Aug 23, 2014, 7:55 PM EST
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.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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