October 25, 2014

Washington Nationals Game 128 Review: Nats Blow Past Giants, Win Series

BEHIND A SIX-RUN SIXTH, NATIONALS TAKE 2-OF-3 FROM SAN FRANCISCO

In front of 35,000-plus at Nationals Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for baseball, the Washington Nationals defeated the San Francisco Giants by a score of 14-6 to end their 10-game homestand.

Things got ugly in a hurry for Nationals’ starter Stephen Strasburg. To lead-off the game, Gregor Blanco took a 3-2 pitch deep to right for a solo shot. An inning later, Travis Ishikawa led-off the second inning with a solo-shot of his own, this time to center field.

Down 2-0, it was clear that the bats were going to have to support the pitcher.

Through the first three innings of the game, however, Giants’ starter Ryan Vogelsong pitched a no-hitter. By the time the Nationals got their first hit in the bottom of the fourth inning, San Francisco had tacked on three more runs in the third inning to make it 5-0.

Better late than never, Washington mounted their comeback.

To lead off the bottom-half of the fourth, Jayson Werth (2-for-4, RBI, BB) and Adam LaRoche (2-for-4, 2 RBI, BB) hit back-to-back doubles to plate Washington’s first run. After moving to third on a Bryce Harper groundout, Asdrubal Cabrera (2-for-3, RBI, BB) doubled to score LaRoche and bring Washington back within three, 5-2.

Craig Stammen took over for Strasburg who saw his day end after allowing five earned runs in four innings work while striking just four.

In the top of the sixth, San Francisco extended their lead back to four runs as Hunter Pence hit a sacrifice fly that scored Gregor Blanco who tripled to leadoff the inning.

Right on cue, however, the Nationals continued their comeback in the bottom of the frame.

After LaRoche struck out to begin the inning, Ian Desmond (2-for-5, 2 RBI) hit his 21st homer of the year on the first pitch of his at-bat. San Francisco then removed Vogelsong for the game with the hopes that Jeremy Affeldt and their bullpen bring to a halt any momentum Washington could have had.

Little did they know, the Nationals were only getting started.

Bryce Harper (2-for-5, 2 RBI) then doubled and advanced to third on an infield single by Cabrera. With Jose Lobaton (3-for-4, RBI, BB) at the dish, Affeldt threw a wild pitch that allowed Harper to scored and moved Cabrera to second. On the very next pitch, Lobaton singled to left, which allowed Cabrera to score.

Scott Hairston (1-for-1, RBI) then pinch-hit for Stammen. On the second pitch of his at-bat, he doubled down the left-field line. Giants outfielder Michael Morse initially misplayed the ball, which allowed Lobaton to score all the way from first. After Denard Span (2-for-6, RBI) put runners at the corners on an infield single, Affeldt was replaced by Jean Machi.

With the game tied, it seemed, at first, that Machi would be able to end the Nationals’ rally after picking off Span at first base. However, Werth and LaRoche would continue the rally with back-to-back RBI singles.

By the time the dust had settled, Washington had plated six runs on eight hits to take an 8-6 lead.

Washington scored one more run in the seventh, a Span RBI single, and five more runs in the eighth, highlighted by a pair of homers from Harper and Danny Espinosa (2-for-2, 2 RBI), to bring about the final score of 14-6.

Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano combined to through the final three innings, combining to give up just one hit while striking out two.

Affeldt would be handed the loss while Stammen earned his fourth win of the season. Storen and Clippard were both awarded holds, their 17th and 30th respectively.

Tomorrow, the Nationals are in Philadelphia to begin a three-game series with the Phillies. Tanner Roark will take the mound for Washington and the Phillies will respond will A.J. Burnett. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM EST.

Game Notes

  • Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from the game in the seventh inning for an injury. After the game, he became listed as day-to-day for soreness in his side.
  • The Nationals went 10-for-17 with runners in scoring position, one of their best performances of the season.
  • With a 1-2-3 inning, Drew Storen lowered his ERA to 1.50, giving him the best ERA in the Nationals’ bullpen.
  • Stephen Strasburg’s shaky season continued on Sunday. After going eight innings and giving up one run in his last outing, he struggled to give up five runs in half as many innings against the Giants. His ERA now climbs to 3.59 and he drops to an even .500 record at 10-10.
About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. He is currently earning a degree in Sports Communications at Shepherd University. Brian was the author of the D.C. sports blog "The Skinny on Sports" but has been a contributor to Yahoo Sports and Rant Sports in recent years. You can follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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