Loud early homers set tone for Hellickson (Nats win 9-6)

The Nationals produced a couple of loud at-bats versus Giants starter Jeff Samardzija in the first inning to break out to a big early advantage. Following an Adam Eaton walk, Juan Soto slammed a two-run shot to right field.

Soto-GW-Swing-White-Sidebar.jpgIt was the third homer of the season for Soto and came on a first pitch. One batter later, Howie Kendrick launched a no-doubter over the left field wall for his third homer of the season. The Nationals led the Giants 3-0 after one inning.

In the second inning, Wilmer Difo walked and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Jeremy Hellickson. Difo scored on an Eaton single. The Nats led 4-0 after two innings.

The defense stepped up in the third for the Nats. With one out, Steven Duggar doubled. Joe Panik drove a Hellickson offering to deep center field. Victor Robles made the catch and threw to third baseman Anthony Rendon, who made the tag of Duggar attempting to advance. The play was very close, but the Giants did not ask for a review. The double play ended the inning.

Hellickson has allowed no runs on two hits and walked one through three frames.

After three innings, the Nats lead the Giants 4-0.

Update: The Giants finally got to Hellickson with a pair of runs in fourth. Buster Posey walked and Brandon Belt doubled. Brandon Crawford’s groundout to second base brought home Posey. Evan Longoria’s single scored Belt.

Mid-fourth, the Nats lead has been cut to 4-2.

Update II: Hellickson finished 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with four walks and np strikeouts. He fired 79 pitches, 51 for strikes. Matt Grace got the final out of the sixth.

Mid-sixth, the Nats lead the Giants 4-2.

Update III: The Nats unload on Giants reliever Travis Bergen in the seventh. Matt Adams blasted a three-run shot, his second of the season, to increase the lead to 7-2. One batter later, Kurt Suzuki followed suit with a two-run shot to left field, also his second homer of the season.

After seven innings, the Nats lead 9-2 over the Giants.

Update IV: Austen Williams did not have a good ninth inning. Kevin Pillar led off the inning with a single under the glove of Wilmer Difo near second base. It looked like Difo could have made a play on the ball. It was ruled a single. Gerardo Parra followed with a two-run shot to make it 9-4. After pinch-hitter Yangervis Solarte doubled, Duggar crushed a two-run shot to right field. The Nats’ lead was down to 9-6.

Kyle Barraclough came in with no outs. Panik grounded out to second base. Sean Doolittle relieved and Posey hit a double to deep center field. Belt walked. Crawford, representing the tying run, struck out. Evan Longoria popped out to Suzuki to end the game. Doolittle got the save.

Final score: Nats 9, Giants 6.

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