As we have seen them do so many times in past seasons, the San Francisco Giants waited for a tough opponent to play its best game, soundly defeating the Washington Nationals Friday night in Nationals Park, after rookie Joe Panik went four for five, leading the offense with his first career major league home run, coming off of Doug Fister. Buster Posey hit a solo shot, Travis Ishikawa added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning with a ringing double to right field, the Giants tacked on four more in the ninth, and cruised to a 10-3 win.
Tim Hudson started for the Giants, and pitched five-and-a-third innings, giving up two runs, one earned, on five hits, one walk, with three K’s. He never allowed more than one base runner at a time in an inning, except for the first, and he was assisted by Buster Posey’s pick-off of Bryce Harper in the second inning and a double play grounder from Denard Span in the third. Jayson Werth hit a solo home run off of Hudson in the fourth.
Javier Lopez was brought in after Werth singled in the bottom of the sixth, with one out. It took Lopez five pitches to strike out Adam LaRoche and induce a groundout to shortstop from Ian Desmond, thus sending the game to the seventh inning.
Jean Machi came on in the seventh and retired five consecutive batters, until Anthony Rendon singled up the middle with two outs in the eighth. Bruce Bochy brought Sergio Romo in and he retired the dangerous Jayson Werth by striking him out swinging at a pitch that was low and away, Romo’s specialty.
Juan Gutierrez came in to mop up in the ninth, but ended up surrendering a walk, a two-out RBI-double to Wilson Ramos, and another walk to Asdrubal Cabrera, before he got pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa to strike out to end the game.
Doug Fister started for the Nationals and went six innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits, with a walk and three K’s. After not being able to score off of Fister the first time they faced him this season in seven innings, the Giants left nothing to chance, going with the long ball, and enjoying Joe Panik’s first major league big fly.
It was no cheap one and came in a critical game at a key point with two men on board, allowing the Giants to come from behind, against a pitcher who had not given up an earned run in his last three starts.
Every starting position player had at least one hit except for Brandon Crawford, and five different Giants had RBI’s, with Panik having three, Posey and Ishikawa two apiece. Pagan and Posey had two hits each, with Pagan being robbed twice by excellent defensive plays. It was gratifying to see the Giants continue to score runs against an excellent team.
After Fister left the game, the usually reliable Nationals bullpen hit a serious bump, as Jerry Blevins gave up two earned runs in two innings, and Ross Detwiler surrendered four runes in the ninth, three of them earned.
These are some of the obstacles the Giants had to overcome, entering the game tonight in our nation’s capital, in order to secure a win:
* The Nationals had a franchise-best ten game winning streak going into the game.
* They had won five of their last six games in walk-off fashion.
* Tonight’s starter, Doug Fister, was riding a three-game 0-fer, having gone at least seven innings in each of the previous three games, without surrendering an earned run.
* The last time Fister faced the Giants, earlier this season on June 11th, he shut them out for seven innings, as the Nationals won the game, 2-1.
* In his last ten starts, Tim Hudson was 1-6 with a 4.03 ERA, giving up 69 hits in 60.1 IP, while walking thirteen and striking out thirty-five.
* Hudson’s most recent start against the Phils resulted in his shortest outing of the season, at four innings. He gave up five earned on eight hits with three BB’s. The Giants scored the go-ahead run when Gregor Blanco singled in Joe Panik in the eighth.
Tonight’s win was a stirring victory, an indication that there is still some get-up-and-go from San Francisco. They need to keep the momentum going against this red-hot Nationals team, by taking tomorrow’s game, and they have Tim Lincecum going for them.
Pending the outcome of the game between the Dodgers and the Mets, the Giants are only three back of LA. The Giants are a late season team and are doing exactly what they need to do, to keep their hats in the ring. A series win over the Nationals would keep that impression alive.