Washington Nationals End "First Half" With 6-2 Loss To Buster Posey And The San Francisco Giants.

Today's First-Half-Ending Top 5: 

5. First Inning Runs Streak Starts Again: Nats' right-hander Livan Hernandez gives up a leadoff single, sac bunt and back to back walks to load the bases with one out in the first inning of the Sunday finale with the San Francisco Giants. Travis Ishikawa singles through second to score Aaron Rowand, who'd singled and Aubrey Huff, who'd taken the first one-out walk. 2-0 Giants. Juan Uribe up with Buster Posey, the second walk, on second, and Ishikawa at first. Livan Hernandez throws a fastball by Uribe for a swinging strike three. Pablo Sandoval pops out to Pudge Rodriguez, 2-0 Giants after a half...

• Livan pitches like he wants to stay in DC: (L, 6-5), 5.0 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's, 83 pitches, 54 strikes, 3 groundouts, 8 flyouts. 

4. Buster Posey Is For Reals, But...: 20-year-old Giants' left-hander Madison Bumgarner was plenty impressive, holding the punchless Nats' offense to six hits through six scoreless innings of work, continuing a streak of scoreless innings pitched that stood at 16.1 IP when the leadoff single that Ian Desmond hit to start the seventh would lead to the only run Bumgarner allowed today. Cristian Guzman drove in Desmond. Bumgarner's replacement, Chris Ray gave up the hit, and loaded the bases for Adam Dunn, who knocked in the second run with a grounder off Ray's heel for an RBI infield single, but the Nats' left the bases loaded when Sergio Romo replaced Ray and struck out Josh Willingham before popping up Pudge...(ed. note - "Pudge's pop-up strands three, Michael Morse grounds into a double play with two on and no out in the second, and flies out to right with the bases loaded and two out in the sixth..RISP FAIL!! or as the estimable Doghouse put it in the final post game WPA graph of the first half (thanks, Fangraphs.com!): 

Doghouse: "Rally killaz: Mike Morse (-19.6%) hits into an inning-ending, bases-loaded GDP (-11.7%), while Josh Willingham (-7.3%) and Ivan Rodriguez (-4.3%) strike out (-10.4%) and fly out (-10.2%), respectively, with the bases loaded to squelch a 7th-inning comeback."

3. Buster Posey Is For Reals: 2 for 3 with a 2-RBI triple over Nyjer Morgan's head in center on Sunday, the Giants' 23-year-old backstop goes 7 for 10 in the three-game series in DC, with a double, triple, HR and 5 RBI's, and heads into the All-Star break hitting .350/.389/.569 with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 7 HR's, 8 walks and 25 RBI's in 38 games and 137 at bats. The 5th pick of the '08 Draft in back of only Tim Beckham (TB), Pedro Alvarez (PIT), Eric Hosmer (KC) and Brian Matusz (BAL) and three picks before the Nationals selected RHP Aaron Crow, Posey hit .333/.427/.542 in 172 games over three seasons in the Giants' system before assuming the full-time role behind the plate for San Francisco following the trade that sent veteran Bengie Molina to Texas to clear the spot for the rookie. 

2. Adam Dunn Goes The Other Way: During an interview internet writers conducted with Adam Dunn, Willie Harris, Ryan Zimmerman and (a silent, simply observing) Nick Johnson last year I sheepishly asked the Nats' big middle-of-the-order bat Adam Dunn a question that had been a topic of much-discussion on Federal Baseball at the time: 

"FB: I just had a question for Adam, one of the readers on my site wanted to know if you'd changed your hitting approach, at all, we noticed you hitting a lot more singles and opposite field hits in general?

Adam Dunn: "Yeah, I was uh, yeah, I've been working on that a lot, trying to hit, you know, a lot more singles this year and, um, you know, just trying to slap the ball to left, and things like that, you know try to use my speed game more...HECK NO, MAN!! (LAUGHTER)...Nah, you know, I don't know I think, it's a lot of little mechanical things, and you kind of work on and continue to work on, and just kinda allowing me to uh, you know, do that, I'm not trying to hit singles."

Dunn ended the first-half of the 2010 campaign hitting .288/.372/.588 with 92 hits, 26 doubles, 2 triples, 22 HR's and 59 RBI's in 88 games and 320 at bats, in which he's repeatedly beaten the shift and sprayed the ball around the field, even hitting 3 of his 13 Nationals Park HR's this year out to the left-center Red Porch seats. Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman was asked after Friday night's game about Dunn's "newfound" ability to go the other way: 

Jim Riggleman: "Yeah, you know I think we saw him hit a few out that way last year, and here in this homestand I think that we've really seen that, and when he hits them to right, we know what that's going to do, but to hit them to left is a beautiful thing, it means he's staying through the ball longer, and he's just kinda making a better decision about swing or take, and anytime you have power to the opposite field the way him and Zim do, Zim hits a lot of them into right-center, when they're doing that they're on top of their game." 

1. First Half Ends: The first half actually ended a few games back when the Nationals dropped the 81st game of the season to the New York Mets, 5-3 to leave them 35-46. Today's loss to the Giants leaves the Nats 5-5 on a "first-half"-ending 10-game homestand in which they dropped 2 for 4 to the NY Mets and 2 or 3 to the San Francisco Giants while winning 2 for 3 against the San Diego Padres. Going into the All-Star Game break, Washington is 39-50, 13.5 games out of first in the NL East, but with 13 more wins than their 26-63 record in 2009 after 89 games and 5 more wins than their 34-55 mark after 89 games in 2008...

• Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching...

Num Name - Comments
1 rachel216 - 64
2 Princess Jazzy - 64
3 RoscoeNats - 58
4 grizzy - 55
5 Dave from NNN - 35
6 gannett123 - 27
7 cat daddy3000 - 26
8 MissB - 16
9 Doghouse - 11
10 TJL - 10

• Final Score: Giants 5, Nationals 2.

Nationals now 39-50.

FULL GAME REPORT: 

1 - Nats' right-hander Livan Hernandez gives up a leadoff single Aaron Rowand, who gets a grounder under Livan's feet and off Cristian Guzman's glove at second. A sac bunt by Freddy Sanchez moves Rowand up. Livan Hernandez walks Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey in back-to-back AB's. Rowand and Huff score on a single through second by Travis Ishikawa, 2-0 Giants. Juan Uribe strikes out swinging. Pablo Sandoval pops out to Pudge Rodriguez..2-0 after a half...Nyjer Morgan takes one in the shoulder and takes a base. Cristian Guzman grounds to Freddy Sanchez at second, Uribe at short and Travis Ishikawa at first, double play. Ryan Zimmerman rips a single up the middle. Adam Dunn goes down swinging. 

2 - Nate Schierholtz flies out to Guzman in short left. Madison Bumgarner's swinging bunt dies in front of home. Pudge Rodriguez throws him out. Aaron Rowand flies to short center, 1-2-3 second for Livan Hernandez...Josh Willingham hits a grounder through Pablo Sandoval's bamboo wickets. Mike Morse grounds to short, Uribe to Sanchez to Ishikawa, double play. Two down for Ian Desmond, who K's swinging. 

3 - Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff both single to center to start the Giants' third. Buster Posey lifts a slow curve to center and off the wall by Nyjer Morgan, two runs score, 4-0 Giants. 5-0 when Posey scores on a sac fly to center by Travis Ishikawa. Juan Uribe K's swinging again. Pablo Sandonval flies out to center...Livan Hernandez lines out to Freddy Sanchez at second. Nyjer Morgan K's swinging at a full-count fastball. Cristian Guzman takes a pitch off the shoe. Ryan Zimmerman flies out to right, Nate Schierholtz gets to it and stretches to make the grab. 

4 - Nate Schierholtz K's looking to start the fourth. Livan Hernandez hustles off the mound for a swinging bunt by Bumgarner and throws to first, in time! Aaron Rowand flies to right to end the Giants' fourth...Adam Dunn gets a grounder by Travis Ishikawa, beating the shift. Josh Willingham flies out to Schierholtz in right. One down. Pudge K's swinging at a 1-2 curve ball outside. Michael Morse grounds back to the mound, Bumgarner knocks it down and throws him out. 

5 - Freddy Sanchez flies out to left to start the fifth. Aubrey Huff pops a curve up to second. Buster Posey K's swinging through an 84mph fastball...Ian Desmond K's chasing a low sinking fastball. Michael Morse pops out to Schierholtz in right. Nyjer Morgan flies out to left, 5-0 Giants after five.

6 - Travis Ishikawa pops out to Desmond foul of third, one down. Doug Slaten gets a groundout to short from Juan Uribe for Ian Desmond, two down. The Big Panda grounds out to his counterpart at third, Zim throws to first...Cristian Guzman K's looking to start the Nats' sixth. Ryan Zimmerman grounds to third, Pablo Sandoval's throw just beats Zim to first, according to the ump. Adam Dunn drops a soft fly ball into the left-center gap. Josh Willingham rips a liner through short. Pudge Rodriguez singles to center and Rowand misplays it, but not enough to let Dunn score. Bases loaded for Michael Morse. Morse flies to Schierholtz in right to strand three.

7 - Michael Morse charges to catch a line drive off of Schierholtz's bat. Touche. Madison Bumgarner flies out to center. Aaron Rowand Ks swinging  to end the Giants' seventh...Ian Desmond lines to center, Rowand can't get there, leadoff single. Bumgarner's done. Chris Ray pitching to Wilie Harris, Desmond steals second. Harris takes ball four inside. Nyjer Morgan flies out to left center. Cristian Guzman singles to center to score Desmond making it 5-1 Giants. Ryan Zimmerman walks to load the bases for Adam Dunn. Jeremy Affeldt replaces Ray. Dunn grounds one off Affeldt and to Uribe at short, but Dunn beats out an RBI infield single, 5-2. Josh Willingham vs Sergio Romo. Willingham K's chasing sliders outside. Pudge Rodriguez flies out center. Bases left loaded. 

8 - Drew Storen starts the eighth on the mound. Freddy Sanchez walks to start the frame. Aubrey Huff pops out to Desmond behind short. Buster Posey flies out to right field. Travis Ishikawa lines a single to right to put runners on first and third. Juan Uribe drives in the Giants' sixth run, scoring Sanchez from third with a single to center off Storen, 6-2 Giants. Sean Burnett gets the Big Panda swinging to end the top of the eighth...Mike Morse K's chasing Romo's slider. One down. Ian Desmond takes a one-out walk. Adam Kennedy flies out to center. Romo gives up a two-out line drive single to Nyjer Morgan. Brian WIlson gets a groundout from Guzman to short to end the eighth.

9 - Nate Schierholtz lines out to Willingham in left. Matt Capps throws a high fastball by pinch hitter Edgar Renteria. Aaron Rowand grounds to third, and Zim ends the first half with a trademark field and throw...Ryan Zimmerman vs Brian Wilson. Zimmerman grounds out to short. One down. Adam Dunn grounds out to third. Pudge Rodriguez's fly ball to right ends the first "half" of the 2010 schedule.

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