Washington Nationals Avoid Sweep With 2-1 Win Over San Francisco Giants: Bryce Harper Homers, Scores Winning Run

Ezra Shaw

Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper blamed himself for last night's loss, but he can take credit for today's win after homering and scoring on an Ian Desmond single for the Nats' only two runs in a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants that helped the Nationals avoid getting swept out of AT&T.

"Lemonade! Lemonade!" A vendor was clearly audible in the mix along with the announcers and other crowd sounds on the broadcast of this afternoon's series finale between the visiting Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants in AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. Giants' lefty Madison Bumgarner was in the process of putting the Nats down in order in what ended up being a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 first in which he struck out the side.

Angel Pagan hit the sixth pitch of Gio Gonzalez's first to right for an opposite field single to lead off the home-half of the inning. A walk to Marco Scutaro was followed by a fly to right by Buster Posey on which Pagan advanced to third. Home plate ump Gary Darling liked Gonzalez's 0-2 curve to Hunter Pence, though Pence and the Giants' bench objected to the called strike three. A 2-2 curve to Brett Pill got the Giants' first baseman swinging for out no.3 and got the Nationals' starter out of a scoreless first after 23 pitches. 0-0 in game three of three in AT&T.

The Giants' had the National League's 3rd highest average against lefties (.265), and they were ninth in the NL in OBP (.304) and SLG (.372) before this afternoon's matchup against the Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez. The Nationals entered the game with an NL-worst sweep, (.191/.263/.287), 15th of 15 across the line, with no luck at all (.242 BABIP also 15th) to the Giants' .315 BABIP, which was good for third overall in the National League. But it's really just fair to say the Nationals aren't hitting good (or well, whatever) in general. No need to get specific.

Ian Desmond walked in an eight-pitch at bat in the top of the second, but Madison Bumgarner retired the next three Nats in order to get through two scoreless on 34 pitches. Still 0-0. Andres Torres lined one over Denard Span and bounced a ground-rule double into the center field stands with one down in the Giants' second. Two outs later, however, Torres was stranded at second after Gio Gonzalez popped up Brandon Crawford and struck Bumgarner out to end a 15-pitch frame at 38 pitches overall.

The Giants' left-handed starter left a 1-2 fastball to Gio Gonzalez up in the zone and surrendered the first hit of the game for the Nationals with one down in the top of the third. Denard Span struck out for the second time in two at bats vs Madison Bumgarner for the second out of the inning though and Bryce Harper flew to right to end the frame. Still 0-0. 54 pitches for Bumgarner. Gio Gonzalez was at 47 overall when Buster Posey grounded to sharply to third with two down in the Giants' third. Ryan Zimmerman made a backhanded play, but the force knocked him back, so his throw was wilder than usual but Adam LaRoche was his Gold Glove self, going up to get the high throw and applying the tag when Posey avoided the first swipe but went past the bag. 3 outs.

Adam LaRoche "doubled" when his broken bat fly to left died just inside the line halfway into the outfield. Tyler Moore spit on three offspeed pitches out of the zone from Bumgarner after he'd fallen behind 0-2, but he hit a one-hop liner out to Brandon Crawford at short for the third out of a scoreless Nationals' fourth. Gio Gonzalez needed 18 pitches to retire the Giants in order in bottom of the fourth. After Hunter Pence flew out to right, the Nats' lefty got Brett Pill looking with a 1-2 heater knee-high outside and got a grounder to short from Joaquin Arias on his 65th pitch of the game. Grounder. Desmond. Out. 65 pitches after four. Eight straight and 12 of 13 set down by the Nats' starter after the first two runners of the game reached base.

Danny Espinosa was 0 for 2 today and 1 for 29 two at bats into the 10th game of 10 on the Nationals' road trip. Gio Gonzalez bunted Kurt Suzuki over to second after the Nats' catcher connected for the third hit of the game off the Giants' starter, but Bumgarner popped Denard Span up to end a seven-pitch, two-out at bat after which it was still scoreless in San Francisco. 0-0.

Gio Gonzalez got the first out of the fifth when Andres Torres grounded to short on the first pitch of the inning. Grounder. Desmond. Out. Brandon Crawford singled with one down to break Gonzalez's retired batter streak at nine. Madison Bumgarner fouled off a two-strike bunt attempt for out no.2 of the Giants' fifth. Crawford stole second (and his first base this year) on Gonzalez and Kurt Suzuki (who was 3 for 30 this year on SB attempts) with two down, but was stranded there when Angel Pagan popped to second to end the fifth. 19-pitch inning, 84 pitches overall Gio Gonzalez.

Madison Bumgarner went away with a 1-2 fastball to Bryce Harper, but left it up outside allowing the Nats' 20-year-old outfielder to push an opposite field blast out to left and just over the TOYOTA sign on AT&T Park's left field wall for a solo blast, home run no.12 of 2013 and a 1-0 Nats' lead. Three quick outs later it was 1-0 Nationals after five and a half. Gio Gonzalez got a weak grounder back to the mound from Marco Scutaro with the second pitch of the Giants' sixth. Buster Posey grounded to short for out no.2. Grounder. Desmond. Out. Hunter Pence flew towards right-center with two down... uh-oh... but Bryce Harper was on his horse and he leapt a few steps onto the track to pull it down. 3 outs. Nine pitch inning for Gio Gonzalez. 93 overall after six.

Danny Espinosa walked with one down in the top of the seventh, but two quick outs later Madison Bumgarner was through seven on 115 pitches, having surrendered just four hits and one run. Gio Gonzalez gave up a two-out double to right by Andres Torres in the bottom of the inning, but got a groundout to second from Brandon Crawford to end a 14-pitch inning at 107 overall up 1-0 on the Giants.

Denard Span singled off left-handed reliever Jose Mijares to start the Nationals' eighth. Bryce Harper flew to left in the next at bat and the Giants brought Chad Gaudin out to face Ryan Zimmerman with one down. The Nats' third baseman worked the count full after starting down 0-2, and walked on a low full-count pitch from the right-handed reliever. Ian Desmond grounded into a force at second for out no.2 and San Francisco went to the bullpen for Javier Lopez again with Adam LaRoche (0 for 7, 7 Ks vs Lopez) due up with two down. Desmond stole second with LaRoche up, and the Nats' first baseman too worked back to a full count after starting 0-2 but was 0 for 8 career vs the left-hander after popping up to short left to end the Nats' eighth.

Pablo Sandoval rolled Gio Gonzalez's 111th pitch out to third for the first out of the Giants' eighth. Ryan Zimmerman fielded it and fired an underhand strike to first. A one-out walk ended Gio Gonzalez's day after 116 pitches. Drew Storen came on to face Marco Scutaro and missed with a 3-2 slider to issue the second-straight walk. Buster Posey singled through short on an 0-1 slider and once again it was tied. Bryce Harper made a sliding catch on a Hunter Pence liner to left for out no.2. Brandon Belt hit for Brett Pitt with two down and hit a low liner... right to Adam LaRoche on a hop. The Nats' first baseman snagged it and got a force at second. Three outs. 1-1 after eight.

Roger Bernadina grounded out to start the ninth against Sergio Romo. Danny Espinosa hit a one-out single to left off the GIants' right-handed reliever. Hunter Pence made a sliding catch to rob Kurt Suzuki of a one-out single. Chad Tracy stepped in with two down and took a backdoor 0-2 slider Romo thought was strike three before K'ing looking at a 2-2 pitch to end the top of the ninth. Tyler Clippard came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Joaquin Arias worked the count full before striking out swinging through a fastball. A 3-2 change got Andres Torres swinging. A fly to right by Brandon Crawford sent it to extras.

Bryce Harper doubled to right off Giants' lefty Jeremy Affeldt with one down in the Nationals' tenth. Ryan Zimmerman got a free pass in front of Ian Desmond and the Nationals' shortstop made them pay with an RBI single through second that scored Harper for a 2-1 lead. Desmond took second on the throw home. Adam LaRoche grounded back to the mound for out no.2 and Roger Bernadina K'd swinging for out no.3. Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano got a second chance at save no.13. Gregor Blanco popped up foul of third for out no.1. ONE!!! Angel Pagan flew to Harper for out no.2. TWO!!! Marco Scutaro flew to deeeeep left and [CHOMP!] Ballgame. Nats salvage one.

Work's done! Untuck that jersey, son!!

Nationals win, 2-1 final.

Nationals now 24-23

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