Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 9, Giants 4

July 4, 2012, 6:22 pm
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WASHINGTON The Giants needed something stronger than caffeine to compete with the Washington Nationals in a rare Wednesday morning game.With their eyes wide open for the 11:05 a.m. start, the Nats hit three opposite-field home runs in a five-batter span against Madison Bumgarner.The Giants? Theyve hit two opposite-field home runs all season. Buster Posey owns em both, and those came in April.So it's fair to say the hot, breezy and lively conditions didnt suit the Giants against the NLs top club. Bumgarner got tagged for seven runs as the Nationals celebrated their independence with a 9-4 victory.The Nats have scored 18 runs while roaring to take the first two games of this series.Starting pitching reportBumgarner was coming off his first career shutout, a one-hitter over the offensively talented Cincinnati Reds. But the Nationals have power threats as well, and this game wasnt exactly played in the crisp air of AT&T Park.The Nationals rallied back from a 3-0 deficit to tie it in the third inning. Ryan Zimmerman missed a three-run home run by inches when his RBI double smacked the wall in left field. But Bumgarner could not catch another break to escape the inning.With the bases loaded, he threw a good 2-2 curveball that Ian Desmond managed to ground through the middle for a tying, two-run single.That was the end of the seeing-eye portion of Bumgarners morningafternoon.Third-string catcher Jhonatan Solano, a right-handed hitter, put the Nationals ahead in the fourth when he drove a 2-2 slider deep to right-center field. The ball somehow kept carrying and soared well into the stands.The Nats found their sweet spot.Zimmerman hit a two-run homer to right-center in the fifth inning, again on a 2-2 slider, and Mike Morse made it back-to-back shots when he crushed an 0-2 fastball down the middle to the same area.Bumgarners seven earned runs amounted to a season high. It was the most hes allowed since June 21, 2011 the infamous game when the Minnesota Twins tacked an eight spot on him and he got hooked having recorded just one out.Bumgarners ERA soared from 2.85 to 3.27, fuzzying any longshot chance to be added as an injury replacement to the NL All-Star squad.Bullpen reportIt was another fine day of custodial work for the relievers. Once again, we direct you to the box score if you really must know more.At the platePablo Sandoval, that All-Star with the cute nickname, cranked a two-run home run that gave the Giants a 3-0 lead in the first inning. He hit an RBI double in the sixth and finished a triple away from his second career cycle, too.But thats where the thump ended for the Giants against Edwin Jackson and Co.The Nats hit three home runs off Bumgarner, right? Want to guess the last time the Giants hit three homers off an opposing starter?It wasnt this season. Try Sept. 18, 2011 at Coors Field, a day the Rockies Esmil Rogers would like to forget. (Matt Cain, Mike Fontenot, Brandon Belt and Sandoval went deep.)The Giants lack of power really hurts them on days like Wednesday. Its been 65 innings since anyone other than Sandoval hit one out. (Melky Cabrera, in the fourth inning June 26 against the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw.)In fieldSecond baseman Emmanuel Burriss made a nice play in his hometown after Pablo Sandoval threw wide. Burriss managed to tap-toe the bag on his way down after receiving the throw, then got off a strong throw of his own to help save a run in the sixth inning.AttendanceThe Nats announced 35,806 paid. Kegs and eggs. An American tradition.Up nextThe Giants and Nationals complete their three-game series with a Thursday night game. Itll be right-hander Matt Cain (9-3, 2.53), who once pitched a five-inning complete game at Nationals Park, against left-hander Ross Detwiler (4-3. 3.30).