5. Gio Gonzalez vs Giants: Gio Gonzalez's last start was wiped off the books after an inning of work in Citizens Bank Park when the Philadelphia Phillies made the poor decision to start the second game of the three-game set with rain falling and set to pick up in the City of Brotherly Love. Neither the Washington Nationals' left-hander or Nats' skipper Matt Williams were happy with the decision-making on the Phillies' part in starting the game.
"It’s unfortunate," Gonzalez told reporters after the game was postponed following an inning and a half of play.
"You’re put in a tough situation, and it just sucks. I’ve been waiting four days, and that’s what happens. I mean, this rain kind of caught us all off-guard. I mean, we didn’t know it was coming for like three days, so…"
"Burned our pitcher," Matt Williams said. "I’m not very happy about it."
Gonzalez was coming off a start against Pittsburgh in which the Nationals' lefty tossed seven scoreless against the Pirates, walking two and striking out four in a 9-2 win in Washington, D.C.
Williams said Gonzalez's command was the key in that outing, especially command of his curve.
"If he can throw strikes then his stuff is really good," the Nats' manager explained. "The issues come when he allows bases on balls. Today he didn't do that. For the most part he was throwing it where he wanted to, both in and out and using the curveball effectively."
That outing left the 29-year-old southpaw (5-4) on the year, with a 4.41 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 33 walks (3.64 BB/9) and 72 Ks (7.93 K/9) in 14 starts and 81 ⅔ innings pitched.
Tonight in the series opener in the nation's capital, Gonzalez was taking on San Francisco in a regular season outing for the first time since 2013, though he did, of course, face the Giants in last October's NLDS matchup, giving up four hits and two unearned runs in four innings in AT&T Park in the Nationals' Game 4 loss.
Gonzalez's fifteenth start of the year began with a bloop single to left-center that fell in for a hit for Angel Pagan, but one out later, Matt Duffy grounded into what looked like an inning-ending 6-4-3. Upon review, however, Duff was ruled safe at first, so Buster Posey stepped in with one on and two out and sent a grounder to second that allowed Danny Espinosa to step on the bag for out no.3. 12-pitch first.
Andrew Susac lined a single to right to start the second, but was doubled up on a grounder to short off of Brandon Crawford's bat. Justin Maxwell K'd swinging at a 2-2 change to end a 12-pitch second. 24 total.
Gregor Blanco singled to center to start the third and took second on a sac bunt by Jake Peavy. Angel Pagan's pop to second gave Gonzalez two outs, and Joe Panik's line drive to Denard Span in center made it three.
Eight-pitch frame, 32 total after three.
Two fly balls and a check swing strike three got Gio Gonzalez his fourth scoreless frame. 11-pitch fourth, 43 total.
Gonzalez added two Ks for four total and retired his 7th-8th-and 9th straight batters in a 17-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth that left him at 60 total after five.
A bad hop on a grounder off Angel Pagan's bat that shot by Danny Espinosa at second ended Gonzalez's streak of retired batters at ten-straight. Michael Taylor tracked down a liner to left off Joe Panik's bat for out no.2 of the Giants' sixth, and Pagan was tagged out at second after mistakenly thinking he was forced out on the play on a Matt Duffy grounder to the right side. 10-pitch frame, 70 total for Gonzalez in six scoreless.
Buster Posey stepped in and took the first pitch of the seventh to the Red Porch seats to extend his hit streak to nine straight games and give the Giants a 1-0 lead. No.14 of 2015 for Posey. Three outs later, Gonzalez was through the seventh and up to 82 pitches after a 12-pitch frame.
After the Nationals took a 2-1 lead on Clint Robinson's two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh, Nats' skipper Matt Williams hit for Gonzalez...
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 82 P, 59 S, 6/3 GO/FO.
4. Peavy vs the Nationals: Jake Peavy didn't face the Washington Nationals in the regular season last year since he spent the first four months in the Boston Red Sox' rotation before he was dealt to San Francisco and didn't line up against the Nats in the one series they played with the Giants after the trade. He did, however, face the Nationals in Game 1 of the NLDS, throwing 5 ⅔ scoreless to earn the decision in what ended up a 3-2 win.
"For the most part, we just threw the ball where we'd need to throw it to try to keep it off the barrel," Peavy said of the work he and Giants' catcher Buster Posey did in shutting the Nats down while he was on the mound.
"That lineup is a really good lineup, a deep lineup."
"Such a deep lineup," he reiterated. "Right, left‑handed balance. We just had to execute for the most part, and try to keep them from rallying and keep them in the ballpark, as you saw, is a big part of their game.
"So, just used everything I had, honestly. You have to against teams this good."
The Giants took the NLDS in four games and went on to win the World Series, of course, with Peavy going (1-2) in four starts with a 6.19 ERA and a .286/.375/.413 line against in 16 IP.
After the season, the veteran right-hander and the Giants agreed on a 2-year/$24M deal, but two starts into the 2015 campaign, he landed on the DL with a back strain. He returned from a rehab assignment tonight in time to make his third start of the season in the series opener with the Nationals.
Peavy made one start at Class-A San Jose (3 ⅓ scoreless) and six at Triple-A Sacramento, going (0-3) with a 6.12 ERA and 4.84 FIP in 32 ⅓ IP before he was called up today.
His first major league outing since April began with a single by Denard Span, who was doubled up in the next at bat on a Danny Espinosa grounder to second. Yunel Escobar doubled to right with two out and Bryce Harper got a free pass after Peavy fell behind 2-0, but Clint Robinson popped out to right to end a 17-pitch frame.
A 12-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Peavy at 29 pitches after two. Gio Gonzalez battled Peavy for ten pitches, just missing a home run to left before flying out to center for the first out of the third. Two outs later, Peavy had three scoreless in the books after a 19-pitch frame that left him at 48 total.
Bryce Harper walked with one down in the Nationals' fourth, but two outs later he was stranded at first and Peavy was through four scoreless on 59 pitches after an 11-pitch frame.
The Nats' 7-8-9 hitters went down in order in a 12-pitch fifth that left Peavy at 71 total after five. Three quick outs in a six-pitch sixth left Peavy at 77 pitches. 16 of 17 set down.
Bryce Harper worked the count full in the first at bat of the Nats' seventh, and took his third walk of the night, and this time Clint Robinson made them pay with a two-run shot to right that cleared the out-of-town scoreboard for a two-run blast that made it 2-1 Nats. Robinson's 4th. One out later, a walk to Jose Lobaton ended Peavy's night...
• Jake Peavy's Line: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 94 P, 57 S, 4/5 GO/FO.
3. Random Game Notes: The San Francisco Giants entered the holiday weekend series in Washington 4-6 in their last ten with a three-game losing streak going which left them at 42-38 overall before they arrived at Nationals Park.
• The Nationals lost back-to-back games to the Braves to end their three-game set in Atlanta, but before taking on the Giants tonight, they'd won seven of their last ten, so they entered the series 43-36 overall.
• The Giants started the series with four straight losses on the road, including the last three games in Miami, but they hadn't lost five straight on the road yet this season.
• Gregor Blanco and Buster Posey started the series in D.C. with hitting streaks going. Blanco was 16 for 33 (.485 AVG) over the course of a nine-game hitting streak. Posey was 13 for 29 (.448 AVG) over the course of an eight-game hitting streak, collecting four doubles and three home runs during the streak.
Blanoc was up to ten games after a leadoff single in the third.
Posey extended his hit streak to nine straight with a solo home run to center in the seventh.
• The Giants' average of 5.03 runs per game on the road this season, were the second-most in the majors at the start of the series.
• San Francisco started the series with the NL's highest AVG (.271), second-highest OBP (.330) and third-highest slugging percentage (.408).
• Denard Span and Michael Taylor started the series with on-base streaks going, with Span reaching base in 22-straight and Taylor getting on base in 18-straight. Taylor is (21 for 67, .313 AVG) with five doubles and five walks over the course of his on-base streak.
Span singled in his first at bat to extend his streak 23 games with a leadoff single in the first.
• Over the last 12 games, the Nationals' pitchers have allowed 24 runs, the fewest runs allowed in the majors over that stretch.
2. Turning Point(s): Both starters tossed six scoreless innings to start tonight's game, but one pitch into the seventh, the Giants had a 1-0 lead after Buster Posey hit his 14th home run of the 2015 campaign out to center field. With no run support again, one mistake looked like it might cost Gio Gonzalez tonight.
Five homers in the past two weeks for Buster. #SFGiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) July 3, 2015
• Clint Robinson sent a fly to right for the final out of the Nats' first after an intentional walk to Bryce Harper in the 22-year-old slugger's first trip to the plate tonight. Jake Peavy walked Harper again in the fourth and Robinson lined out to center. The third time, however, the Giants' right-hander paid for the free pass to Harper as Robinson crushed a center-cut fastball and hit a two-run home run to right that put the Nationals ahead, 2-1 after seven.
1. The Wrap-Up: Hunter Strickland took over on the mound for Jake Peavy with a runner on in the Nats' seventh and got the last two outs of the frame.
Matt Thornton took over on the mound for the Nationals in the eighth and retired the Giants in order in 15-pitch frame.
Giants' lefty Josh Osich came on in the bottom of the eighth and put two on for Bryce Harper with walks to Denard Span and Yunel Escobar, but Harper popped out to center and Clint Robinson sent a fly to left to keep it a one-run game.
Drew Storen came out looking for save no.24 of 2015 and with some help from Ian Desmond he got it. 2-1 Nats.
Nationals now 44-36