Gio outpitches Peavy with help from homer
WASHINGTON -- Left-hander Gio Gonzalez and right-hander Jake Peavy found themselves in a pitchers' duel Friday night at Nationals Park. When it was over, Gonzalez won the battle as the Nationals edged the Giants, 2-1.
After the Giants took a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning on a Buster Posey home run, the Nationals answered back in the bottom of the inning, thanks to a two-run homer by Clint Robinson.
"The way the game was going, you knew one or two runs were going to win it," said Peavy, who made his first start since April 17 and his third of the year after overcoming back problems.
Posey briefly appeared to connect again with two outs in the ninth, but his first-pitch fly ball on a slider from Nationals closer Drew Storen died in medium-deep left field. The timing of Posey's swing was a millisecond off.
"I just got it a little deep," he said.
With the victory, the Nationals improved their record to 44-36, while the Giants have lost four straight games and fell to 42-39.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nats bats silent until seventh: After Yunel Escobar doubled in the first inning, the Nationals didn't collect a hit until the seventh inning. After Bryce Harper walked to lead off the inning, Robinson swung at a 1-1 pitch and put it in the right-center-field bleachers for a two-run homer. It was his fourth home run of the season and it proved to be the game winner.
"[I was] lucky enough it got the barrel, so I could get some carry on it. It's nice and simple. Nothing special," Robinson said. More >
Gone astray: Angel Pagan was safe at second base on a key sixth-inning play. Except Pagan didn't realize it. First baseman Robinson deflected Joe Panik's two-out ground ball to second baseman Danny Espinosa, who threw to second base in an attempt to force out Pagan. Shortstop Ian Desmond couldn't handle the ball but recovered it quickly enough to tag Pagan, who wandered off the bag in the belief that he was called out.
"It just goes to show you can't take it for granted," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Gio has solid outing: Gonzalez (6-4) pitched seven solid innings and allowed a run on five hits At one point in the game, Gonzalez retired 11 out of 12 batters. His only blemish was the home run to Posey. Not bad considering he had a long layoff between starts.
Prior to Friday, the last time Gonzalez pitched was last Saturday. He pitched one shutout inning against the Phillies before rain shut him down for the rest of the day.
"It was important to get his work in between [starts], but he was really strong," manager Matt Williams said. "The ball was coming out great and he was able to throw his changeups and curveballs for strikes and locate well with the fastball, too. He pitched really well for us." More >
Nice debut: Giants left-hander Josh Osich, freshly promoted from Triple-A, threw a scoreless eighth inning in his Major League debut. Osich walked two of the first three batters he faced but recovered by coaxing Harper to fly out.
"Even the best guys make outs," said Osich, who insisted he wasn't nervous about confronting the premier hitter.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Bochy challenged a first-inning out call at first base, claiming that Matt Duffy beat the relay to first base on what initially was ruled an inning-ending double-play grounder. The call on the field was overturned, putting Duffy on first base and prolonging the inning for the Giants.
In the third inning, Gonzalez thought he hit a solo home run down the left-field line, but the umpire called it foul. After a crew-chief review of one minute and 36 seconds, the call was confirmed. Gonzalez then flied out to center.
"There are only 750 jobs in the Major Leagues and there are thousands of guys trying to get one of them. It's about being in the right place at the right time. … Eventually that opportunity is going to come. Mine came this year. I'm trying to make the best of it." -- Robinson
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Nationals center fielder Denard Span has now reached base safely in 23 straight games, the third-longest such streak of his career. During that stretch, Span is hitting .319 with 15 runs scored and a .415 on-base percentage.
Giants: Who needs an alarm clock when you can just follow the Giants? Saturday's game at Washington, which Madison Bumgarner will start, is scheduled to begin at 8:05 a.m. PT to accommodate Fourth of July observances around the city throughout the afternoon and evening.
Nationals: The Nationals play a Saturday morning game against the Giants. Game time is 11:05 a.m. ET. Stephen Strasburg is looking to win his second straight game. He has allowed one run in his last 12 innings.
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