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Washington Nationals 9-6 over San Francisco Giants to set up rubber match tomorrow in D.C.

Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick, Matt Adams, and Kurt Suzuki all homered in what ended up a 9-6 Nats’ win over the Giants.

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Jeremy Hellickson (5 23 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) put together another solid start and Juan Soto, Howie Kendrick, Matt Adams, and Kurt Suzuki all homered in what ended up a 9-6 win for the Washington Nationals in the second game of their three-game set with the San Francisco Giants in D.C.

Hellboy vs SFG: Jeremy Hellickson started the 2019 campaign in Washington’s bullpen, as he waited for the day when the Nationals would need a fifth starter, but it didn’t seem to have any negative effect on the veteran right-hander.

He took the mound as a starter for the first time last week in Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park and tossed six scoreless innings against the Phillies in what ended up a 15-1 win.

Start No. 2 for the recently-turned 32-year-old pitcher began with three scoreless frames on just 30 pitches, as the Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Giants got on the board in the fourth, with Buster Posey walking to start the inning, moving to third on a double by Brandon Belt, and scoring on a Brandon Crawford groundout, 4-1, and 4-2 on an RBI single by Evan Longoria.

Hellickson got through 5 23 with the two-run lead, before he was lifted in favor of lefty Matt Grace with pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval taking over for the opposing pitcher at the plate with a runner on and two out after the Nationals failed to turn an inning-ending DP...

Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 0 Ks, 79 P, 51 S, 10/3 GO/FO.

Samardzija in D.C.: Three starts into his 12th big league campaign, Giants’ right-hander Jeff Samardzija had a 1.62 ERA, six walks, 13 Ks, and a .203/.273/.237 line against in 16 23 innings pitched before taking the mound tonight in the nation’s capital.

Samardzija’s ERA was up to 2.60 after he gave up a two-run home run to right by Juan Soto on a 91 MPH 0-1 fastball up in the zone that the Nationals’ outfielder bounced off the facade of the second deck to make it 2-0 in the first.

And it was up to 3.12 after Howie Kendrick crushed a 3-1 fastball and hit a two-out solo shot to left field for a 3-0 Nationals’ lead after one.

Wilmer Difo walked to start the Nationals’ second, then scored two outs later on an opposite field, RBI single by Adam Eaton, 4-0.

Samardzija held the Nationals there through five as the Giants chipped away with two runs in the fourth, making it a two-run game, and the right-hander was lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth, with a runner on and two out...

Jeff Samardzija’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 2 HRs, 86 P, 51 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

Anthony Rendon is Streaking: With a single in his final trip to the plate last night, Anthony Rendon extended his hit streak to 14-straight games, over which the 28-year-old infielder’s gone 23 for 54 (.426/.492/.907) with eight doubles, six home runs, seven walks, and nine strikeouts.

Rendon was 0 for 3 with two Ks and a double play grounder in his first three trips to the plate.

He got the intentionals in the seventh after Victor Robles stole second base while he was at the plate... but he got one more trip to the plate in the bottom of the eighth... and... singled to left!!! THE STREAK LIVES!!!

BULLPEN ACTION: Matt Grace took over for Jeremy Hellickson with pinch hitting slugger Pablo Sandoval due up after the Nationals failed to turn a double play on a Gerardo Parra grounder in the sixth.

With a runner on and two out, Grace got Sandoval to fly out to center on a first-pitch slider for out No. 3, preserving the two-run lead, 4-2 Nationals.

Trevor Gott took over for the Giants in the bottom of the sixth, walked Howie Kendrick and hit Kurt Suzuki, but stranded both runners to keep it close.

Wander Suero got the seventh for the Nationals and retired the Giants in order in a 14-pitch frame.

Victor Robles singled off Gott to lead of the Nats’ seventh, so Giants’ skipper Bruce Bochy went to the pen for Travis Bergen, who put Anthony Rendon on after Robles stole second base with one down.

Robles moved up to third base on a sac fly to center, and both of the runners scored on a three-run blast to right by Matt Adams, whose 2nd of 2019 made it 7-2, and 9-2 after Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run home run with Howie Kendrick on after a single.

Suero came back out with a seven-run lead and recorded two outs before Davey Martinez went to the pen for Austen Williams, who got out No. 3.

Righty Nick Vincent threw a scoreless bottom of the eighth for the Giants.

Williams took the mound again in the top of the ninth, and gave up a single and a two-run home run by Kevin Pillar and Gerardo Parra, respectively, 9-4. Yangervis Solarte singled as well, forcing the Nationals to get relievers going in the pen, and Steven Duggar hit a 2-1 slider out to right to make it a three-run game, 9-6.

Kyle Barraclough took over and got the first out of the inning before Sean Doolittle came on and brought an end to the drama ... after giving up a double by Buster Posey, and a walk to Brandon Belt. Ballgame.

Nationals now 8-8