San Francisco at Washington

W: J. Zimmermann (5-6) L: T. Lincecum (3-9)
HR: SF - None   WAS - I. Desmond (14)

Nationals 9, Giants 3 wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Wow. The Washington Nationals have scored a bunch of runs for Jordan Zimmermann in back-to-back starts. They must really be serious about this first-place thing they've got going.

Tim Lincecum also has something serious happening. His ERA is over 6.00 after one of the worst games of his career.

All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond hit his 14th home run Tuesday night, and the Nationals became the latest team to beat up on Lincecum, pounding the struggling right-hander early and often in a 9-3 victory against the San Francisco Giants.

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Zimmermann (5-6) is finally learning what it's like to pitch with a comfortable lead. He went a rain-shortened six innings to win at home for the first time since last August.

"It's nice. They're starting to come around and score early," Zimmermann said, "and give you a little room to breathe out there."

Zimmermann has gone at least six innings in every game this season and leads the team with 14 quality starts, but the NL East leaders are only 9-7 when he pitches.

The tide has turned in his past two starts, an 11-5 victory against Colorado to go with Tuesday's knockout of the Giants. He had been winless in his previous eight starts at National Park, with his team giving him a combined 10 runs of support while he was in the game.

"He's obviously the bulldog of our staff," Desmond said. "That's what kind of hurts when you don't score runs for him."

The Nationals have started hitting the ball better overall in the last few games, sustaining the momentum from that offensive spree in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains. Combine that with a pitching staff that leads the majors in gobs of categories, and it makes Washington look quite formidable.

"If they keep hitting the way they're hitting now, I don't see why we can't just run away with this in the second half," Zimmermann said. "If we keep pitching the way we are, it's going to be tough to beat us."

The Giants scored a pair on Zimmermann in the fifth, but it took a summer storm to send him to the showers. He was on the mound when rain started to fall in the seventh inning and was replaced by reliever Ryan Mattheus after an 85-minute delay.

Lincecum (3-9), by contrast, looked very beatable, allowing eight runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings. Seven runs were earned, making it the worst start ERA-wise in his major league career. The two-time Cy Young Award winner had started to look his old self again in his previous two starts, but Tuesday's effort in the heat and humidity -- it was 94 degrees at first pitch -- ballooned his ERA to 6.08.

"I think it's just coming here and dealing with the heat -- it's not like it's anything different than what we've dealt with -- it just got the better of me today a little bit," Lincecum said. "They made me work and made me pay for it."

Lincecum gave up two in the second, three in the third and three in the fourth. Every player in the Nationals starting lineup had at least one hit except catcher Jesus Flores, with even Zimmermann contributing an RBI double in the second inning.

"Obviously it's easy to look at what happened today and think I took a step back," Lincecum said. "I think that's where I've been wrong, just looking at all the negatives, and whether or not it was a step forward or a step back as opposed to where I can go from here. Yes, it's a bad outing, but the next outing has nothing to do with today."

Desmond had the biggest hit, a two-run shot to left field in the third. He had already topped his best power season in the majors, and now he has surpassed the 13 home runs he hit with Class A Potomac in 2007. He is also 9 for 12 lifetime against Lincecum.

"Whatever it is, I wish I could see it off every pitcher," Desmond said. "I think I kind of just rise to the occasion every time I face him. ... He gets my blood going a little bit."


The teams have an 11:05 a.m. first pitch for the Fourth of July. Someone with a sense of humor added a 6 a.m. batting practice to the schedule written on the whiteboard in the Nationals clubhouse. ... The Nationals placed RHP Chien-Ming Wang on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hip after he complained of pain during a bullpen session. RHP Henry Rodriguez was reinstated -- spoiling dinner reservations he had made with his wife. "I'm running around trying to find Henry," manager Davey Johnson said. "He looked disappointed." Rodriguez, who went on the DL on June 7 after slamming his right index finger in a bathroom door, came on in the ninth to retire the game's final batter.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

I. Desmond
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
San Francisco

G. Blanco
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0

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February 17, 2017
NL West Preview: San Francisco Giants (2:03)
San Francisco Giants
Gregor Blanco, RF-CF5032011 .256
Ryan Theriot, 2B5000025 .265
Melky Cabrera, LF3010013 .352
    Justin Christian, LF1000000 .143
Buster Posey, 1B3000014 .300
    Clay Hensley, P0000000 .000
    Brad Penny, P0000000 .000
   a- Joaquin Arias, PH-3B0100100 .245
Pablo Sandoval, 3B2010001 .302
    Emmanuel Burriss, 3B2010000 .216
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
Angel Pagan, CF2000002 .290
    George Kontos, P0000000 .000
   b- Brandon Belt, PH-1B1001010 .267
Hector Sanchez, C4100032 .254
Brandon Crawford, SS4130001 .241
Tim Lincecum, P1000010 .136
    Nate Schierholtz, RF3010012 .250
a-walked for Penny in the 8th
b-struck out for Kontos in the 6th
2B - Melky Cabrera (17, Zimmermann), Pablo Sandoval (12, Zimmermann)
SF - Brandon Belt (4)
RBI - Gregor Blanco 2 (21), Brandon Belt (30)
SB - Gregor Blanco (15, 2nd base off Zimmermann/Flores)
Team LOB - 8
E - Gregor Blanco (2, Throwing), Buster Posey (8, Missed catch of throw)
San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum (L,3-9) 3.1987221 6.08
George Kontos 1.2100020 1.80
Clay Hensley 1000010 3.30
Brad Penny 1100010 0.00
Javier Lopez 1211000 3.63
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Lincecum 87-48, George Kontos 29-21, Clay Hensley 7-6, Brad Penny 14-10, Javier Lopez 21-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Lincecum 4-4, George Kontos 3-1, Clay Hensley 1-1, Brad Penny 2-0, Javier Lopez 3-0
Batters Faced - Tim Lincecum 21, George Kontos 7, Clay Hensley 3, Brad Penny 4, Javier Lopez 5
Washington Nationals
Stephen Lombardozzi, LF4210102 .257
Bryce Harper, CF-RF5121011 .276
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4210112 .241
    Rick Ankiel, CF0000000 .224
Michael Morse, RF5012012 .287
    Mike Gonzalez, P0000000 .000
    Henry Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
Adam LaRoche, 1B3112010 .252
Ian Desmond, SS4222011 .279
Danny Espinosa, 2B4131000 .232
Jesus Flores, C4000013 .245
Jordan Zimmermann, P3011000 .286
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
   a- Mark DeRosa, PH-3B1010000 .122
a-doubled for Mattheus in the 8th
2B - Bryce Harper 2 (14, Lincecum, Lopez), Adam LaRoche (19, Lincecum), Danny Espinosa (19, Lincecum), Jordan Zimmermann (2, Lincecum), Mark DeRosa (2, Lopez)
HR - Ian Desmond (14, Lincecum)
SF - Adam LaRoche (7)
RBI - Bryce Harper (23), Michael Morse 2 (15), Adam LaRoche 2 (52), Ian Desmond 2 (45), Danny Espinosa (23), Jordan Zimmermann (3)
2-OUT RBI - Adam LaRoche (18), Ian Desmond 2 (23), Jordan Zimmermann (2)
SB - Stephen Lombardozzi (2, 2nd base off Lincecum/H. Sanchez), Danny Espinosa 2 (13, 2nd base off Lincecum/H. Sanchez, 3rd base off Lincecum/H. Sanchez)
Team LOB - 7
DP - Desmond-Espinosa-LaRoche
E - Ryan Zimmerman (6, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
Jordan Zimmermann (W,5-6) 6721070 2.70
Ryan Mattheus 2211120 1.95
Mike Gonzalez 0.2100010 1.80
Henry Rodriguez 0.1000010 5.06
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 99-74, Ryan Mattheus 29-19, Mike Gonzalez 12-8, Henry Rodriguez 5-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 6-6, Ryan Mattheus 2-1
Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 26, Ryan Mattheus 8, Mike Gonzalez 3, Henry Rodriguez 1
Game Information
Attendance - 36985
Game Time - 3:07
Temperature - 94
Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Paul Emmel