Veteran left-hander and middle reliever Zach Duke's first start of year for the Washington Nationals began about as well as you could hope for it to... 10 pitches, three ground ball outs and a scoreless first in the first of three with San Francisco in AT&T Park. Giants' starter Ryan Vogelsong followed up on a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 first of his own with an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 second after which [counts on fingers] he'd retired six straight Nats to start the game.
Hunter Pence hit a one-out single to center off the Nationals' starter in the home-half of the second for the first hit by either team. The Giants' right fielder decided not to test the Nats' right fielder Bryce Harper's arm on a second-straight single by Brandon Belt in the next at bat, settling for advancing to second in front of Andres Torres, and Torres hit an RBI double to left to drive Pence in and make it a 1-0 game early tonight in the Giants' home. A Brandon Crawford groundout to second brought in the second run, 2-0, before Duke retired the opposing pitcher to end a 17-pitch frame at 27 pitches overall after two.
Zach Duke lined to left for a two-out single in the Nationals' third, collecting the first hit of the game off Vogelsong. The second hit, as it often does, came in the at bat immediately following the first, when Denard Span lined one right back at the Giants' starter and up the middle of the infield for a single of his own, but Steve Lombardozzi popped up on the first pitch he saw to give San Francisco's veteran right-hande three scoreless innings in AT&T. Duke gave up back-to-back one-out singles by Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval in the Giants' half of the third, but both runners were stranded at the end of an 18-pitch inning that had Duke at 45 overall after three.
Ryan Zimmerman took a 2-1 curve from Ryan Vogelsong to right for a one-out single in the top of the fourth, but he was erased from the basepaths when Adam LaRoche, in search of a hit to stretch his streak to 17 games, grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3. Giants' first baseman Brandon Belt battled for six pitches and singled through the right side of the infield for a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth. Andres Torres singled through the left side in the next AB, collecting San Francisco's seventh hit off Duke. The Nats' lefty knocked a grounder from Brandon Crawford down and recovered in time to get a force at second for out no.1 of the Giants' fourth. Craig Stammen took over for Duke there with runners on first and third. A safety squeeze by the opposing pitcher brought the run in from third to make it 3-0 San Francisco, an RBI double to right by Angel Pagan made it 4-0 and an RBI single by Marco Scutaro made it 5-0 Giants over the Nationals after four.
Roger Bernadina reached first safely on an error by Scutaro at second. One out later, Craig Stammen worked a two-out walk out of Ryan Vogelsong to get Denard Span to the plate, but a groundout to first ended the Giants' starter fifth scoreless. 5-0 San Francisco in AT&T. Buster Posey singled to start the bottom of the fifth, but was doubled up on a Hunter Pence grounder to short that started a 6-4-3. A Brandon Belt home run to center in the next at bat made it 6-0 San Francisco, but after back-to-back two-out singles by Andres Torres and Brandon Crawford, Craig Stammen hit the opposing pitcher on the hand and Vogelsong quickly exited the game and headed straight for the Giants' clubhouse. Not good*. 6-0 Giants after five.
* - Update from the Giants later said Vogelson suffered a "fractured right hand."
Left-handed sidewinder Javier Lopez took over on the mound for San Francisco in the top of the sixth and retired the side in order in a quick 14-pitch inning of work for the Giants' reliever. Pablo Sandoval lined a two-out opposite field single to left for the 14th hit of the night by the home team in the home-half of the inning. Buster Posey stepped in with two down and popped out to Adam LaRoche at first to end the Giants' sixth.
LaRoche K'd swinging to start the seventh, leaving him 0 for 3 tonight and in serious jeopardy of seeing his hit streak end at 16 games. Giants' right-hander Jean Machi took over for Javier Lopez with one down in the top of the inning, and retired the next two Nats in order to hold the Nationals scoreless through seven in San Francisco. Henry Rodriguez walked Hunter Pence to start the bottom of the seventh. A single to right by Brandon Belt sent Pence around to third and left the Giants' first baseman 4 for 4 tonight. Pence was run down and tagged out trying to score on an Andres Torres' grounder to first, but the second walk of the inning by the Nats' right-handed reliever put Brandon Crawford on first and loaded the bases with one out. Gregor Blanco popped to short for out no.2, but a two-out, two-run single to center by Angel Pagan made it 8-0 Giants over the Nationals after seven.
San Francisco right-hander Santiago Castilla issued a one-out walk to Tyler Moore in the Nats' eighth, but Denard Span grounded into his second double play of the season in the next AB, grounding back to the mound to start an inning-ending 1-4-3. 8-0 Giants after seven and a half. Henry Rodriguez was up to 36 pitches in his second inning of work when Buster Post hit a one-out single to center for the Giants' 17th hit of the game. A walk to Hunter Pence put two runners on for Brandon Belt, who was 4 for 5 tonight after flying out to deep center. A fly to center from Andres Torres ended the eighth.
Jeremy Affeldt came out for the top of the ninth and
Nationals now 23-22