Giants

Nationals surging, slugging

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Nationals surging, slugging

Programming note: Giants-Nationals coverage starts at 3 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live, then live baseball from DC follows at 3:30 on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area!

Nats lineup producing at lastThe Giants may have caught a break dodging aces StephenStrasburg and and Gio Gonzalez. However, they are catching a Nationalsoffense that has hit its stride recently, Nationals Insider MarkZuckerman writes at CSNWashington.com.Over the final six games of this road trip through Colorado and Atlanta,the Nationals hit a collective .345, averaged 8.5 runs and 13.6 hits per game,mashing out 24 doubles and 13 homers in the process.Ryan Zimmerman received a cortisone shot in his ailingshoulder and Michael Morse has started getting his timing back after missingeight weeks with a torn lat muscle, and the rest of the Nationals has begunreaping the benefits that came with the resurgence of those two stalwarts.Is this more of a true reflection of the lineup theNationals envisioned all along?"No question," manager Davey Johnson said. "I've said all alongwe're going in the right direction. I know the talent here. I know what we're capableof, and to see us start doing it is more like us. Nine hits a ballgame, thatshould be our low with the talent on this ballclub."The Nationals have kept their offense going despite playingin oppressive heat. They recorded nine hits in triple-digit temperatures intheir series finale at Atlanta.Temperatures for Tuesdays series opener with the Giants are expected to be inthe high 90s.MORE: Nats lineup producing at last
Harper showing poise that defies his age
Bryce Harper may be just 19 years old, but he is displayinga maturity that goes beyond his age, Zuckerman writes. Even though Harper hasgone into a slump leading into the Nationals three-game series with theGiants, Harper continues to say the right things.When MLB's All-Star teams were announced yesterday andHarper learned he was among five players on the "Final Vote" ballot,he could have bragged about his own case for a ticket to Kansas City. Instead, he repeatedly insistedthe retiring Chipper Jones should win the vote."He should have already been in the All-Star Game, no matter what,"Harper said following yesterday's 8-4 win in Atlanta. "He's an All-Star and has beenan All-Star for 20 years. I think Chip should be there and ... if I had tovote, Chip's going."Harper could have made a major faux pas when the Yankeescame to town and said something that indicated his desire to someday play forhis favorite team growing up. Instead, he kept his focus on the Nationals,resisted the urge to hobnob around the batting cage with A-Rod and CC andDerek and eventually professed his desire to spend his entire career in Washington.MORE: Harper conducting himself like an All-Star

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

In what was set up to be a pivotal matchup of the game turned into a heated exchange.

Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday against Phillies closer Hector Neris.

But Posey never got to swing the bat. On the first pitch, Neris drilled the Giants catcher in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball.

Posey whinced in pain and as he walked to first base, he appeared to ask Neris if the pitch was on purpose.

After the game, Posey was asked about the kerfuffle.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose. And it's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he couldn't get me out," Posey told reporters after the game.

Posey was asked if he could think of any incidents in previous games against the Phillies that could have led to the hit-by-pitch. He said no and asked the reporters if they could think of anything.

Posey's comments were brought to Neris after the game.

"It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation,'" Neris told reporters, according to the Philly Inquirer.

Posey and Neris have faced each other just one time in the past. In the ninth inning of the June 3 matchup in Philadelphia, Posey flew out to left field.

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings in one of his best starts this season, took a line drive off his left shin and hit an RBI single that temporarily gave the Giants an early lead.

The reward? A heaping of praise from manager Bruce Bochy, handshakes from his teammates and another no-decision - Bumgarner's third in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.

Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins homered again, Pedro Florimon contributed with his bat and arm, and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

In what has been a theme for San Francisco much of the season, Bumgarner's efforts were overshadowed by another meltdown from the Giants' bullpen.

"I thought it was a good day for Madison," Bochy said. "We had it lined up like we wanted as far as the bullpen. (Hunter Strickland) just had an off day making some mistakes."

Bumgarner allowed one run and four hits. He stayed in despite taking a sharp line drive off his left shin in the second inning by Nick Williams - earlier this month, Williams hit Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the triceps with a line drive, forcing him from the game.

"I tried to do a kick save but I wasn't very good at soccer," Bumgarner said. "It almost worked out."

Hoskins connected for a solo drive in the ninth inning, making him the first Phillies player in at least 100 years to hit five home runs in his first 11 major league games.

"I got to better counts, I think this week, and the results show," Hoskins said.

Florimon hit a two-run single off Strickland (2-3) to cap a three-run eighth inning that made it 4-2. Florimon also had an RBI double off Bumgarner in the second, then made a sparkling defensive play in left field to throw out Buster Posey at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

It was Florimon's first major league game in left field.

"I just try to catch the ball and throw the ball to home plate and see what happens," Florimon said. "I made a good throw."

Adam Morgan (2-1) retired three batters for the win, a day after throwing just one pitch and getting the victory.

Hector Neris pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 15th save. He struck out Pablo Sandoval with the bases loaded to end the eighth after hitting Posey in the back with a pitch, then fanned Denard Span with two on in the ninth to end it.

The Phillies won the season series against the Giants for the first time since 2011.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 going into the eighth. Hoskins and Maikel Franco hit consecutive one-out singles before Jorge Alfaro tied it with an RBI single. After Williams singled to load the bases, Florimon slapped a 1-2 pitch into right field.

Posey had two hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 22 games. Kelby Tomlinson scored a run and Ryder Jones doubled and scored for San Francisco.

PAINED POSEY:
Posey had a rough afternoon physically. In addition to taking a 95 mph fastball in the back, Posey also appeared to get hurt while tagging out a sliding Cameron Perkins at the plate in the second.

Afterward, the Giants' All-Star catcher voiced his displeasure about Neris.

"I'm certain that he hit me on purpose," Posey said. "It's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out."

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) continues to make steady progress and could come off the disabled list in time to join San Francisco on its upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Arizona.

UP NEXT:
Phillies: The team gets an off day before hosting Miami in a doubleheader Tuesday. RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) pitches in the first game and RHP Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) goes in the nightcap.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) faces Milwaukee on Monday.