Aurilia’s big hit lifts Giants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The San Francisco Giants suddenly have the slightest bit of momentum at home—and that was something to celebrate, even for a brief moment.
“This gives us a lot of confidence that we can do it again,” Molina said. “Games like this get your confidence back up and make you believe you can win games. The beauty of the Western Division is that even though we’ve played so bad the last couple of weeks, we’re still in it. Anything can happen. I’ve seen it before.”
Aurilia came up big with an eight-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off three straight pitches before the double. Omar Vizquel gave the Giants an insurance run with an RBI double off Luis Ayala (1-6) on the heels of Aurilia’s hit and had his third three-hit game this season.
Geno Espineli (1-0) recorded two outs in the eighth for his first major league victory and the Giants won consecutive home games for the first time since June 1-2 against San Diego and the New York Mets. Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his NL-leading 27th save in 29 chances and 18th in a row.
Espineli, who had been slated to play for the U.S. Olympic team before his callup Sunday, was greeted by a beer shower in the clubhouse afterward.
“I was expecting the old-fashioned corny pie in the face and I got a 20-beer drenching,” Espineli said. “It feels good to get it under your belt, especially being out there for just my second outing. I was still feeling the nerves. … I’m still soaking it in. It’s gone by pretty fast. I’d still like to get a couple of innings under my belt to calm the nerves.”
“It’s a great feeling and it does so much for a club. It’s something you can build on. All season they’ve been going hard for nine innings,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s nice to win a series here.”
Molina provided the Giants’ clutch hits for the second straight game, getting two RBI doubles after his two-homer game a night earlier.
Molina hit an RBI double in the first to put San Francisco ahead, then Aaron Rowand followed with a run-scoring double. It was Rowand’s 30th double tying him for second in the National League with Houston’s Lance Berkman behind Pittsburgh’s Nate McLouth, who has 34.
Molina added another clutch double in the fifth to make it 3-1. The last time Molina had consecutive games with multiple RBIs was May 27-28 against Arizona. Molina also had a leadoff single in the eighth to start the rally.
Flores connected for his sixth homer after Austin Kearns led off the sixth with a single against Kevin Correia, who allowed a season-high 12 hits. He has four straight no-decisions and is winless in 10 outings since getting his only win on April 10, against St. Louis. He was on the disabled list from April 27 to June 14 with a strained muscle in his left side.
The Nationals got on the board when Willie Harris reached on first baseman John Bowker’s fielding error that scored Ryan Langerhans from second. Cristian Guzman’s first-inning single for Washington was his 130th hit, most in the NL.
“We got a lot of hits but not many extra bases or hits with runners in scoring position until Estrada’s big hit,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said.
The Giants are still searching for ways to win at home. San Francisco ended a four-game home losing streak Tuesday night and has only six victories in the last 20 games in the club’s waterfront ballpark.
Injured Nationals CF Lastings Milledge, on the DL since June 28 with a right groin strain, has been impressive enough in his rehab stint for Triple-A Columbus that the team could bring him back before the end of this nine-game road trip that goes through the weekend series at Dodger Stadium. “He’ll be here sooner than later,” Acta said. … Washington 1B Dmitri Young, a diabetic who’s been out since July 19 with symptoms of his condition, has met with a doctor back home and a plan is being made for his medication. “After he’s stabilized, he’ll head down to Florida,” Acta said. “It’s more complicated than a lot of people (realize). … Not by any means are we shutting him down completely. I’m very positive we’ll be seeing him over here again.” … Giants OF Nate Schierholtz of Triple-A Fresno was added to the U.S. Olympic team Wednesday. … This is the fourth season Rowand has had 30 doubles.