As the Washington Nationals went all the way out west to face the San Francisco Giants, it was a safe bet to expect pitcher's duel after pitcher's duel from this series. With the Nats top three starters going against three strong Giants starters, a low-scoring series was in order. Monday night’s game blew that concept out of the water.
With Ryan Vogelsong on the bump for the Giants, he of the NL-best 2.27 ERA entering action on Monday, gave up a lead off single to Steve Lombardozzi in the first, who scored on a Ryan Zimmerman double. That’s all she wrote until the third inning, when he got massacred by the Nationals offense.
Almost everyone found a way to get to Vogelsong in that third inning before getting pulled with two outs. The only person who didn’t get on base was Gio Gonzalez, who struck out twice in the same inning. I won’t bore you with the details (check the box score here), but the Nats ended up scoring seven runs that inning, making the score 8-0.
The score wasn’t insurmountable, as we saw in the Nationals 11-10 loss to the Braves a few weeks back. They led that game 9-0 at one point. But this time, the Giants weren’t able to recover. The Nats tacked on six runs in the remaining six innings, and they ended up with an astonishing 21 hits.
This was a statement win if I had ever seen one. Not a "turning point" or "the most important win ever," but it was a statement. The Nats just had an eight-game winning streak ended by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle of a 10-game road trip out west. They dealt with time zone changes and no days off and beat a really good Giants team in dominating fashion.
Even Andrew Baggarly, the CSN Bay Area correspondent for the Giants and the Jeopardy champion, was impressed with the Nats. It seems like the Giants’ players were, too. All of this happened without Stephen Strasburg pitching. It was Gio Gonzalez that put together 6.2 innings of two-run, six-hit baseball, which earned him his 15th win of the season, just one away from tying his career high for a season.