The Giants entered their three-game series with the Nationals holding the National League’s second-best record.
They were throwing a two-time Cy Young award winner and the top two starters in their rotation, both of whom entered the series with at least nine wins and a sub-2.90 ERA.
San Francisco had gone 74-1 in its last 75 games in which it had held at least a three-run lead.
The Giants left the nation’s capital last night having dropped three straight to the Nats and no longer occupying the NL West’s top spot. Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner got smacked around, Matt Cain didn’t do quite enough and the Giants now have gone 0-2 in the last two days when holding at least a three-run lead.
The Nats got contributions from everyone over this three-game stretch, and that was especially evident yesterday.
Mark DeRosa came up with a big pinch-hit double in the seventh and scored the run that cut the Giants’ lead to one. Henry Rodriguez pitched a scoreless eighth inning, an inning which was so very Henry Rodriguez-like. The flamethrowing righty topped 100 mph five times and balked a runner into scoring position.
Tyler Moore then led off the ninth with a pinch-hit double on an 0-2 pitch from Giants closer Santiago Casilla, splitting the gap in left-center. He eventually came around to score the tying run.
Moore said that when he fell behind Casilla, he just cut down on his swing and tried to take it the other way. If that was Moore cutting down on his swing, then we got a glimpse of just how strong he is. His line shot bounced up against the fence on just a couple hops.
I cut down on my swing and I have dribblers rolling off my bat to the right side of the infield.
One thing which might go overlooked is that after Moore’s double, two more Nationals rookies then reached, with Steve Lombardozzi ending up on first after his sac bunt was mishandled and Bryce Harper then delivering the game-tying single to right.
That’s three rookies not just jumpstarting a ninth-inning rally against a closer who had converted 24-of-27 chances, but tying the game all by themselves.
Harper then crossed the plate on an unusual walk-off finish, a win which gave the Nats a .600 winning percentage this season and wins in seven of their last nine.
This is starting to get fun.