Peavy returns but Giants keep losing, 2-1 to Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) — After winning three of the last five World Series, the San Francisco Giants are a confident bunch. So there was no panic in the visiting clubhouse on Friday night after their losing streak reached four games with a 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals.
“We couldn’t do much offensively,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Gio Gonzalez (5-4) and relievers Matt Thornton and Drew Storen combined to hold the defending champions to just five hits. “That’s a tough one. You need a good pitching effort to break this little streak we’re in. We got it, but the offense wasn’t there.”
Bochy certainly got a fine effort from Jake Peavy (0-3). In his first start after more than two months on the disabled list with a back injury, the 34-year-old right hander allowed two runs and three hits in 6 1/3 innings. Both runs came on Clint Robinson’s homer in the seventh after Buster Posey had smacked his 14th homer off Gonzalez in the top of the inning.
“Hard to pitch better than he did,” Bochy said. “Just one mistake there. He was hitting his spots, mixing it up.”
Peavy was very encouraged by his performance in his first outing since going on the disabled list with a back injury in April.
“A lot to build on,” he said. “It’s nice to get back in the swing of things.”
Two of the first three Nats got hits, but Peavy, who was activated earlier in the day, didn’t give up another one until Robinson’s homer.
Robinson, a 30-year-old non-roster invitee by Washington in spring training who had just 13 major league at-bats before this season, has been playing first base lately in place of the injured Ryan Zimmerman.
Robinson, who had a career .302 average in 921 games in the minors before finally getting a serious shot in the majors after beating out veteran Mike Carp for the last spot on Washington’s bench, is 20 for 69 (.290) with four homers and 12 RBIs in his last 21 games.
“There’s only 750 jobs in the Major Leagues and there’s thousands of guys trying to get one of them,” Robinson said. “It’s just about being at the right place at the right time. That opportunity’s going to come eventually. Mine came this year and I’m trying to make the best of it.”
That’s what Gonzalez did in allowing one run and five hits in seven innings without walking a batter for the first time this year in the teams’ first meeting since the Giants beat the Nats in the 2014 NLDS.
“He was really strong tonight,” Nats manager Matt Williams said. “Gio was in command of all his pitches. He was able to throw his changeups and curveballs for strikes and locate well with the fastball, too.”
Storen recorded his 24th save, second in the NL.
A crowd of 41,683, Washington’s 10th sellout in 37 home games, watched newest Racing President Calvin Coolidge win his debut by knocking over fellow Republicans Abe Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
Bryce Harper, who came in ranked in the top five in baseball in homers, RBIs, slugging percentage and on base percentage, walked in each of his first three plate appearances before he was retired with two on in the eighth by rookie left-hander Josh Osich, who was called up from Triple-A Sacramento earlier Friday.
Giants: Peavy took the roster spot of fellow veteran RHP Tim Hudson (shoulder), who went on the DL.
Nationals: Williams said that injured infielders Zimmerman (plantar fasciitis) and Anthony Rendon (quadriceps) are making slow progress as they attempt to return from the DL. ... Reliever Aaron Barrett (biceps) is scheduled to make a second rehab appearance for one of Washington’s minor league affiliates on Saturday.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.99), the 2014 World Series MVP, was 2-2 in five starts in June, allowing 33 hits and 12 earned runs in 39 innings.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-5, 5.49) has made two starts since returning from a stint on the DL with neck tightness. He allowed two runs and eight hits in 12 innings in those starts.