September 20, 2019

Washington Nationals Game 114 Review: Bats quiet once again in San Fran

HARPER HAS TWO OF NATS’ FIVE HITS ON THE NIGHT

In the midst of a make-or-break 10-game west coast road trip, the Washington Nationals fell to 1-3 in the first four games as the offense struggled yet again, falling to the San Francisco Giants 3-1 at AT&T Park.

The Nats fell yet another game, 4 1/2 now, behind the division leading New York Mets, 12-3 winners over Colorado.

Washington has scored one run in its last three games. The Nats managed just five hits against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong and two relievers, with two coming from banged-up Bryce Harper.

Things got off to a good start, as Yunel Escobar launched the first pitch of the game from Vogelsong into the left center bleachers for a leadoff home run. Vogelsong then walked the bases loaded with two outs, but Wilson Ramos grounded out to end the threat.

But the Giants came right back in the bottom of the frame against Strasburg. Gregor Blanco led off with a triple and scored immediately on Matt Duffy’s single. Brandon Belt worked a walk, and Buster Posey followed with a single to left center, scoring Duffy.

Strasburg settled down at that point and struck out Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford, then got Justin Maxwell to ground out to leave two stranded.

The Nats challenged again in the fourth. Ian Desmond walked and went to third on Ramos’ single to center. But Michael Taylor popped out and Strasburg couldn’t help himself, swinging through strike three.

The Giants didn’t have much on Strasburg (L, 6-6, 4.62) after that first inning either. The Nats starter went six innings and allowed seven hits and two walks, striking out eight. It was far from his last start, his first off the disabled list, but it was certainly good enough to win on most nights.

The Giants picked up an insurance run in the seventh against Felipe Rivero. With one out, Blanco coaxed a base on ball, then stole second base. Duffy grounded out, but Brandon Belt dunked one into right field in front of Jayson Werth and Blanco scored without a throw.

In the ninth, Taylor’s two-out double set up Danny Espinosa as the game-tying run at the plate, but Espinosa (14 at bats in August) struck out swinging to end the game.

HERO: Strasburg pitched well enough to win. Bryce Harper, banged up knee and all, went 2 for 3 with his nightly walk and a stolen base in the eighth inning. Harper also threw out Buster Posey at the plate.

GOAT: Jayson Werth. Not the only Nat not hitting, but he’s killing the team, hitting in the middle of the order every night. He’s 8 for 56 (.142) since returning from the D.L. with just three walks (one tonight) and four extra base hits.

NEXT GAME: Friday at 10:10 pm. Max Scherzer (11-8, 2.44) faces Matt Cain (2-3, 5.59).

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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