It was a soggy victory, but the Washington Nationals’ 4-2 win over the San Francisco Giants was a victory nonetheless, giving them a modest four-game winning streak for just the third time this season.
The Nationals sandwiched nine innings of baseball around a 77-minute rain delay, and kept their offense humming dimly throughout, even after most of the crowd had been washed away by the rain and the midnight end time.
The fans who stayed beyond the fourth inning saw reliever Tanner Roark earn his second major-league win in as many appearances, first baseman Adam LaRoche hit his 17th home run of the season and Rafael Soriano become the fourth closer in Nationals’ history to earn 30 saves.
Because of the rain delay and a stiff back, starter Gio Gonzalez did not pitch beyond the fourth inning. From the start of the game, Gonzalez seemed uncomfortable on the mound, and pitched into trouble in three of four innings. But, he managed to pitch out of trouble all three times, and allowed only four hits and no runs.
Roark entered the game after the rain delay in relief of Gonzalez, and vultured away his second win. Roark pitched two innings, and gave up three hits. He was credited with one unearned run, as an uncharacteristic error on a routine ground ball to Ian Desmond allowed the Giants to get on the board.
Though the Nationals didn’t have the explosive offense they worked with in the series against the Philadelphia Phillies, they still managed to score more runs than the Giants.
The Nationals collected nine hits, but returned to their habit of stranding runners in scoring position, going 2-for-13. Their hottest hitter, Jayson Werth, was responsible for leaving four runners on base himself, striking out to end an inning twice.
The Nationals scored their first run after back-to-back hits put Desmond and Adam LaRoche, who were the only two Nats with multi-hit nights, on base. Desmond scored on a groundout by Wilson Ramos, who reinjured his left hamstring for the third time on the play.
Ramos did not re-enter the game after the rain delay, and Davey Johnson said he is likely to be day-to-day.
Ramos’ injury brought Kurt Suzuki into the game, and gave him the opportunity to hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to score the Nationals’ final insurance run. Suzuki’s teammates, who have endured such a grinding, disappointing season that they seem to be looking for any reason to celebrate, rewarded Suzuki’s small feat with a post-game Gatorade bath.
The Nationals’ four-game winning streak is nothing to alert Waffle House about, but with each consecutive victory the Nats edge closer to a winning record and closer to a faint hope at a Wild Card run.