In a battle between two of the hottest teams in the National League, the Washington Nationals came out on top of the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, in an old-fashioned, classic National League game. The Nationals scored two runs in the fifth inning on four singles and a sacrifice fly, and except for a ninth-inning Giants RBI groundout, that was the extent of the scoring.
Doug Fister out-dueled Madison Bumgarner by going seven innings, giving up no runs, on eight hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. Tyler Clippard pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth, giving up a lead-off triple to Brandon Crawford, who scored on Brandon Hicks’s groundout, and then retiring Hector Sanchez and Angel Pagan to close out the game.
Anthony Rendon, Adam Laroche, Wilson Ramos (two doubles) and Ian Desmond had two hits apiece, with Denard Span knocking in the first run of the game in the fifth on a sacrifice fly. Jayson Werth plated the second run, but Anthony Rendon was caught on the base-paths, ending the inning.
Defensively, the Giants continue their excellent play, with Crawford beginning a 6-4-3 double play in the fourth, on which Michael Morse made a good dig-out of a ball in the dirt. It was the Giants’ major league-leading 68th twofer of the season.
Also Angel Pagan made a spinning, scrambling catch of a Danny Espinosa drive in the seventh, that was sparkling.
And I’m good with Tim Flannery sending Pablo Sandoval from second base to try to score, in the sixth inning with two outs, even though Pablo was easily thrown out at the plate on a perfect throw from Jayson Werth.
When a team is struggling against another, you have to stretch the opponent’s defense, and force it to make perfect plays. If the defense is up to it, then you tip your cap. In this case, with Fister ratcheting up his arsenal, every time he got into trouble, Flannery figured it was now or never. Unfortunately, it was never.
Madison Bumgarner started for the Giants and went seven innings, giving up two runs on nine hits, while striking out five and intentionally walking one batter. While not at his best in terms of hits allowed, he still pitched beautifully, throwing 102 pitches over his seven innings, and it added up to a quality start.
Offensively for the Giants, it was Pablo Sandoval, with three hits and a walk, and six of his teammates, with a single apiece. They were simply overmatched by a red-hot Nationals pitching staff.
We knew before Washington arrived that they were blistering, and they have proven it for the first two games. The Giants got thrashed in the first game, played tough the second and almost pulled it off, so I expect great success in the third game.
Fortunately, there are still two games left to prevent a series loss. Right now, a split is a mighty attractive option.