Jon Lester didn’t last long, with a mix of misplays, errors, weak hits, and bad luck leading to an early exit after he gave up nine hits, two walks, and eight runs, three earned, in just 2 2⁄3 innings pitched against the San Francisco Giants, who got six more scoreless from Anthony DeSclafani, after he tossed a complete game shutout against Washington in Nationals Park in June. This one ended up 10-4 in the Giants’ favor.
Lester vs SFG: After giving up two earned runs or fewer in a five-start stretch between May 29th and June 19th, putting up a 2.55 ERA, seven walks, 17 Ks, and a .267/.315/.436 line against in 24 2⁄3 IP over that stretch, Jon Lester, 37, struggled in his last three starts heading into this afternoon’s outing in Oracle Park, giving up 18 hits, nine walks, and 17 runs, 14 of them earned, in 10 2⁄3 IP (11.81 ERA) in those appearances.
Asked what he needed to do to turn things around and find a fix after he went just 3 1⁄3 IP in his start against the Padres earlier on this road trip, a frustrated Lester said, “Hell, if I knew, I would do it.”
“I don’t know, maybe being too fine, a little too fine,” he explained. “I feel like I had a good feel for my changeup early on in the year, and I just feel like I haven’t been maybe trusting it a little bit, maybe same thing with the sinker.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. Like I said, if I knew, I wouldn’t constantly put myself in 2-0 situations to give these guys a chance.”
Lester was in another bad situation early this afternoon, with a one-out walk, single, and an ROE (on a dropped fly to the warning track in left-center by Nationals’ left fielder Gerardo Parra) loading the bases with Giants before a liner to left by Donovan Solano brought in the first run, 1-0. Parra got the next one hit his way, taking it off the top of the wall, but it was good for a sac fly by SF catcher Joey Bart, 2-0, and after an infield single loaded them back up, a swinging bunt off Thairo Estrada’s bat died in the grass on the left side of the infield as another run scored, 3-0 after one.
Three-run first inning ✅— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 10, 2021
Five-run third inning ✅ pic.twitter.com/6CNXOEmJGj
Darin Ruf hit a ground-rule double off the track and over the wall on a 2-2 sinker in the first at bat of the third, and he moved up when Donovan Solano reached on an error by Starlin Castro, then scored on an RBI single to center by Brandon Crawford, 4-0. It was 5-0 after a jam-shot to center by Joey Bart, and 6-0 on an infield single by Thairo Estrada. Austin Slater added to the lead with another jam shot on a 2-2 fastball inside that he powered out to left, 7-0.
Mike Yastrzemski added a bases-loaded sac fly to make it 8-0 before Davey Martinez came out to pull his starter...
Jon Lester’s Line: 2.2 IP, 9 H, 8 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 80 P, 46 S, 4/5 GO/FO.
DeSclafani vs D.C.: Giants’ righty Anthony DeSclafani tossed a complete game shutout in D.C. when he faced the Nationals back in June, giving up just two hits and a walk in a 103-pitch effort in which he struck out eight of the 28 batters he faced, one over the minimum.
“I thought his command was excellent,” Giants’ skipper Gabe Kapler said of DeSclafani’s start against the Nationals, as quoted in The Mercury News.
“He knew when to be just off the plate, but he was constantly around the plate and that’s what allowed him to be efficient.”
DeSclafani threw 40 of 63 pitches for strikes, as he was once again around the plate today in Oracle Park, as threw four scoreless to start the second of three with the Nationals, and got up to 13-straight scoreless as the Giants jumped out to an 8-0 lead.
He was up to 86 pitches in six scoreless after working around a two-out single by Josh Bell in the top of the sixth, and with a 9-0 lead, the Giants went to the pen at that point.
Anthony DeSclafani’s Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 86 P, 54 S, 8/3 GO/FO.
Starlin Castreak: Going into today’s game, Starlin Castro had hit safely in 12 straight games, going 19 for 41 (.463 AVG) with four doubles, one home run, 11 RBIs, six walks, and a total of eight runs scored over that stretch, with multi-hit efforts in seven of the 12 during the streak.
Castro singled the first time up against Giants’ righty Anthony DeSclafani, so 20 for 42 (.476 AVG).
Bullpen Action: Ryne Harper got the final out of the Giants’ third, and returned to the hill in the fourth and worked around a one-out double for a scoreless frame.
Harper was up to 39 pitches overall after he worked around a double and a walk in a 22-pitch bottom of the fifth.
Kyle McGowin came on for the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth, and gave up a 422 foot home run to center by Brandon Crawford, who got all of a 3-2 slider up and in and hit it out to put the Giants up 9-0.
McGowin left the mound with an undisclosed issue later in the sixth, after a brief talk on the mound with Davey Martinez and the team’s trainer.
Jefry Rodríguez took over with two down and got the third out of the inning. 9-0 Giants after six.
Tyler Beede took over for the Giants in the top of the seventh and gave up three runs, with Gerardo Parra (single) and Tres Barrera (HBP) reaching base with no one out, then scoring on a two-run triple by Alcides Escobar, 9-2, before Escobar scored on a wild pitch, 9-3.
Rodríguez struck out the side in a 12-pitch bottom of the seventh inning.
José Álvarez retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth.
Rodríguez walked the first three batters in the bottom of the eighth, on 13 pitches, loading the bases, and a one-out single by Thairo Estrada made it a 10-3 Giants.
John Brebbia got the top of the ninth for the home team and gave up a one-out double by Jakson Reetz, in Reetz’s first MLB at bat. Congrats.
Reetz took third on a single over the right side of the infield by Victor Robles, and scored on an RBI groundout by Josh Harrison. Harrison took third on a double by Alcides Escobar, but Trea Turner lined out to right to end the game.
Final Score: 10-4 Giants
Nationals now 42-46
[ed. note - “The Nationals didn’t post any highlights on Twitter. Don’t let this be the game where someone, ever year, asks why we only posted the other team’s highlights.”]