Nationals 4-2 Over Giants: Adam LaRoche's 17th HR The Difference

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

An argument in the dugout between Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez. A two-run blast by Adam LaRoche. Some strong work by Washington's bullpen. Tonight's game had it all and with a rain delay mixed in it took over four and half hours to complete it. 4-2 Nats over the San Francisco Giants.

What is Gio Gonzalez rebelling against? I'm fairly sure the Washington Nationals' 27-year-old left-hander would respond to that question with one of his own. "What have you got?" Gonzalez, a Hialeah, Florida-born starter and normally well-groomed and dressed young pitcher has apparently cut back on the regular haircuts, which came with such frequency that Davey Johnson once remarked, "I know guys that eat pancakes on the day that they pitch, but I've never met one who had a haircut every time he pitched."

Had Gonzalez gotten over to cover on a grounder to first by Buster Posey, he might have had a double play on a one-out grounder to Adam LaRoche by the Giants' catcher that would have completed a quick top of the first for the Nationals' lefty. But the Nats and their left-hander settled for a force at second after the two San Francisco batters of reached base on a one-out double by Joaquin Arias and a walk to Brandon Belt. Well, the Nats settled for the force after Ian Desmond got the out at second on Posey's grounder and threw behind Arias at third in an attempt to catch the Giants' outfielder sleeping that only succeeded in making Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman dive for a low throw. No dice. It was first and third with two outs instead, but Gonzalez got a groundout to second from Hunter Pence to end a 19-pitch first. 0-0.

Anthony Rendon doubled for the 16th time this season, sending an 0-1 fastball to right for a one-out, opposite field, two-base hit off Madison Bumgarner, but the Giants' left-handed starter got a line drive to left out of Jayson Werth that Giants' left fielder Jeff Francoeur caught to end a 21-pitch bottom of the inning.

Gio Gonzalez and Jayson Werth apparently had words in the dugout after the first, with both shouting and getting in each other's faces. Was it because Gonzalez didn't get over to cover? Was it the way Werth played Arias' double to right? Who knows? Gonzalez went back out to the mound and got three quick outs on 18 pitches on a fly to right from Pablo Sandoval, an angry 2-2 curve to Jeff Francoeur that got Frenchy swinging and a full-count fastball to Brandon Crawford that the shortstop lined to Denard Span in center field. 33 pitches in two scoreless by Gonzalez.


Madison Bumgarner retired the Nationals in order in a 16-pitch bottom of the second that had the Giants' lefty up to 37 pitches overall after two scoreless as well.

Bumgarner walked to start the top of the third, but the Giants' lefty was thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch when Wilson Ramos played the carom quickly and threw a strike to second that beat the slow-footed pitcher to the bag. An Andre Torres grounder to second and a Brandon Belt liner to Scott Hairston in left ended a 15-pitch third that had Gio Gonzalez up to 52 pitches.

Scott Hairston and Denard Span hit singles around a botched sac bunt attempt by Gio Gonzalez to put runners on first and second with one down in the Nats' third. Anthony Rendon K'd looking for out no.2 on a 2-2 slider from Madison Bumgarner, but Ryan Zimmerman walked to load the bases for Jayson Werth... only to have Werth K swinging through a 92 mph 1-2 fastball to leave'em loaded. Scoreless after three in D.C. 21-pitch inning, 58 overall for the Giants' left-handed starter.

Buster Posey lined to right on a 94 mph 2-2 fastball for a leadoff single in the top of the fourth, but he was forced out at second on a weak grounder to third by Hunter Pence. Pablo Sandoval popped to second for the second out of the Giants' fourth, but Anthony Rendon failed to come up with grounder up the middle by Jeff Francoeur that got by the Nats' second baseman's backhanded attempt. Brandon Crawford stepped in with two on and two out, but went down looking at a 1-2 fastball outside on Gio Gonzalez's 17th pitch of the inning. 69 overall for Gonzalez after four. Still 0-0 in the nation's capital..

Ian Desmond doubled off the out-of-town scoreboard in right, starting the bottom of the inning with his 32nd two-base hit of 2013. Adam LaRoche hit a first-pitch slider to right for a single that moved Desmond over to third, and Wilson Ramos brought him in with a grounder back to the mound that bounced off Madison Bumgarner's lower leg/shin and bounced over to third where Pablo Sandoval made the play to get an out at first. 1-0 Nationals after four in the nation's capital.

The rain started as the Nationals took the field for the top of the fifth...

... over an hour later, the game resumed with Tanner Roark on the mound for the Nationals and Kurt Suzuki behind the dish for the home team in the Giants' half of the fifth. No word on what might be wrong with Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos, who started the game. Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias hit back-to-back two-out singles off Roark, bringing Buster Posey to the plate with two on, and Posey's grounder toward short got under Ian Desmond's glove. 1-1 game when Arias scores from third. 1-1 after four and a half in D.C.

Guillermo Moscoso took over for Madison Bumgarner in the Nationals' fifth and walked the first batter he faced, Denard Span, in a seven-pitch at bat. Anthony Rendon walked on six pitches to put two on for Ryan Zimmerman, who sent one back up the middle, off Moscoso and out to second to start a 1-4-6-3 DP. Span took third on the play, but was stranded there when Jayson Werth struck out to end the fifth.

Pablo Sandoval singled to left to start the sixth, but Tanner Roark got Jeff Francoeur swinging with an 0-2 curve for out no.1 and K no.1 of his MLB career. Brandon Crawford popped up to third on an 0-2 fastball. Roark completed his second scoreless frame on 22 pitches when Gregor Blanco lined out to left field. Ian Desmond took a 1-2 splitter to left for a leadoff single in the Nationals' sixth and Adam LaRoche got all of a 1-0 fastball and hit a two-run home run to right to make it 3-1 Nationals in the bottom of the sixth. LaRoche's 17th. 3-1 Nats after six.

Fernando Abad took the mound for the Nationals in the seventh. Brett Pill mercifully hit for the slower than molasses Moscoso. Joaquin Arias was 4 for 4 tonight after he singled to left with one down. Brandon Belt battled for seven pitches before popping up to Ryan Zimmerman for out no.2. Ryan Mattheus came out of the pen to face Buster Posey and walked the Giants' catcher in front of Hunter Pence, whose two-out single brought Arias around to cut the Nats' lead in half. 3-2 game, but a Pablo Sandoval pop to center stranded two and preserve the Nationals' lead.

Denard Span led off in the Nationals' seventh, with left-hander Jose Mijares on the mound for the visiting Giants. Span grounded out to third to start the inning, but Anthony Rendon walked with one down, leaving the Nats' second baseman 1 for 2 with two walks tonight. Sandy Rosario came on to face Ryan Zimmerman and got an inning-ending 6-4-3 form the Nationals' third baseman. 3-2 Nats after seven.

Tyler Clippard came out to work the eighth for the home team. Brandon Crawford singled to right on a first-pitch change from the Nats' right-hander. Gregor Blanco took a five-pitch, one-out walk in the next at bat, but pinch hitter Hector Sanchez grounded out to first and Joaquin Arias popped to second on a first-pitch cutter to end the Giants' eighth. Still 3-2 Nationals.

Jayson Werth ripped into a first-pitch fastball from Santiago Casilla and sent a sharp grounder by third for a leadoff double. Werth's 11th. Ian Desmond singled on the second pitch of the inning to bring Adam LaRoche up with two on. LaRoche grounded into a force at second that took Ian Desmond off the basepaths, but it moved Werth to third so Kurt Suzuki's fly to right brought him home. 4-2 Nationals. Bryce Harper got walked in a pinch hit at bat and Javier Lopez came on to face Chad Tracy, who grounded to first to end the eighth.

"Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano came out for the top of the ninth looking for save no. 30 of 2013. Brandon Belt worked the count full, but flew out to left. ONE! Buster Posey grounded out to third, TWO!! Hunter Pence flew to center. Ballgame. Nats win, 4-2.

Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!

Nationals now 58-60

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