Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Giants 5

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 6, Giants 5

BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO When the Giants stepped off the plane in the predawn, mid-Atlantic gloaming four days ago, they were a first-place team within a whisper of the best record in the National League.And if they could count on one thing, it was their ability to hold a big lead. They were 74-1 over the last two seasons whenever they gained an advantage of three runs or more.But the Washington Nationals exercised veto power. The Nats stamped themselves as the class of the Senior Circuit, roaring back from a three-run deficit for the second consecutive night. They staged a two-run rally against closer Santiago Casilla in the ninth to sweep the Giants with a 6-5 victory at Nationals Park.The Giants had a chance to send the game to extra innings when second baseman Ryan Theriot fielded a bases-loaded grounder from Adam LaRoche. But shortstop Brandon Crawford bounced the throw and Brandon Belt wasnt able to scoop it as the winning run scored.While blowing a 5-1 lead, the Giants were swept in a three-game series for the second time this season. They blew a 3-0 lead a night earlier.Starting pitching reportAlthough it probably wasnt at the forefront of his mind, Matt Cain took the mound with an opportunity to firm up his credentials to be named the NLs starting pitcher in the All-Star Game.He certainly beefed up his case in the first six innings while holding the Nationals to one run, which scored on a double-play grounder.But Cain was taxed in the sixth when he had a spirited, 10-pitch battle with talented 19-year-old Bryce Harper. The young center fielder kept flicking his bat at two-strike pitches before he finally grounded out on a two-seamer that Cain left over the heart of the plate.Impressively, Cain was able to generate power through the heat and humidity to throw an explosive, 93 mph fastball past Michael Morse to end the sixth.But perhaps he wore battle fatigue in the seventh, when Ian Desmond hammered an opposite-way home run and Danny Espinosa followed with another shot. Cain gave up a deep out to Jesus Flores at the warning track for the second out, ending his night.His line: 6 23 innings, six hits, three runs (all earned), one walk, four strikeouts, two homers allowed, 103 pitches, 62 for strikes.And he departed in line for his 10th victory. Cain wouldve joined Madison Bumgarner as the first pair of 10-win teammates in the NL this season. The Giants havent had two 10-game winners at the break since Cain and Tim Lincecum in 2009.Bullpen reportThe Giants havent played many torturous games in the late innings, but this one qualified.Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt replaced Cain with the bases empty and a 5-3 lead, but pinch hitter Mark DeRosa (remember him?) roped a double and Steve Lombardozzi hit a liner to the mound that Affeldt deflected for a single. Harper followed with a tremendous at-bat, patiently taking two tantalizing sliders to get ahead and then fisting a double that barely escaped left fielder Melky Cabreras running attempt. Harper hustled for a double as DeRosa scored to make it a one-run game.Sergio Romo pulled the escape hatch, getting a lineout from Ryan Zimmerman to strand two runners in scoring position.Romo needed to escape again in the eighth after Desmond blooped a two-out single and Espinosa was hit by a pitch. Flores followed with a fly ball to left field, and Cabrera practically waved his arm out of his socket to make sure Angel Pagan would yield to him as he made the catch.Casilla couldnt get the same breaks in the ninth. Tyler Moore led off with a pinch double and Casilla hurt himself when he bobbled a sacrifice bunt for an error that put runners at the corners. Harper followed with a hard-hit single through the left side that tied the game.An intentional walk loaded the bases and the Giants momentarily survived when Theriot fielded Michael Morses grounder and threw to the plate. Catcher Buster Posey barely kept his right foot on the plate to record the forceout.But the Giants came up short while trying to make one more defensive play.At the plateThe Giants created plenty of action against left-hander Ross Detwiler, just as manager Bruce Bochy envisioned when he loaded his lineup with right-handed bats. Detwiler entered the game having held lefty hitters to a .113 average.Justin Christian got a rare start at leadoff and made the most of it, tying his career high with three hits. Angel Pagan also had three hits just his second multiple-hit performance in his last 21 starts. And Melky Cabrera improved to 40-for-92 against left-handed pitchers (thats a .425 average) after going 2-for-3 with a run-scoring double and an RBI groundout against Detwiler.The Giants rapped out 11 hits in five innings against Washingtons starting pitcher. But they couldnt land anything stronger than jabs, and it was just a 3-1 game when the Nationals turned it over to their strong bullpen.The two most egregiously wasteful moments: A) Loading the bases with one out but failing to score in the first inning; B) Stranding Pagan after his RBI triple with no outs in the seventh.In fieldLaRoche essentially said, We dont need no stinking spray charts when he put down a perfect bunt to beat an exaggerated infield shift in the fourth inning. When LaRoche batted again to lead off the seventh, the Giants stationed their infielders in more traditional spots.The Nats had an outside chance at a triple play when Joaquin Arias grounded sharply to third base with runners at first and second in the fifth inning. But Ryan Zimmerman slipped a bit and bounced his throw to second base, resulting in the odd 5-4 fielders choicedouble play.AttendanceThe Nationals announced 29,819 paid. Any fans who wagered on Teddy Roosevelt in the presidents race deserved to be parted from their money.Up nextThe Giants finish the unofficial first half with a three-game series at Pittsburgh. Its actually the fourth consecutive series in which theyll face a first-place club; the Reds led the NL Central when they played at AT&T Park last weekend, but the Pirates occupy the top spot now. Itll be left-hander Barry Zito (6-6, 3.84) against left-hander Erik Bedard (4-9, 4.57) on Friday night. Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Lincecum have the following two assignments, when theyll face right-handers James McDonald and A.J. Burnett, respectively.

Blach knocked around as Giants drop three of four to Padres

Blach knocked around as Giants drop three of four to Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers has had his way with the San Francisco Giants, and so has San Diego.

Oh how this rivalry has shifted - not to mention Myers' power stroke at AT&T Park, where he has already cleared the fences five times this season.

He decided to embrace the ballpark's challenging conditions and typical chilly temperatures coming off the bay.

Myers homered for a career-best third straight game against San Francisco, Jabari Blash hit a go-ahead two-run double in the decisive fourth to back Dinelson Lamet, and the San Diego Padres beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

"One of the big things is just actually wanting to come here to play. Last year I kind of dreaded coming here because it's a pitcher's ballpark and they have great pitchers," Myers said. "One thing I did this year was just got excited to play here. It's the mindset you got to have if you want to play well."

Lamet (4-4) struck out six pitching into the seventh in his 10th big league start and sixth on the road. He has allowed three or fewer earned runs in six of his outings.

San Diego hit three straight doubles in the fourth and four consecutive hits in all against lefty Ty Blach (6-6), who is yet to beat the Padres in three career starts.

Hector Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the fourth against his former and Cory Spangenberg hit an RBI single.

Myers clobbered a 3-2 pitch for his 20th home run with two outs in the first. The Giants tied it in the bottom half when Buster Posey's RBI single scored Denard Span, who doubled leading off the inning.

"A couple bad pitches they ambushed me early in the count," Blach said. "It's frustrating when you're rolling like that you can't make adjustments quick enough."

Lamet surrendered eight hits and two runs and walked a batter in 6 2/3 innings as the teams finished after nine innings following extra-inning games the previous two days. Brad Hand, San Diego's third reliever, finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.

Sanchez had a season-best three hits Friday and finished this series 5-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs. He is a career .464 hitter (13 for 28) with five homers and 14 RBIs against San Francisco, which hasn't won a series with the Padres since May 2016.

The Giants had won the past three starts by Blach, who allowed five runs on eight hits in seven innings, struck out seven and walked one after winning his last two decisions.

San Diego has won seven of the last nine meetings in the rivalry, currently featuring the two bottom teams in the NL West.

"We still have a ton of respect for who they are, the players on the field and what they've done," Padres manager Andy Green said. "We know at any point in time they could go reel off 10 or 12 and have a great run. We don't want that to start on us."

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Padres: 2B Yangervis Solarte, a switch-hitter sidelined by a strained left oblique muscle, is set to begin swinging from the right side Monday. The left side hasn't been a problem. ... RHP Craig Stammen is still two or three days away from pitching after he strained a hamstring, Green said. ... OF Travis Jankowski's rehab will be extensive, with him staying with Triple-A El Paso through the month as he nurses a bruised bone in his right foot. ... LF Jose Pirela got a break.

Giants: Closer Mark Melancon threw all of his pitches in a mound session as he works back from a second DL stint with a strained forearm. "Now it's a matter how he comes out of it," manager Bruce Bochy said. Melancon is likely to need another two or three weeks and the Giants have no target date for his return. The reliever could face hitters within a week. ... RHP Johnny Cueto, who landed on the DL with blisters on three fingers, played light catch. ... 2B Joe Panik had a day off.

UP NEXT:
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (5-10, 5.35 ERA) faces the Mets owning a 4.17 ERA against New York over his initial seven starts.

Giants: RHP Matt Cain (3-8, 5.49) will try to avoid matching the longest losing streak of his career at eight games - from July 28, 2015-May 10, 2016 - when he pitches the series opener at home against Pittsburgh.

No room for Eduardo Nunez? Red Sox call up top third base prospect

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USATSI

No room for Eduardo Nunez? Red Sox call up top third base prospect

The Boston Red Sox have promoted Rafael Devers from Triple-A Pawtucket, manager John Farrell announced Sunday.

Devers will play his first game on Tuesday.

The third baseman has spent his 2017 season and Portland (AA) and Pawtucket (AAA). With the Pawsox, Devers had a .324 batting average in 34 at-bats. He had 11 hits, one double, two homers and four RBIs.

The Sox have been unsettled at third base during the 2017 season, and released third baseman Pablo Sandoval Wedneday. Devin Marrero, Tzu-Wei Lin and Brock Holt have rotated at third base throughout the season. However, the Sox optioned Lin to Pawtucket last week.

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