Giants offense erupts vs. struggling Nats

Giants offense erupts vs. struggling Nats

SAN FRANCISCO -- Continuing to torment Washington's formidable starting rotation, the Giants scored six third-inning runs Saturday night off Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez and cruised to a 12-6 triumph.

Gregor Blanco lined a bases-loaded RBI single before Matt Duffy pulled a three-run double to left field to fuel San Francisco's outburst. RBI singles by Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford finished Gonzalez (9-5), who had owned a 2.40 ERA in eight starts against San Francisco. The Giants have scored 14 runs in this series off Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Gonzalez.

Ian Desmond belted a homer, projected by Statcast™ to land 477 feet away, to give Washington apparent momentum and a 2-0 lead in the second inning against Giants starter Jake Peavy. But any advantage the Nats might have enjoyed began evaporating in the third inning as San Francisco improved to 12-2 in its last 14 home games.

Desmond's blast is 8th longest this season

Swept in four games at Chicago's Wrigley Field last week, the Giants are on the brink of administering a similar sweep to the Nationals.

"I've said it before -- we're a tough group," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Peavy's pass: The Giants' third-inning uprising gained momentum when Peavy, batting .188, coaxed a walk from Gonzalez to load the bases with nobody out. The free pass made a huge difference, as the Giants proceeded to score all six of the inning's runs after it was issued. More >

"I thought one of the day's biggest at-bats was Peavy's," Bochy said. "It changed the inning, really."

Peavy walks in 3rd

Gio loses it all of a sudden: Gonzalez retired the first six hitters he faced, then the bottom fell out in the third inning. The Giants scored six runs and Gonzalez left the game after getting two outs. More >

"I was falling behind on hitters. I wasn't making it easy, especially when your team gave you two runs," Gonzalez said "I took the momentum out of our hands and gave it back to the Giants. It's a tough pill to swallow especially when these guys are going out there getting two runs right off the bat."

Gonzalez fans Crawford

Can't stop Kelby: Second baseman Kelby Tomlinson played an integral role in the Giants' offense. He tripled to open the big third, then foiled Washington's strategy by lining a two-run double after Crawford drew a two-out intentional walk.

If Tomlinson was offended, he didn't show it. "I pretty much took it like any other at-bat," he said. "I keep my focus on what I'm trying to do, regardless of what happens in front of me."

Tomlinson's triple

The offense comes alive -- somewhat: The Nationals scored six runs on 10 hits. Their best inning came in the sixth, when Jose Lobaton drove in two runs with a double to make it a 9-5 game.

Lobaton's two-run double

Acrobatic play from the right side of the infield: With one out in the seventh inning and Felipe Rivero on the mound, Crawford hit a ball on the right side of the infield. First baseman Clint Robinson deflected the ball, which went to second baseman Anthony Rendon, who threw to Rivero for the second out of the inning. More >

"Sometimes, it just happens. It was a great play, very athletic," Robinson said.

QUOTABLE
"It's a loss, but we have a lot to play. Rock bottom -- we are still in this hunt [for the division], so, no. We have to play better, of course. To ask it that way and to answer it that way wouldn't be fair to the guys in that room. What we must do is get ready for tomorrow, see if we could beat the Giants tomorrow and get [on a roll] the rest of the way." -- Nationals manager Matt Williams

McCATTY EJECTED
Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty, normally a mild mannered man, was ejected by home plate umpire Corey Blaser on Saturday night in the bottom of the third inning. The Giants had the bases loaded when McCatty came out to talk to Gonzalez. After talking to Gonzalez for about a minute, McCatty was on his way back to the dugout when he started arguing with Blaser, who ejected the pitching coach. Williams then talked to Blaser to no avail. It was the first time McCatty was ejected from a game this season.

McCatty's ejection

WHAT'S NEXT
Nationals: Right-hander Joe Ross had his worst start of the season his last time out, as he allowed a season-high five runs in 4 2/3 innings -- his shortest outing this year. Ross attended Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif., a mere 18-mile drive from AT&T Park. More >

Giants: Aiming for a sweep of the four-game series, the Giants will turn to their best pitching option to accomplish that: Madison Bumgarner, who'll start the 1:05 p.m. PT contest. Bumgarner has lost his last three starts against the Nationals, posting a 4.74 ERA in those games.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.