Nationals keep rolling behind Fister's gem
Starter hurls seven shutout innings; Span, Werth drive in runs
SAN FRANCISCO -- What more can one say about the Nationals' starting rotation? It continues to be dominating and Tuesday was no different at AT&T Park. Right-hander Doug Fister was solid for seven innings as Washington edged the Giants, 2-1.
The Nationals have won nine out of their last 11 games and remain in a first-place tie with the Braves in the National League East.
For right fielder Jayson Werth, he was reminded by a close friend that this current Nationals team is reminiscent of the 2012 team that won the NL East title.
"We're getting hot right now," Werth said. "A close friend of mine texted me today; he said we looked like the 2012 Nats. That's good. We played great in '12. We won close to 100 games that year and won the division. When people start taking notice of the type of ball you are playing, it feels good. I see it, too. We are playing well. We're clicking on all cylinders. We are playing the type of baseball that you want to play in the second half and we're playing it in June. We have a long way to go, 100 games left or something like that. It's good."
It was a game that had a little bit of everything -- pitching, timely hitting and defense. It started with Fister on the mound. Fister, who has won five straight starts, allowed eight hits and struck out three batters.
But talk to Fister, he never seems to be satisfied with his outings.
"Overall, again, there are some positive things and some things I need to work on. It was a constant battle tonight. We were able to do what we needed to do. It's good," Fister said.
The performance added to the strength of the rotation. In its last eight games, Washington's starters pitched a combined 58 innings, allowed seven earned runs, struck out 54 batters and walked two.
The Giants came close to scoring a run in the sixth inning. Brandon Crawford singled to right field. Pablo Sandoval tried to score on the play, but was thrown out by Werth in right field.
"There's not much to it," Werth said. "It was a hard-hit ball, charge it, I got a good hop. I got a good grip with four seams and let it fly."
Werth said throwing out Sandoval was more gratifying than driving in the winning run.
"I take pride in my defense. You don't get many chances to throw people out," Werth said.
Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner didn't pitch badly, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs on eight hits. Washington scored both runs in the fifth inning. Ian Desmond scored the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Denard Span. Werth followed with a single to left field, scoring Danny Espinosa.
"Hitting third in a big league lineup, that's something as a kid you are dreaming about," Werth said. "This is really my second year in that slot. I take pride in my hitting as well. It's a big accomplishment to be a three-hole hitter. I take pride in it. It's a big responsibility. I enjoy driving in runs and getting hits. I've always enjoyed getting big hits."
Reliever Tyler Clippard blanked San Francisco in the eighth, and Rafael Soriano picked up his 13th save of the season despite allowing a run in the ninth.
"Usually when you pitch a game like that, you've got a pretty good chance of winning. Just didn't work out our way. Fister was pretty good out there," Bumgarner said. "They got a chance. I think they've got a pretty good lineup and they've got some good pitching, so they've got a well-rounded team. It comes down to whether they execute or not, but they definitely got the talent over there."