Wire Taps: Nationals win big in AT&T, beat Giants 9-2 in series opener

Thearon W. Henderson

The Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants last night, taking the first game of their four-game set in AT&T, 9-2. They're back at it again tonight at 10:15 PM EDT. Here are some links to get you through the day before Game 2 of 4 starts...

Denard Span doubled to start the Washington Nationals' four-game set in AT&T Park and scored the first run of nine the Nats put up last night in their 9-2 win over the San Francisco Giants. Ian Desmond tripled in a run in the second, but he was stranded at third three outs later.

"The best thing I saw tonight was the [double] up the middle. Low and hard back through the middle and that's what he's been working on..." -QOTD: Matt Williams on Ian Desmond's seventh-inning double

When Desmond stepped in with the bases loaded in his second plate appearance last night, he singled to left to drive two runs in and make it 4-1. Desmond's two-run double in the seventh made it 9-1 Nats. The Nationals' five-run inning allowed them to replace Stephen Strasburg on the mound so he could rest after experiencing some tightness in his back.

Span ended the game 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Jayson Werth was 2 for 4. Wilson Ramos was 2 for 4.

Ian Desmond was 3 for 5, flying out to the warning track in his final at bat and falling short of hitting for the cycle by about 15-20 feet. He slammed his bat to the ground when he realized it wasn't going out, a move he said after the game he regretted.

The Nationals started their series in San Francisco with an impressive win over the hottest team in baseball and Nats' skipper Matt Williams said it was a team effort.

"I think Denard set the tone for us," the former Giants' infielder told reporters after the win in the city he called home for 10 major league seasons. "He's swinging good. [Desmond] had a great game. [Ryan Zimmerman] didn't get a lot out of it, but he swung the bat really well. I think that's an example of what they can do. Certainly not going to go that way every day, but tonight was a good offensive night and Strasburg pitched really well."


Williams pointed to Desmond's seventh inning ground ball through the middle of the infield as a sign that the 28-year-old shortstop is getting locked in at the plate.

"The best thing I saw tonight was the [double] up the middle," Williams said. "Low and hard back through the middle and that's what he's been working on, he's been working on staying on the baseball a little bit better and he just missed a home run tonight. He hit a couple in San Diego and those were all to the middle of the diamond. So if he can continue to do that it just keeps him on the baseball and he can have nights like tonight. He's strong. He's agile. All of those things combined, he can do a lot of things."

So far in May, Desmond's 8 for 27 (.296/.367/.778) wth two doubles, a triple and four home runs in seven games.

Game 2 of 4 in AT&T Park starts at 10:15 pm EDT. Doug Fister vs Madison Bumgarner. Until then links and lots of them, starting... RIGHT NOW!!!... at 10:18 AM PDT...What?:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "Morse loved his time with the Nationals, and even Monday night he thanked them for putting his career on its current course. But he has found a whole other level with the Giants." - "Michael Morse is ‘living the dream’ in San Francisco" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "Stephen Strasburg delivered another quality start, the 10th in a row by a Nats starting pitcher, going six innings and allowing just a run." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams on Strasburg's health and more after 9-2 win over Giants" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Glance around the clubhouse and chances are you'll see three or four teammates wearing Star Wars-themed 'May The Morse Be With You' T-shirts, featuring Morse in a Jedi robe wielding a lightsaber." - "Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants - June 10, 2014" - Michael Lananna and Ryan Hood, MLB.com Preview

• "IOW, it was a pretty polished job of saying a lot and also saying nothing that could be definitely pinned down. But the subtext -- maybe not even so 'sub' -- was: I'd rather play CF. And I'm not going to hurry back." - "Ask Boswell: Redskins, Nationals and Washington sports" - Thomas Boswell, The Washington Post

• "Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann was named the National League Player of the Week on Monday." - "Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann tabbed as National League Player of Week" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

" Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon was not in the lineup for the third consecutive game Monday because of a sore right thumb." -"Jordan Zimmermann named National League Player of the Week" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Jayson Werth pulled the mitt from a box and slipped it on his left hand. He had only played outfield for two years, and never had a glove that fit so well and felt so right." - "Jayson Werth and Betsy: A story of true glove" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "How dominant has this team been? Well, after last night’s 9-2 trouncing of the previously red-hot Giants, the Nats have now won 8-of-10 games since that Desmond homer against the Rangers." - "Red-hot Nationals firing on all cylinders after blowout win vs. Giants" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "Rendon swung in the cage yesterday, but still reported some soreness, especially around the thumb area. That put off his return at least one more day and led to today's try with the bat." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams expects Rendon to return Tuesday" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "But the Nationals’ everyday third baseman will be available as a pinch hitter Monday night and will likely return Tuesday, Williams said." - "Anthony Rendon sits again, likely to play Tuesday" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon was not in the lineup for the third consecutive game Monday because of a sore right thumb." - "Rendon remains out with sore right thumb" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "LeCroy turned to a traditional Southern delicacy before games to snap the team out of its rut: a banana-and-mayonnaise sandwich on white bread." - "Matt LeCroy’s superstitious banana-mayo sandwich" - James Wagner, Washington Post

• Your Daily Message from the Dalai Lama on Twitter (@DalaiLama):

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "Starter Ryan Vogelsong struggled to keep his pitches down, so the Nationals went up early, scoring four runs in the first three innings." - "Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants - June 9, 2014" - Ryan Hood, MLB.com SF Recap

• "When coach Matthew LeCroy eats a banana and mayo sandwich, the Nationals are 5-0." - "Banana and mayo sandwich might be key to Nationals surge" - David Brown, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "When you covered a player as a rookie, and now he’s managing in the majors, it might be time to look for retirement properties." - "When Angel Pagan might return, plus an injury to a top prospect" - Henry Schulman, San Francisco Giants: The Splash

• "The Giants rotation hadn’t sustained a fully blown tire in two months’ worth of games at AT&T Park. Against Stephen Strasburg, they could barely afford to hit a lane turtle Tuesday night." - "Instant Replay: Vogelsong hit around by Nats, Giants lose 9-2" - Andrew Baggarly, CSN Bay Area

• "It has been three weeks since Palm Beach County officials last heard from the Houston Astros or Washington Nationals concerning building a new, two-team spring training facility, but there doesn’t appear to be any panic." - "Spring training: Clock still ticking on deal in West Palm Beach" - Jon Santucci, Naples Daily News

• "Former Washington Nationals outfielder Nook Logan will bring his baseball clinic, "Catch, Throw, Hit and Run" to his hometown of Natchez July 12 through 16..." - "Logan clinic coming to Natchez in July" - Jake Martin, Mississippi's Best Community Newspaper

• "Eleven years after he last played at AT&T Park, Matt Williams returned as Washington's manager." - "Matt Williams fondly recalls S.F. days" - Henry Schulman, SFGate

• "Former Nationals slugger and fan favorite Michael Morse has been using A-ha’s 'Take on Me' as his walk-up song for his third nightly plate appearance at AT&T Park all season." - "No, Giants fans do not sing ‘Take on Me’ for Michael Morse better than Nats fans" - Scott Allen, DC Sports Bog

• "Up in San Francisco to face the team with the best record in baseball, the Nationals didn’t miss a beat and perhaps took the title of baseball’s hottest team from the Giants." - "The Nationals are the hottest team in baseball" - Craig Calcaterra, HardballTalk

• "Whose hot streak would halt first when the Nats and Giants tangled in San Francisco? Not the team that had Stephen Strasburg on the bump." - "The Grand Slam: Stephen Strasburg, Ian Desmond propel Nats past Giants" - Mike Oz, Big League Stew - Yahoo Sports

• "After his team's sweep of the New York Mets over the weekend, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy pumped the brakes on any 'best team in baseball' talk..." - "SAN FRANCISCO: Giants hammered by Nationals, 9-2" - Alex Pavlovic, Baseball Wires - MiamiHerald.com

• NATS MINORS/DRAFT:

• "The Nationals have agreed to terms with fifth-round Draft pick Drew Van Orden, according to a baseball source. The right-hander will take his physical in Florida soon." - "Nationals agree with fifth-round Draft pick Van Orden" - BIll Ladson, nationals.com: News

• "Seven Lakes graduate Kyle Bacak might remember June 7 fondly. During the afternoon he was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 25th round of the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft." - "Seven Lakes’ Bacak drafted in 25th round by Washington" - Jack Marrion, Your Houston News: Sports

• "But Cal Ripken Jr. is said to be friends with Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo and reportedly was considered for the team's managing vacancy during the off-season." - "Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr.'s son, Ryan, is drafted by Nationals" - Chuck Schilken, LA Times

• "RHP Drew Van Orden, Sr., 5th round (154 overall), Washington Nationals: A nice end to a senior year that saw him initially lose his weekend starting spot before injuries gave it back to him." - "Recapping Duke players and signees taken in 2014 MLB Draft" - Laura Keeley, Duke Now, NewsObserver.com

• "Cal Ripken Jr.'s son, Ryan Ripken, came off the board in the 15th round to the Washington Nationals." - "Which son of a former MLB All-Star will have the greatest baseball career?" - Sam Spiegelman, NOLA.com

• "The Westerners had two 23rd round selections, as East Tennessee State shortstop Chris Riopedre (DW-13) and Oklahoma State first baseman Tanner Krietemeier (DW-11) were chosen by the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves with the 694th and 703rd picks, respectively." - "A Record 12 Westerners Get 'The Call'" - Paul Schaffer, Hamlet Hub

Low-A Hagerstown: "The competitor in him wants to pitch every fifth day, but knowing that's not possible with the restrictions Washington's front office has imposed, he's put it into a perspective he can deal with." - "Giolito making most of opportunities" - Ashley Marshall, MiLB.com

• Class-A Hagerstown: Suns 5, Blueclaws 3 - Lucas Giolito - 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 Ks - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

High-A Potomac: "The P-Nats' magic number to clinch their second consecutive Carolina League First-Half Northern Division Championship is now four wins." - "P-Nats' Late Rally Covers Carolina 5-4" - Potomac Nationals News

Triple-A Syracuse: "Steven Souza, Jr.'s two-run single put the Chiefs ahead for a good in a game that had three lead changes." - "Souza, Chiefs rally for 6-5 win" - Syracuse Chiefs News

• "Tuesday’s News & Notes" - Luke Erickson, NationalsProspects.com

• NATSTOWN:

• "Nats Talk On The Go: Episode 83" - The Nats Blog

• "The Washington Nationals have now won seven of their last nine games and it has some wondering if this once-struggling team has turned things around." - "Washington Nationals: Series Preview vs San Francisco Giants" - Brian Skinnell, District Sports Page

• "In the 14 games without LaRoche/Zimmerman/Bryce the Nats averaged 3.42 runs a game. Extrapolated to the season as a whole that would put the Nats 15th out of 16 NL teams." - "Offensive explosion" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Blake Treinen has done much as of late to solidify not only his spot on the 25-man roster, but in the starting rotation." - "Treinen a bright spot for Nats so far in '14" - Nationals Buzz: Stuart Wallace, MASNSports.com

• "Anyone that says hitting isn’t contagious hasn’t watched this Nats team over the last two weeks." - "Washington Nationals Beat Up On NL-Best San Francisco Giants, Win 9-2" - Joe Drugan, The Nats Blog

• "Michael Morse says Giants fans sing 'Take on Me' better than Nats fans" - Nats Enquirer

• "The Other Triple A Taylor" - cfliegel, The Nationals Review

• NL EAST UPDATES:

Braves: "The blown leads in a pair of one-run losses Saturday at Sunday at Arizona underscored a couple of points about this sputtering Braves team." - "Braves likely to trade for needed bullpen help" - David O'Brien, Atlanta Braves blog

Phillies: "Between June 1 and July 19 of last season, the Phillies played well enough to fool themselves into thinking that their playoff hopes were somewhere above slim to none." - "The landscape looks right for a Chase Utley trade" - David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News

Mets: "Terry Collins could use a Mets winning streak about now to silence the whispers about his job security." - "Terry Collins’ seat is sizzling, but he doesn’t expect Mets to ax him" - Mike Puma, New York Post

Marlins: "Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is finally getting recognized as the most powerful force in the National League..." - "Miami Marlins' Stanton up to second in All-Star vote for outfielders" - Craig Davis, Sun Sentinel

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