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5. Quick Recap: Leadoff man Denard Span took a 1-0 fastball to right via first base and hustled around to second base with a leadoff double. A groundout by Kevin Frandsen moved Span to third and a line drive double to left by Jayson Werth gave the Washington Nationals a 1-0 lead early against Ryan Vogelsong in the first game of four with the San Francisco Giants in AT&T Park.
The Nationals took a 2-0 lead in the second when Wilson Ramos singled off the top of the wall in right on a 91 mph 2-1 fastball from Vogelsong and scored when Ian Desmond tripled to center field and off the wall on an 87 mph first-pitch slider.
The Nationals rallied with two down in the third, however, with Adam LaRoche doubling and Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos taking back-to-back two-out walks in front of Ian Desmond, whose two-out RBI single through short drove in two runs to make it 4-1 Washington after three in AT&T.
A double by Denard Span and a single by Kevin Frandsen chased Vogelsong with no one out in the seventh and Jayson Werth followed with an RBI single over second on an 0-1 slider from reliever George Kontos to make it 5-1 Nationals in the seventh. Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a force at home, but an error on a double play attempt at first allowed Werth to score. 6-1. Wilson Ramos doubled to center field to make it 7-1 Nationals and Ian Desmond drove in two more with the second straight double, making it 9-1 Nationals in the seventh.
That's how it ended.
My first time at AT&T Park. Its reputation is well-deserved. pic.twitter.com/eZGg4hHIpW— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) June 9, 2014
4. Strasburg in AT&T Park: Stephen Strasburg's last start in San Francisco's AT&T Park took place on May 21, 2013, in a game which saw the then-24-year-old, '09 no.1 overall pick give up five hits, three walks and one earned run in seven innings of work in which he threw 108 pitches, 31 of them in a long bottom of the first that ended up causing his outing to end after the seventh. Strasburg left the game with a 2-1 lead which the bullpen blew in the bottom of the ninth.
"I think he had over 40 pitches or something after two," former Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters that night. "I probably would have even gone further with him, but he pitched a great game, set up for our pen and our pen just didn't hold it."
Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo liked what he saw from Strasburg.
"His velocity was good, his stuff was good, he mixed and matched three plus pitches in the strike zone for the most part," Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier. "And really kept a hot-hitting, very good lineup in check and certainly gave us a chance to win the ballgame, which is what we expect our starting rotation to do each and every night out there. We just couldn't close the deal out for him, but it was good to see him in command of a ballgame, go deep into a game when we really needed it."
That outing left the now-25-year-old right-hander (2-0) in three career starts against the Giants in which he's posted a 1.89 ERA with eight walks (3.79 BB/9) and 22 Ks (10.42 K/9) in 19 IP over which Strasburg has held San Francisco's hitters to a combined .188/.278/.250 line.
Two of the three starts have taken place in AT&T Park, where Strasburg took the mound tonight with a (1-0) record, a 2.08 ERA, seven walks (4.85 BB/9) and 14 Ks (9.69 K/9) in 13 IP in which Giants' hitters have up put up a .209/.320/.209 line.
Last time out, Strasburg struck out 11 and gave up seven hits and four runs, two earned in the Nationals' 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, leaving him with a (5-4) record, a 3.10 ERA, 2.40 FIP, 19 walks (2.10 BB/9) and 101 Ks (11.18 K/9) in 13 starts and 81 1/3 IP.
"He was good," current Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after that outing. "Again, facing lefties, a heavy lefty lineup is difficult, but he used his changeup really well tonight and spotted his fastball. He was strong, over 100 pitches, so felt good."
Tonight in AT&T Park, Strasburg took the mound for start no.14 of 2014 with a 1-0 lead after an RBI double by Jayson Werth brought Denard Span in from third base for an early advantage.
1st: Gregor Blanco sent a one-hop liner out to second for out no.1 of the Giants' first. Hunter Pence lined out to right for out no.2, but Buster Posey was first-pitch swinging and he lined to left for a two-out double. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval stepped in with a runner in scoring position and went down swinging at a 94 mph 2-2 heater. 15-pitch frame for Strasburg. 1-0 Nats after one.
2nd: Michael Morse worked the count full and went down swinging at an 88 mph change that kept diving in on him. Tyler Colvin lined a one-out double down the first base line on a 94 mph 2-0 fastball. Brandon Crawford lined an RBI single to right in the next at bat, but got tagged out when the Nationals cut the throw in from Werth and ran him down. Brandon Hicks connected for another hard-hit liner, but it was right at Ryan Zimmerman in left. 17-pitch frame for Strasburg, 32 total after two.
3rd: Ryan Vogelsong grounded out to third to start the Giants' third. Gregor Blanco hit a one-hop liner to short for out no.2. Hunter Pence got hold of a 2-1 change up in the zone and lined to left for a two-out single. Buster Posey stepped in with a runner on and popped out to right to end the inning after 19 pitches. 51 total after three.
4th: Pablo Sandoval worked the count full and went down swinging at a filthy 3-2 change. Michael Morse flew out to center on a 79 mph 1-1 curve. Tyler Colvin worked back from 1-2 (by which I mean took two close pitches) to get to a full count and flew out to short left to end a 16-pitch frame that left him at 67 total after four.
5th: Brandon Crawford took a 95 mph 1-2 heater for a called strike three. Ian Desmond fielded a grounder from Brandon Hicks deep in the hole at short and bounced a throw to first that Adam LaRoche picked. Strasburg dropped an 0-2 curve on Ryan Vogelsong to get a called strike three and K no.5. 10-pitch, 1-2-3 for Strasburg, 77 total after five.
6th: Gregor Blanco took a 94 mph 1-2 fastball for a called strike three and K no.6 for Stephen Strasburg. Hunter Pence grounded out to first. Buster Posey fell behind 0-2 and went down swinging at a diving change. 10 straight Giants set down, 13 of 14 overall. 11-pitch frame and 88 pitches after six innings pitched.
• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 88 P, 61 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
3. Same Old Vogelsong: Ryan Vogelsong faced the Washington Nationals tonight for the eighth time in his career. In the previous seven outings, three of them starts, the 36-year-old, 10-year veteran was (1-1) with a 5.59 ERA, nine walks (4.19 BB/9) and 15 Ks (6.98 K/9) in 19 1/3 IP, over which Nats' hitters put up a combined .278/.367/.380 line. On the year in 2014, Vogelsong was (4-2) with a 3.39 ERA, a 3.87 FIP, 23 walks (3.00 BB/9) and 60 Ks (7.83 K/9) in 69 IP.
His 13th start of 2013 began with Denard Span doubling by first and taking third on a groundout by Kevin Frandsen. Span scored on a line drive double to left on a 3-1 fastball and the Nationals took a 1-0 lead with one down in the first.
The Nationals added another run in the second with Wilson Ramos hitting a long single off the top of the right field wall and Ian Desmond tripling on a blast that bounced off the wall in center field in AT&T. Ramos scored from first on Desmond's triple and it was 2-0 Nationals early in San Francisco.
Vogelsong got into trouble in the third when the Nationals loaded the bases with two down on a double by Adam LaRoche and back-to-back walks by Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos. Ian Desmond stepped in with the bases loaded and sent a single through short that brought two runs in to make it 4-1 Nats after two and a half. 29-pitch frame for Vogelsong, who was up to 60 pitches after three.
Denard Span tripled to the right-center gap with one down in the Nationals' fourth, but Vogelsong retired the next two Nationals without giving up another run.
Vogelsong struck out the side in the sixth, with the 13-pitch frame leaving him at 96 pitches overall on the night.
• Denard Span was 3 for 4 with two doubles and a triple off Vogelsong tonight and 5 for 10 career vs the right-hander after hitting a leadoff double to right-center in the top of the seventh. When Kevin Frandsen singled in the next at bat to put runners on the corners with no outs, the Giants' starter was lifted in favor of reliever George Kontos.
• Ryan Vogelsong's Line: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 102 P, 64 S, 7/1 GO/FO.
2. Morse Myths: The Washington Nationals traded Michael Morse in a three-team deal on January 16, 2013 that sent Morse to the Seattle Mariners, with John Jaso going from the Mariners to the Oakland A's and the Athletics sending RHPs A.J. Cole (a Nats' 2010 Draft pick who was dealt to Oakland a year earlier), Blake Treinen and left-hander Ian Krol to the Nationals. The Nationals signed Adam LaRoche to a 2-year deal that winter, giving them their first baseman and acquired Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins, leaving Morse without a position.
As Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo explained it at the time, the Nationals liked what they could get in return for one year of control of Morse, who was headed for free agency after the 2013 campaign, so they pulled the trigger on the deal.
Rizzo also said he thought Tyler Moore provided an acceptable replacement for Morse.
"They have very similar skill sets and to have two of them is almost redundant," Rizzo said. "And Michael with one year left of control only, we felt that we had an ample substitute in a more-controllable Tyler Moore and we figured that with the outlay of prospects to get the club that we have, we felt that Mike would recoup some of those prospects for us. Especially with the trade of Alex Meyer to obtain Denard Span, we felt that A.J. Cole kind of replaces his spot in our minor league system."
Cole is currently the no.2 prospect in the organization, pitching well at Double-A Harrisburg. Blake Treinen is part of the Nationals' major league rotation. Krol was dealt to Detroit this winter as part of the package that brought Doug Fister to the nation's capital.
Morse also Went There again on the Strasburg shutdown: "You've got to play for that year." http://t.co/1pWgOytjWs— Adam Kilgore (@AdamKilgoreWP) June 10, 2014
Morse? After a rough year in 2013, he signed a 1-year/$6M deal with the San Francisco Giants and is currently tearing up pitchers like he did during his time in the nation's capital.
Entering tonight's game, the 32-year-old slugger has a .278/.329/.550 line with 16 doubles and 13 HRs in 62 games and 228 plate appearances. His first game against the Nationals since the trade started with the right-handed hitting power bat striking out swinging on a nasty 3-2 change inside.
Against Strasburg, Morse was 0 for 2 tonight. Nats' reliever Aaron Barrett hit Morse with a fastball in his third trip to the plate.
1. The Wrap-Up: Giants' right-hander George Kontos took over for San Francisco with runners on the corners and no one out in AT&T Park in the top of the seventh of a game the Nationals led 4-1. Jayson Werth lined a single over second to bring Denard Span in from third and it was 5-1 Nats after two pitches from the reliever.
The Nats loaded the bases with an Adam LaRoche walk and Ryan Zimmerman grounded into a force at second that made it 6-1. A ground-rule double to center by Wilson Ramos made it 7-1 and a two-run single to center by Ian Desmond made it 9-1 Nationals.
Aaron Barrett replaced Stephen Strasburg on the mound after the Nationals went up 9-1 in the top of the seventh and threw a 16-pitch inning, recording two Ks.
Ross Detwiler came on in the eighth and gave up back-to-back, one-out singles by Juan Perez and Gregor Blanco. Another single by Joaquin Arias got the Giants within seven, 9-2 after eight.
Detwiler came back for another inning of work in the ninth and wrapped things up.
Nationals now 33-29