A tough night for Doug Fister, who gave up four runs in six innings, coupled with a bad night for a pair of bullpen lefties, led to the end of the Washington Nationals’ (73-54) ten-game win streak, as they fell 10-3 to the San Francisco Giants (68-59).
Fister (L, 13-4) gave up two home runs in a start for only the third time this year, one of which was his famously bad Nationals debut in Oakland. The Nats actually led this game, 1-0, after an error on a double steal scored Anthony Rendon in the first inning. But after two straight two-out hits in the fourth, rookie Joe Panik launched his first career home run to dead center, handing the Giants a 3-1 advantage.
Jayson Werth got one back in the home half of the frame, firing a bullet to the left field seats to halve the deficit, but that would be all of the positivity for the Nationals. Fister gave up another homer, this to Buster Posey, in the sixth. Of course, when all the runs you give up come on homers, your line will look much worse than you pitched, but here are Fister’s final stats: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.
Meanwhile, longtime Nats nemesis Tim Hudson did it again. The run in the first was unearned, so Hudson ended up with another strong outing against the Nats: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K.
Now, you may be confused. “It ended 10-3? But Fister only gave up four runs!” Yes, that is true. But thanks to some interesting bullpen management, the Nationals gave up six more.
Jerry Blevins tossed a clean seventh inning. It was a good use of him; the rest of the bullpen was somewhat taxed and he faced a lefty, a switch-hitter who is worse against lefties, and a pinch-hitting rookie, in addition to a great-hitting righty vet in Hunter Pence. But for some reason, Manager Matt Williams chose to keep him out for the eighth inning, which is where things got ugly. He oddly retired two righties before letting three lefties reach base, including a two-run double from Travis Ishikawa. Blevins should certainly not be used for two innings under any circumstance, especially in a close game. After the eighth, the Giants led 6-2.
In the ninth, it was the defense that set up reliever Ross Detwiler to fail. An error and some missed plays led Detwiler to give up four runs, three earned, on four hits. Ian Desmond got one back on a ninth-inning double, but that would be it.
The Atlanta Braves won their seventh game in eight with a victory over Cincinnati tonight, moving back to only six games behind the Nationals in the NL East. The Nats will aim to avoid a winning streak hangover as their series against the Giants continues tomorrow.