Werth was out at third. Ian Desmond ground out to end the inning and the scoring threat.
The wheels fell off the Nationals cart in the bottom of the sixth inning. Craig Stammen came on in relief of Treinen. Stammen has not had much work lately. He hadn’t pitched since June 7th , and it showed. Stammen first faced Pablo Sandoval who singled. Morse then singled and Sandoval went to third. Stammen was then called for a balk, which scored Sandoval and moved Morse to second. Colvin popped out, and then Crawford reached first on a ball hit to Frandsen, who misplayed it. Gregor Blanco came in to pinch hit and singled, scoring Morse. Hudson fouled out trying to bunt the runners over, and Angel Pagan made the final out of the inning. But the Giants now led 4-1 and that gave the Giants the opportunity to send Hudson out for another inning. The last thing the Nats needed was to face another inning of Tim Hudson.
Hudson made short work of the Nats batters in the top of the seventh, and Aaron Barrett came in to pitch the bottom of the seventh. Barrett gave up a run in the seventh and two runs in the eighth to put the Giants ahead 7-1. The back breaker was a two run single hit by Hector Sanchez, the Giants back up catcher who came in to pinch hit and then replaced Posey behind the plate for the rest of the game.
The Giants have a good bullpen, so facing new pitchers in the eighth and ninth innings did not help the Nats all that much. They did not score in either inning, and didn’t threaten either.
Next Game: The Nationals travel to St. Louis to visit the Cardinals for a three game series. The Nationals send Jordan Zimmermann (5-2, 3.17 ERA) to the hill, while the Cardinals counter with pitcher Lance Lynn (6-4, 3.49 ERA). It will be interesting to see how Zimmermann bounces back from this last excellent start, when he pitched a complete game shutout of the Padres and threw 114 pitches.
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