Wire Taps: Nationals take first two from Giants, look for series win in AT&T

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals took their second straight game from the San Francisco Giants last night in AT&T Park and set themselves up with a chance to win the series in either of the next two games with NL West division leaders.

The San Francisco Giants' 5-4 win over the New York Mets this past Saturday night was their 17th comeback victory of the season through 63 games to that point and their win on Sunday in the series finale in AT&T Park gave them five straight wins going into the current series with the Washington Nationals. The Nats' 9-2 win on Monday was a laugher after the five-run seventh put the game all-but out of reach.

"Tonight was an example of some good plays and some good pitching and some timely hitting." -QOTD: Matt Williams on win over the Giants

The Nationals took a 2-0 lead into the ninth inning last night with Doug Fister holding the Giants off the board through seven and Tyler Clippard pitching around a one-out single and walk in the eighth to complete a scoreless 21-pitch frame. The home half of the ninth started with a triple by Brandon Crawford, who scored to make it a one-run game, but Rafael Soriano retired the next two batters to earn his 13th save of 2014.

"The Giants have certainly made a habit of coming back and coming back late," Nats' skipper Matt Williams said after taking the second straight game in AT&T Park.

"They put together some pretty good at bats, not only in the last inning, but against [Tyler Clippard] too. Laid off some good changeups and gave themselves a chance. We were able to get it tonight, but you don't want to mess with that too much."

The win gave the Nationals three straight overall and 8 of their last 10, but the Braves won too to keep things tied atop the standings in the NL East.

The Giants, who are 42-23 after the back-to-back losses, have only dropped three straight once before this season, when they lost one to the LA Dodgers and two to the San Diego Padres from April 17-19th. Can the Nationals beat the team with the best record in baseball again tonight? Tanner Roark vs Matt Cain at 10:15PM EDT. Until then, links and lots of them in this Pacific Coast time edition of Wire Taps. Starting... RIGHT NOW!!!:

• THE BIG STORY!!!:

• "For years, Stephen Strasburg never gave much thought to the way he placed his plant foot on the pitching rubber." - "Stephen Strasburg’s minor adjustment makes a major difference" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• NATS BEAT:

• "This from a guy who has spent time on the disabled list nearly every season he has been in baseball." - "Nats much better off with Michael Morse gone" - Thom Loverro, Washington Times

• "Doug Fister was not perfect. In fact, the right-hander walked a batter, thus putting an end to the Nats rotation’s remarkable streak of walk-less innings at 51 innings." - "Washington Nationals’ 9th win in 11 games is no cakewalk" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider

• "While discussing Fister's impact on the Nats rotation since his return from a lat injury this afternoon in San Francisco, talk turned toward the pitcher's all-out aggressiveness..." - "Nationals Pastime: Williams on Fister's impact on rotation, Rendon's possible return" - Pete Kerzel, MASNSports.com

• "Matt Cain (1-3, 3.52 ERA) and Tanner Roark (4-4, 2.91 ERA) get their turns in this pitching lovers' delight of a series Wednesday." - "Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants - June 11, 2014" - Ryan Hood, MLB.com Preview

• "In a 2012 World Series rematch, Doug Fister outdueled Madison Bumgarner with seven scoreless innings that continued the Nationals’ remarkable run of starting pitching." - "Doug Fister has the right stuff as Nationals edge Giants, 2-1, for ninth win in 11 games" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "With two men on and one out in the eighth, Clippard struck out Morse swinging on a 3-2 count. He then got Blanco to fly out to center to end the threat." - "Fister and Bumgarner dueling by the Bay (Nationals win 2-1)" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Philadelphia’s descent into the depths of the NL East basement continued this past week, losing five of six games to the Nationals and Reds." - "Around the NL East: Are the Braves losing their grip on NL East?" - Daniel Shiferaw, Nats Insider

• "On Monday, the Nats whipped up on the Giants, who came into this four-game set 21 games over .500." - "Nationals Pastime: Even by the Bay, things keep rolling" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler has been a starter during most of his big league career. Now he is trying figure out what his role is on the team." - "Detwiler leaning on teammates in bullpen role" - Bill Ladson and Teddy Cahill, nationals.com: News

• "Snake-bit catcher Wilson Ramos exited the Nationals’ 2-1 victory Tuesday night with tightness in his right hamstring after he slid into second base for an eighth-inning double." - "Wilson Ramos leaves with tightness in right hamstring" - Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

• "Ramos said after the game that he doesn't think the injury is anything serious, this after twice landing on the disabled list last season with left hamstring strains." - "Nationals Pastime: Ramos dealing with minor hamstring soreness, plus quotes after Nats' 2-1 win" - Dan Kolko, MASNSports.com

• "After the game, Ramos was upbeat and said he wasn't as worried as much he was in the past regarding hamstring injuries. Ramos missed half of last season because of left hamstring injuries." - "Ramos exits game with tight right hamstring" - Bill Ladson and Teddy Cahill, nationals.com: News

• "Ryan Zimmerman, longtime third baseman for the Nationals, returned from a thumb injury and has resumed defensive duties in left field. So far, Span’s not worried about Zimmerman out there." - "So far, Zimmerman’s transition to outfield has gone smoothly" - Jason Butt, Washington Post

• "Right-hander Tanner Roark has been a key to the Nationals rotation coming together as a consistent, cohesive unit." - "Roark another example of Nationals system helping pitcher get better" - Byron Kerr, MASNSports.com

• "Manager Matt Williams said he appreciates that Desmond took a step back and realized what he did was wrong." - "Williams appreciates Desmond's apology" - Bill Ladson and Teddy Cahill, nationals.com: News

• "With the team in the middle of a four-game series against San Francisco, we welcomed in the radio voice of the Giants, Dave Flemming." - "Podcast: ‘Baseball in the District’ – Giants’ voice Dave Flemming" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider

• "The Nationals have been on a tear since May 30, when Ian Desmond’s three-run homer erased an early 2-0 deficit against the Rangers in an eventual 9-2 win." - "Ian Desmond and the Nationals are having fun again" - Adam Kilgore, The Washington Post

• "The Nationals have won nine out of their last 11 games and remain in a first-place tie with the Braves in the National League East." - "Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants - June 10, 2014" - Bill Ladson, MLB.com WSH Recap

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

• NATIONAL(S) BEAT:

• "After speaking to Strasburg two weeks ago, John Perrotto noted at Sports on Earth that the drop in velocity was more a strategy than a concern..." - "Reminder: Stephen Strasburg Is Still Really, Really Good" - Mike Petriello, FanGraphs Baseball

• "Nebraska baseball recruit Jakson Reetz will pass on his commitment and sign with the Washington Nationals, his high school coach confirmed Tuesday." - "Norris star Jakson Reetz passes on Huskers, will sign with Washington Nationals" - Mike Patterson, Omaha.com: Big Red Today - Huskers

• "Fedde, the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year, was still available to the Nationals at No. 18 only because he underwent Tommy John elbow surgery two days before the draft." - "UNLV Pitcher Erick Fedde Becomes the Nationals’ Next Vegas Connection" - Sean DeFrank, Vegas Seven

• "AT&T PARK — The Nationals got enough to beat the Giants again Tuesday night. Gallery Giants-Nats." - "Nats hush Giants for second-straight night" - Daniel A. Nelson, SFBay

• "There has been a sense of inevitability with these Giants, regardless of the score or situation. The comeback is coming, and then the win." - "Giants unable to rally against Nationals" - Alex Pavlovic, Inside Bay Area

• "Former Sunrise Mountain High School baseball standout Austin Byler was selected in the ninth round (274th overall pick) of the Major League Baseball Draft by the Washington Nationals." - "Austin Byler selected in MLB draft" - Darrell Jackson, Peoriatimes.com: Sports

• "But as long as Matt Williams believes that Ryan Zimmerman in left field is a good idea, Espinosa will receive plenty of opportunities to play." - "Mixed Waiver Wire: Rougned Odor, Danny Espinosa" - Nicholas Minnix, FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball

• "Madison Bumgarner rarely speaks in quiet clubhouses anymore. Usually his words are drowned out by victory music." - "A rarity - Giants now have a losing streak" - Henry Schulman, SFGate

• "In the past calendar month, Doug Fister has averaged 13 K's per walk (third-best among ERA qualifiers), afforded hitters a .066 hard-hit average (second-best) and generated a 59.0 percent ground-ball rate (sixth-highest)." - "What hidden stats say about David Price, Brandon Moss, Lonnie Chisenhall, more" - Tristan H. Cockcroft, ESPN

• NATS MINORS:

Class-A Auburn: "Drew Vettleson will be on the Auburn Doubledays' opening day roster, but he isn't expected to stay long." - "Doubledays' Vettleson takes step toward ending rehab stint" - Jeremy Houghtaling, Auburn Citizen

• Low-A Hagerstown: Suns 2-0 over Blueclaws - Austin Voth - 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks - Hagerstown Suns Scoreboard

High-A Potomac: Mudcats 6-4 over P-Nats - Dakota Bacus - 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 Ks - Potomac Nationals Scoreboard

• High-A Potomac: "We didn’t think today’s bearded stadium giveaway news could get any better after the Washington Nationals provided a first look at their Jayson Werth Garden Gnome this morning." - "The Potomac Nationals’ Jayson Werth BobbleBeard giveaway is hairy and amazing" - Scott Allen, The Washington Post

Double-A Harrisburg: Senators 6-4 over Seawolves - Matt Skole - 2 for 5, 2 RBI - Harrisburg Senators Scoreboard

• "Fueled by run production in the sixth and seventh innings, the Harrisburg Senators rallied for a 6-4 victory over the Erie SeaWolves..." - "Harrisburg Senators beat Erie SeaWolves to win third straight, move out of last place" - Tim Leone, PennLive.com

Triple-A Syracuse: "With one out, Zach Walters took the first pitch he saw over the right-field fence for a 1-0 Chiefs lead. Steven Souza, Jr. was then hit by a pitch from McGuire and stole second before Tyler Moore worked a walk..." - "Chiefs fall 8-4 to Bisons, split series" - Syracuse Chiefs News

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

• NATSTOWN:

• "The offense didn't come through last night but the pitching was so good it didn't matter." - "See! It's ok!" - Harper, Nationals Baseball

• "Just over six weeks into the regular season, ex-Nats outfielder Michael Morse's old at-bat song, which was ritualistically played after the seventh-inning stretch, was replaced by "Dancing in the Street" by Martha & the Vandellas." - "A take on the discontinuation of 'Take on Me'" - Nationals Buzz: Rachel Levitin, MASNSports.com

• "Fister (W, 5-1) was great as always, continuing his trend of dominance ever since a poor first start in a Nats uniform." - "Fister Helps Nats Secure Bayside Series Split" - Andrew Flax, The Nats Blog

• "Get To Know A National 2014: Xavier Cedeño" - Nationals 101

• "First Look: Nats top 10 draftees from 2014 Rule-4 Draft" - Todd Boss, Nationals Arm Race

• NL EAST UPDATES:

• Mets: "I abide by a strict code of ethics and do not interrupt active play and always surrender to security. For the record, I am always sober during my activism." - "An Open Letter to the Fans of the Washington Nationals and New York Mets Baseball Teams" - Andrew Dudley, Huffington Post

Mets: "Mets general manager Sandy Alderson gave Terry Collins a vote of confidence on Tuesday, informing the team’s manager that he wouldn’t lose his job anytime soon." - "Alderson Says Collins’s Job Is Secure With Mets" - Jared Diamond, Wall Street Journal - WSJ.com

Phillies: "Crash Bag, Vol. 104: Draft Review, Hot Dogs, Book Writing" - Michael Baumann, Crashburn Alley

Marlins: "Miami Marlins outfielder Jake Marisnick was named the minor league player of the month for the month of May. But with the play of Marcell Ozuna, is Marisnick's success notable?" - "Miami Marlins' Jake Marisnick named minor league player of the month" - Scott Gelman, Fish Stripes

Braves: "Right-hander Julio Teheran, who starts on Wednesday, isn't afraid of his Major League-best 1.89 ERA inflating in the altitude of Coors Field; he's more concerned with bottling that Mile High Magic." - "Atlanta Braves at Colorado Rockies - June 11, 2014" - Cody Ulm, MLB.com Preview

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