With their starting center fielder nursing a leg injury, the Giants try to extend their road winning streak to five games Saturday night when they continue their weekend series against the struggling Washington Nationals.
A strained calf kept Durham out of the starting lineup for Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the New York Mets, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a late change to the lineup Friday after Durham convinced him that he was healthy enough to play. The second baseman went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI in a 10-1 win over Washington in the opener of this four-game set.
Rowand went 1-for-3 Friday, but also injured his right quadriceps muscle. He’ll be re-examined before Saturday’s game.
Rowand leads the Giants (26-35) with a .328 batting average and eight homers, and his 36 RBIs are two shy of Bengie Molina for the first on the club. He has also been hot on the road, hitting .480 (12-for-25) with two homers and 10 RBIs in his last seven games away from San Francisco to increase his road batting average to .404 on the season.
His play has the Giants in position to win a fifth consecutive road game for the first time since a six-game run from Aug.16-31. That streak ended at Washington (25-37) with a 4-1 defeat and Jonathan Sanchez (4-3, 4.08 ERA) on the mound.
The left-hander, who will start again Saturday, allowed three runs and six hits while fanning seven in 5 1-3 innings of that defeat, falling to 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in four career games against Washington.
Sanchez, though, is now looking to win his third straight outing overall and post his fifth consecutive quality start. He limited the New York Mets to two runs over seven innings of Monday’s 10-2 San Francisco win, cruising after the Giants put six runs on the board in the opening frame.
“When we scored six, I was comfortable. I had no pressure,” said Sanchez, who has led the Giants to wins in nine of his 12 starts.
The Nationals have dropped five of their last six, while plating a total of three runs in those defeats.
Elijah Dukes went 1-for-4 Friday and drove in Washington’s lone run. The effort came after the left fielder went 4-for-6 with four RBIs and hit a two-run walk-off homer in the 10th inning of a 10-9 win over St. Louis to cap a Thursday doubleheader.
Nationals starter Shawn Hill (0-2, 4.67) will try to rebound from a dreadful outing. The right-hander surrendered five runs and seven hits - two homers - in four innings of Monday’s 5-0 loss at Arizona, falling to 0-2 with a 5.47 ERA in his last five starts - all Washington defeats.
He has never faced the Giants.