WASHINGTON -- An awful sound, something like a broken plastic bat hitting a whiffle ball, echoed throughout RFK Stadium when Rajai Davis made contact against starter Tim Redding in the second inning.
Yet the ball dribbled past third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who was playing in because of Davis' speed, and down the left-field line for a double. The hit, ugly even by broken-bat standards, drove in what turned out to be the winning runs Friday night in the San Francisco Giants' 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals.
"Broken bat speaks for itself," Redding said. "He didn't barrel it up. He didn't hit it out of the ballpark. He didn't hit it all that cleanly. It's just one of those situations where he snuck it between Zim and the third-base bag and kept it fair, and there's nothing I can do about it."
Kevin Correia, in his longest outing as a starter in more than two years, and a shutout performance by the bullpen made Davis' hit stand up as the Giants won for the 12th time in 15 games. Correia (3-6) allowed two runs and five hits, struck out two and walked one over six innings. He is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three starts since coming out of the bullpen to join the rotation.
Correia gave up hits to three of the first four batters he faced but quickly settled down.
"Going from relieving to starting, my stamina's not where it would be if I was starting all year," Correia said. "It's just a question of if I was a little tired -- I was able to get some quick innings after that. I didn't have my best stuff, but I kind of worked around it and the positive sign is that you get people out."
The Nationals have dropped seven straight, blowing a lead in each game. They are a season-worst 19 games below .500. Manager Manny Acta called a team meeting Friday afternoon to tell his players to stay focused, but he said he didn't think they were pressing.
"I don't think we're going to win the division," Acta deadpanned, "so I don't think they're going to press."
The Giants got all the runs they needed in the second. Pedro Feliz led off with a ground-rule double that took a funny hop before bouncing off the railing in the right-field corner. After Omar Vizquel walked, Feliz scored on Daniel Ortmeier's single to right.
The Nationals then missed a chance at a double play when Correia bunted sharply back to Redding. Redding looked to throw to third, but Zimmerman had charged. Acta said Redding should have gone to second.
"It's a double-play bunt," Acta said. "We could have gotten out of that inning giving up no more than one run. It's the way things are going right now."
Two batters later, Davis drove in two runs with his broken-bat hit to make it 3-1, his first RBI in 13 games.
"I got just enough wood on it to put it by Zimmerman," Davis said. "Seems like he didn't move."
Redding (3-5) struggled with his control again, walking five batters for the second straight start. He was pulled after five innings, having already thrown 104 pitches.
The Nationals scored in the first on an RBI single by Dmitri Young, and in the fourth on Austin Kearns' leadoff homer.
Barry Bonds, who hit his record 756th home run against the Nationals on Aug. 7, sat out the first game of the road trip. He is expected to play Saturday.
Correia made 51 appearances as a reliever this year before an injury to Russ Ortiz moved him into the starting rotation. His last stint as a starter came in 2005, and his last long outing was eight innings on Aug. 26 of that year against the New York Mets.
After Correia was pulled for a pinch hitter, Tyler Walker, Brian Wilson and Brad Hennessey shut out the Nationals over the final three innings. Wilson has yet to allow a run in 11 2/3 innings over 11 appearances this year. Hennessey pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
"We missed a couple of opportunities, but the runs held up," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "It all came down to the pitching -- Kevin and the bullpen."
Redding is 0-13 against the NL West in his career. He has pitched in 23 games, including 17 starts, against the division. ... Young, contending for the NL batting title, went 1-for-3. He is batting .337. ... The Giants have a six-game road winning streak, their longest since 2004.