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Washington Nationals drop opener with San Francisco Giants, 5-3 final in Oracle Park...

They battled back from a 3-0 deficit to tie it up, but the Nationals dropped the first of three with the Giants, 5-3.

MLB: Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

After falling behind 3-0 early, the Washington Nationals rallied to tie things up at 3-3 in the top of the fourth tonight in San Francisco, CA’s Oracle Park, but solo home runs in the fifth and seventh put the Giants back on top in the series opener of the final “first-half” matchup.

Darin Ruf and Wilmer Flores hit the second and third home runs of the game for the home team after Ruf drove in the Giants’ first run with an RBI single in the first, and Curt Casali’s two-run home run in the second made it a three-run lead. Final Score: 5-3 Giants.

Espino vs the Giants: Paolo Espino tossed 3 13 innings in relief of an injured Max Scherzer in the nation’s capital in June, when the Giants were visiting Nationals Park, allowing three hits, and one earned run, on a solo home run, in a 56-pitch appearance.

Last time out on the mound before tonight, he started against the Los Angeles Dodgers and went 4 13 innings in which he gave up three hits, three walks, and three earned runs in a 5-3 loss in which he received no decision.

That outing came after he’d tossed five scoreless against the New York Mets.

In four starts and 18 23 innings pitched this season, Espino, 34, had a 2.41 ERA, four walks, 10 Ks, and a .242/.278/.379 line against (vs a 2.53 ERA, 3 walks, 18 Ks, and a .175/.205/.300 line against in 15 games and 21 13 IP in relief) before tonight.

Going up against the Giants again, Espino lost an eight-pitch battle with leadoff man Mike Yastrzemski, walking the first batter in the bottom of the first, but he got two before Darin Ruf singled to right to drive the leadoff walk in and make it a 1-0 game after one in Oracle Park.

Donovan Solano singled in the first at bat of the Giants’ second, and catcher Curt Casali hit an 0-2 fastball out to left in the next at bat to make it a 3-0 game in the home team’s favor.

It was a 3-3 game when Espino returned to the mound in the fourth, and retired the first two batters he faced, but back-to-back singles by Casali and pinch hitter Thairo Estrada brought an end to his outing...

Paolo Espino’s Line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 73 P, 51 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

Webb vs the Nationals: Logan Webb, 24, and a 2014 4th Round draft pick by the Giants, took the mound tonight with a 3.94 ERA, 17 walks, 53 Ks, and .253/.330/.368 line against over 48 IP as a starter in the majors this season, coming off three straight wins in which he posted a 1.06 ERA, three walks, 21 Ks, and a .164/.227/.230 line against in 17 IP over that stretch.

Those wins were back in late May, however.

Webb came off a rehab stint for a right shoulder strain to make tonight’s start, after just one two-inning appearance for the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate, so he wasn’t expected to be around long.

Webb worked around an error in a scoreless, 18-pitch first, a leadoff single in a 17-pitch top of the second, and retired the side in order in a 10-pitch third that ended his outing.

Castreak: Starlin Castro started the night with an 11-game hit streak going, over which the 31-year-old infielder was 17 for 38 (.447 AVG) with four doubles, one home run, 11 RBIs, five walks, and eight runs scored, and multi-hit efforts in six of those 11 games. Once again, he wasted no time extended his streak, singling to center the first time up against the Giants’ starter, Logan Webb. Would he have another multi-hit game? Mais bien sûr. A single in the seventh made it multi-hit games in 7 of 12 on the streak.

Bullpen Action: Jose Álvarez took over for the Giants in the top of the fourth, with the home team in Oracle Park up, 3-0, and gave up a single by Juan Soto before walking Josh Bell. A fly to center by Starlin Castro moved Soto over to third, and Tres Barrera, who took over for Yan Gomes after the catcher tweaked something on a swing in his first at bat, tripled off the center field wall to drive in two runs, 3-2.

John Brebbia took over on the mound for the Giants, and got the second out of the fourth without Barrera scoring from third base, but a two-out RBI double to center by Gerardo Parra tied it up, 3-3. Parra tried to score on a Paolo Espino single to center in the next at bat, and it wasn’t even close. Out at home, 3-3 in the 4th.

Sam Clay took over for Paolo Espino with two on and two out in the bottom of the fourth, and hit Mike Yastrzemski to load the bases, before pinch hitter Austin Slater lined out to shortstop. Still 3-3.

Jarlín García worked around a one-out single by Trea Turner for a scoreless top of the fifth.

Clay came back out for the bottom of the fifth and retired two batters, but Darin Ruf got all of a 2-1 sinker and hit a solo shot to center field, 433 feet from home to put the Giants up 4-3 with his ninth home run of the season.

Zack Littell worked around a leadoff walk to Starlin Castro in a 10-pitch frame, getting a slick 6-4-3 DP out of Tres Barrera after the free pass, and striking out Josh Harrison.

Curt Casali doubled on a catchable ball to left that Josh Harrison got twisted up on, but Kyle McGowin stranded the only runner to reach base in a scoreless bottom of the sixth.

Gerardo Parra walked to start the Nationals’ seventh, and took third on a single to center by pinch hitter Yadiel Hernández. Alcides Escobar bunted one too hard to a charging Darin Ruf at first for Parra to score in the next at bat, but did move Hernández up. Trea Turner stepped in next, and hit a grounder to short on which Parra tried to score but got thrown out. Juan Soto? Groundout to second. Still 4-3 Giants.

Wander Suero gave up a one-out solo shot to center by Wilmer Flores in the bottom of the seventh, after the Nationals failed to score a run in the top of the inning, 5-3.

Starlin Castro, Tres Barrera, and Josh Harrison hit back-to-back-to-back, one-out singles off Giants’ righty Tyler Rogers in the top of the eighth, but Parra stepped in next and grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP. Still 5-3 Giants.

Ryne Harper tossed a scoreless bottom of the eighth to keep it close.

Jake McGee came on to close it out in the top of the ninth inning, and retired the first two Nationals before Trea Turner singled to get Juan Soto up.

Soto started up 2-0, at which point McGee got a mound visit, but he missed again, 3-0, and walked Soto on the next pitch. Josh Bell stepped up next, and grounded out to end it.

Final Score: 5-3 Giants

Nationals now 42-45