San Francisco Giants Pitching Helps Edge Out Washington Nationals

The San Francisco Giants sent a 'ripple' through the National League playoff picture with their win over the Washington Nationals, who seem to be a 'friend of the devil,' losing their third-straight ballgame on Grateful Dead Night at AT&T Park Thursday in San Francisco.

Ryan Vogelsong took the hill for the Giants and turned in a great outing, but it didn't start very well. The first pitch he threw was turned around and hit out of the park for a leadoff home run by Yunel Escobar of the Nationals. That had Washington going well early, but after that, they were shut down.

Vogelsong's outing lasted just five innings as he gave up just one run on three hits, while striking out eight and walking four.

After the home run by Escobar to get the Nationals out to an early lead, San Francisco wasted no time getting back in the ball game as Matt Duffy singled home Gregor Blanco, who led off the inning with a triple, to knot the game up at one. Two batters later, Buster Posey shot an RBI single to left to score Duffy and put the Giants in front 2-1 after the first inning of play.

Stephen Strasburg got the start for Washington and after the two-run first inning, settled in to a nice groove. He ended up throwing six innings giving up just those two runs on seven hits, while striking out eight and walking two.

After Strasburg was done for Washington, reliever Felipe Rivero couldn't hold the Giants at two as San Francisco tacked on an insurance run in the seventh. Brandon Belt fought off a pitch on the hands for a bloop single in to left, which scored Gregor Blanco from second after he stole to get into scoring position.

It was a tough night for the Nationals offense as they only managed five total hits and two after the fifth inning. Bryce Harper was the only National to record two hits in the ballgame, both of which were singles. They also were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

In the ninth, Santiago Casilla came in to close it down and converted the save opportunity making the two-out double by Michael A. Taylor a moot point in the outcome.

This was a big win for the Giants as they picked up a game in the division race with the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers dropping their game to the Cincinnati Reds, 10-3. As for the Nationals, their slide continues as they have lost their third-straight game and now are 4.5 games back of the NL East leading New York Mets, who picked up their fourth win in a row.

The series continues Friday in San Francisco with Max Scherzer taking the hill for the Nationals against Matt Cain of the Giants.

WP: Ryan Vogelsong (8-8, 4.15 ERA)

LP: Stephen Strasburg (6-6, 4.62 ERA)

SV: Santiago Casilla (28 saves)