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Instant analysis: Nats 6, Giants 2

Aug 23, 2014, 7:55 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Tim Lincecum has two Cy Young Awards on his mantel, two World Series rings on his fingers and a no-hitter on his resume from earlier this season. The only thing he doesn’t have: Any semblance of recent success against the Nationals, who have flat-out owned the right-hander the last five seasons.

The Nationals were at it again today against “The Freak,” battering him around for six runs in only 2 2/3 innings, the second-shortest start of his career. In his last seven starts against the Nats, dating back to 2010, Lincecum now is 0-6 with a 9.37 ERA and 2.05 WHIP.

Jordan Zimmermann also got into early trouble, giving up a double and a 2-run homer before ever recording an out. But the right-hander immediately got back on track and wound up tossing eight strong innings without allowing another run, which proved important because the Nationals couldn’t get anything else going against the San Francisco bullpen.

All the early offense was enough, though, and so the Nats held on to beat the Giants for the fourth time in six head-to-head matchups this season. They’re back on a new winning streak and are once again 20 games over the .500 mark.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: There was no shortage of production from up and down the Nationals’ lineup against Lincecum, but let’s focus on the top of the order, which did the most damage. Denard Span tripled in the first and singled home a run in the second. Anthony Rendon walked and reached on an error (one almost identical to the one that gave the Nats their 10th straight win the other night). And Jayson Werth twice delivered RBI singles, sending the ball back up the middle in each instance. The production of those three hitters has been key all season, and it played a big role in today’s win.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Zimmermann looked like he was in a world of trouble early, but truth be told, it wasn’t exactly his fault. The first-inning homer he surrendered to Hunter Pence came on an 0-2 fastball about a foot above the strike zone. Somehow, Pence hit it over the center-field fence. No matter, because Zimmermann was brilliant after that, retiring 23 of the remaining 28 batters he faced and never letting another run cross the plate. He struck out eight, didn’t issue a walk and never really gave the Giants a chance to come back in this game.

KEY STAT: Jayson Werth now owns an 87.6 percent career success rate on stolen base attempts, second-best in MLB history to Mike Trout (minimum 100 attempts).

UP NEXT: The series concludes at 1:35 p.m. Sunday, when Stephen Strasburg tries to improve to 11-10 against Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (7-9). The game will be televised by both TBS and MASN2.

  1. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:57 PM

    WoooooooooHoooooooo!!
    ( for you, MicheleS)

    • rabbit433 - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:01 AM

      Sorry Joe, hahaha, you just don’t sound like MicheleS!!!!!!!

  2. David Proctor - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:58 PM

    A new streak begins today

  3. Mrsb loves the Nats - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    And a new streak begins… awesome job Jordan And NATS bats…

    Props to McCatty, the pitcher whisperer. .. :-)

    • coollikelivo - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      Talk about “having someone’s number” Mrs.b — the Nats OWN lincecum… :-)

  4. Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:59 PM

    OK,I gotta say, I really prefer Anthony Rendon batting 2nd.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:01 PM

      +1

      • npb99 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        And it works. Rendon leads the NL in runs scored.

      • scmargenau - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:39 AM

        I think he leads all of mlb

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:37 AM

        He does.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Soriano should take note from Thornton. No panic or is that Panik. 1st batter gets a swinging bunt. Morse ambushed him for a single for the 1st and 2nd and no outs and he either needs a K or a doubleplay and got the doubleplay. Easy from there.

    Impressive. Drops his ERA to 1.97.

    • Joe Seamhead - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      Since Thornton changed leagues shouldn’t his stats only reflect what he’s done in the NL?
      Anyway, Soriano has also gotten a t least a couple of DP’s this year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        That’s the way it always was. For League awards you are correct. MLB reports the blended. BaseballRef reports them separate and combined.

  6. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    Ramos: I don’t know how he hit that ball high

  7. David Proctor - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:11 PM

    Interesting. Thornton gets out of a little jam and it’s a veteran keeping his cool. Soriano does it and he’s “making things interesting.”

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:19 PM

      He did both David. It is what it is. He has Panda 0-2 and sawed him off and got on with a swinging bunt. Morse ambushed him for that single. That’s when things got interesting.

      He needed a K or a doubleplay. Grounders can easily find holes and he got a beautiful bouncer right at Desi. Couldn’t have drawn it up better.

      Give the man credit. He got BABIP’d and made some big pitches.

      He also had a 4 run lead. Did you see MW get Soriano up immediately?

      • coop202 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        you’ll sing the same tune until he blows one… but for now I’m happy he’s been so good.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:15 PM

        Of course

    • Eric - Aug 24, 2014 at 9:37 AM

      Big +1 DP.

      Taking nothing from Thornton. Glad to have both of ‘em.

  8. natinalsgo - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    Ghost, I don’t think any comparisons are needed between Soriano and Thornton.

    Both are impressive in their own ways. Right?

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:27 PM

      My point is you get BABIP’d and making good pitches is you stick with the plan. Once you start missing spots it’s over. Thornton didn’t panic. He got out of it unscathed. It was impressive.

      • therealjohnc - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:41 PM

        I have never, ever seen Soriano panic while pitching. He doesn’t even particularly show signs of frustration, which drives a friend of mine up the wall. I try to tell him it’s part of Soriano’s schtick, but my friend would rather see someone stomp, swear, and generally throw temper tantrums because that shows that the care. I think that’s kinda dumb, but to each their own.

      • scmargenau - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:43 AM

        The diff is sori doesn’t have the “out” pitch Thorton does. It’s slider or fast ball, often flat with little movement. Nothing to make a hitter swing at something unhittable. And that is a huge diff for a closer.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    Whoa, Orioles lose again to the Cubs. Embarassing. 7-2

    • nats128 - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      Do you also realize the Nats have a better record than the Oreos. Chase Hughes should recheck his power rankings.

  10. Candide - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Before the game, I got a piece of scrap cardboard and very elegantly scrawled, “NIDO DRINKS OWED SETTLEMENT AREA” on it in Magic Marker.

    I stood around holding it a good 20 minutes, chatting with my friend Pete (occasionally posts here as “Pete ‘Hit and Run’ Wood”) before any NIDO regulars showed up. ArVaFan and spouse didn’t need any sign, since Cunegonde and I have had Alexandria Symphony season tickets right in front of them for years and years. My nephew came by after having driven down from New Jersey.

    Then Natsfan1a and Mr. Natsfan1a came by, and after they’d headed to their seats, Steady Eddie dropped in, before leaving for his seats in 136. And just before first pitch, when I’d put away my sign, who comes by but SJM308, who became the first person ever to ask me why I use the nom de blog, “Candide.”

    I really liked being in 314 except that you couldn’t track the ball – most fly balls, it was impossible to get any perspective of how far they’d been hit; you could only tell by watching the outfielders.

    But we were just below the N-A-T-S NATS NATS NATS WOOO! crowd, which was fun except that my nephew complained I was yelling too loud, the little p****.

    Great, fun game, starting in the bottom of the first.

    • therealjohnc - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      I noticed there were a couple of guys right around where you were sitting wearing Dodger shirts – and that they enthusiastically joined in with the N A T S cheers. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, I guess!

    • sjm308 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:53 PM

      Very nice to meet both Candide & ArVaFan

      Since we were biking over, we waited until we had pretty good word that a 5pm or so start was for real. Got a little wet but it was worth it.

      Candide – one reason I really really like 308 is how well I can track the ball. We have been in a couple different spots before settling into 308 and I would have a hard time leaving now.

      Blue/Red hat stays for at least one more game.

      Go Nats!!

      • Candide - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:19 PM

        …one reason I really really like 308 is how well I can track the ball.

        That’s one of the things we like about our 10-game seats in 219 – we can ALWAYS pick up the ball and have a pretty good idea how far it’s going. We saw the Pirates last week from section 133 and hardly ever saw the ball AT ALL – not the pitch, nor the location, nor the flight of the ball. Plus it was sunny and hot. Never again.

    • natsfan1a - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      It was nice to chat with you and ArVaFan and spouse. Sorry to have missed meeting sjm. One of these days…

  11. Ghost of Steve M. - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:17 PM

    • scmargenau - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:50 AM

      Holy moly bat man! (Pardon the pun)

      That’s crazy…and makes me feel better about jzims 1st inning.

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