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Fister, Nationals shut down Giants

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- A line drive to the head couldn't erase the disappointing memory of Doug Fister's last pitching performance at AT&T Park.

The Washington Nationals right-hander created a more positive memory Tuesday night.

Facing the San Francisco Giants for the first time since losing Game 2 of the 2012 World Series while pitching for the Detroit Tigers, Fister won a rematch with lefty Madison Bumgarner, leading the Nationals to a 2-1 victory.

Center fielder Denard Span and right fielder Jayson Werth drove in fifth-inning runs that proved to be enough for Fister, who lost a 2-0 decision to Bumgarner during the Giants' four-game sweep of the Tigers in 2012.

"Some of that experience paid off," Fister said of seeing many of the same faces among the Giants less than two years later. "(The previous game plan) was still part of how I attacked a batter or two."

Fister, who was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Giants outfielder Gregor Blanco in the World Series game, insisted revenge was not a motivation in winning his fifth consecutive start.

"We want to win every game we can," he said. "It doesn't matter how many times they've beaten you or how many times you've won. In the 162-game spectrum, you need to win as many as you can."

Fister (5-1) held the upper hand over the Giants this time around, delivering the Nationals to a fourth win in five games at the midpoint of their 10-game road trip. Washington won for the ninth time in its past 11 games.

Bumgarner (8-4) had a personal six-game winning streak snapped in the hard-luck loss. He gave up both Nationals runs on eight hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out five.

"Usually when you pitch a game like that, you've got a pretty good chance," the Giants ace said. "It seemed like every time we hit a ball good, it was right at them."

Fister's numbers were nearly identical -- seven innings, eight hits, one walk, three strikeouts -- except in the runs-allowed column. He shut out the Giants, stranding seven baserunners and benefitting from an inning-ending out at the plate on a strong throw by Werth.

The walk allowed by Fister was the first by a Nationals starting pitcher in seven games. Washington entered the game with the only starting staff in major league history to record as many as 47 strikeouts without issuing a single walk over a six-game span.

"It was a constant battle tonight," Fister said, "but we were able to do what we needed to do."

Right-hander Tyler Clippard pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth inning. Closer Rafael Soriano recorded his 13th save despite giving up a triple to Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, who scored on a groundout by second baseman Brandon Hicks.

In losing for the second consecutive day after winning 10 of 12, the Giants nearly scored in the seventh on Crawford's two-out single to right field. However, third baseman Pablo Sandoval, trying to score from second, was easily gunned down at the plate by Werth.

"That's huge," Fister said of Werth's play. "He comes up clutch in big situations like that."

Werth had a hard time deciding what was bigger -- his RBI single in the fifth that produced what turned out to be the difference-making run or his throw that eventually left the Giants one run short.

"Probably my defense," he said. "You don't get many chances to throw guys out.

"At the same time, I'm hitting third in a big-league lineup. I take pride in my hitting as well. I've always enjoyed driving in big runs, so it's a double-edged sword there."

It appeared for about 37 seconds that Fister would have a third run of support in the seventh inning. Washington shortstop Ian Desmond was called safe at first base on an infield grounder with two outs, temporarily allowing first baseman Adam LaRoche to score and make it 3-0.

However, the Giants challenged the call, and it took just more than a half-minute for umpire Phil Cuzzi's ruling to be overturned, ending the inning and negating the run.

Catcher Wilson Ramos smacked two doubles, La Roche had a double among two hits, and third baseman Anthony Rendon added a pair of singles for the Nationals, who were out-hit 10-9.

Sandoval had three hits, including a double, for the Giants, who narrowly avoided being shut out for the first time in June. Crawford's ninth-inning triple highlighted a 2-for-4 performance.

"We've had so many timely hits from everybody that you think it's going to happen again," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the narrow defeat. "Hey, we came up short."

After being blanked on three hits through four innings, the Nationals finally broke through against Bumgarner in the fifth thanks to a pair of inning-opening bloop singles.

The flares to center field by Desmond and second baseman Danny Espinosa put runners on the corners to set up a two-run inning.

Span's sacrifice fly brought home Desmond with the game's first run. Then, after Rendon singled Espinosa to second, Werth made it 2-0 with a two-out RBI single to left.

Rendon was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play, allowing Bumgarner to escape the four-hit inning without further damage.

NOTES: RHP Doug Fister became the first Nationals pitcher since LHP Gio Gonzalez in 2012 to win five consecutive starts. ... Fister has a 1.95 ERA during his winning streak. ... Coming off a 9-2 loss in the series opener Monday, the Giants hadn't scored two or fewer runs in consecutive games since April. ... Through Monday's games, the Nationals (2.84) and Giants (3.00) ranked 1-2 in the majors in ERA since May 1. ... The win allowed the Nationals to take a 30-29 lead over the Giants in their all-time series. ... Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon (bruised right hand) and Giants CF Angel Pagan (right shin contusion) returned to the starting lineup Tuesday after sitting out the previous three and two starts, respectively. ... The Giants announced before the game that RHP Santiago Casilla (strained right hamstring) would begin a rehab stint at Class A San Jose on Thursday. The Giants hope to activate their setup reliever off the disabled list next week.
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