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Giants turn the tables on Nationals, win 9-3

Although the offense abounded in today’s game, it was defense that made the difference in the end.

Jason Vosler high fives Curt Casali after hitting a home run to lead off the sixth inning. Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants beat the Washington Nationals 9-3 today to tie up the series.

After losing in a blow out last night, the Giants turned the tables today and it was exactly what they needed. With what feels like half of the team either recovering from injuries or recovering from Covid, seeing everyone else step up and deliver a big win was reassuring.

Logan Webb in particular probably enjoyed it a lot. It was not Webb’s best start, by a long shot. Webb managed to get through the sixth inning, but it was a struggle. He was not missing any bats, getting rung up for three runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts and a walk. It felt like a huge stroke of luck that he was able to keep it to three runs, but his defense and offense had his back today.

Specifically in the fourth inning, which felt like a metaphor for Webb’s entire start. Darin Ruf made an excellent jumping catch to start off the inning by robbing Maikel Franco of a hit, but that was followed by three singles to load the bases. The Nationals were hitting everything. But César Hernández thankfully hit one to Brandon Crawford for a textbook double-play to end the inning. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But where the Nationals did their damage, taking an early lead, was in the third inning. Webb walked Victor Robles, which was followed by a double to Alcides Escobar, scoring Robles when Luis González fumbled the ball in the corner for an error. Hernández doubled after that to knock in Escobar. After getting Juan Soto to line out, Josh Bell singled on a sharp ground ball to González who made an absolute rocket of a throw home to get Hernández at home (after a successful challenge from the Giants to overrule the call on the field).

They got their third run in Webb’s final inning after a double and a single, but Webb was allowed to stay in and finish it, which he did himself, getting a groundball from Escobar and making the throw to Ruf at first to end the inning.

But that third run didn’t exactly matter. Because the Giants had already taken a lead that would prove to be insurmountable.

In the bottom of the third with two outs, Wilmer Flores was hit by a pitch (a bit of a theme of the day, but more on that later). This was followed by a walk to Crawford before Thairo Estrada hit a bases clearing double to tie the game.

The fun continued in the fifth inning. González got the party started with a single to lead off the inning, followed by a single from Ruf and a walk for Flores to load the bases for Crawford and knock Nationals starting pitcher Joan Adon out of the game. Crawford popped up, bringing up Estrada who hit into what really should have been a double play but with Estrada’s speed, turned into a force out to get Crawford at second and score González. (Estrada made his own safe call as he crossed the base and I truly love to see it).

Mauricio Dubón got a base hit just past the shortstop to score Ruf to give the Giants a 4-2 lead.

Jason Vosler decided to keep things going in the next inning, leading things off with a home run, his second in as many days. But it was not just any home run, no sir. This was our first splash hit of the 2022 season, the 92nd total for the park. It took a while for them to finally decide to call it a splash hit, though, because some things are just too important to decide on a whim, I guess.

The Giants then made quick work of loading the bases with no outs. Which is always a bit alarming, and often leads to a double play, and this was no exception. Flores it into a double play but it scored Curt Casali.

Crawford got a ground ball base hit that had some magic working for it, as it weaved through the defense on the left side of the field, which scored González. Crawford also got his first stolen base of the year on complete defensive indifference, before Estrada’s speed got him on base again on a throwing error by Escobar, knocking in Crawford to give the Giants their eighth run of the game.

Luke Williams had a wild ride to the ninth and final run of the night. He entered in the seventh to replace Austin Slater and hit a ground ball up the middle to Escobar, who attempted a play at first but Williams outran it. I believe it was initially ruled an error but Williams would have outrun it regardless because Bell was off the bag, and I believe it was changed to a hit for Williams.

A wild pitch allowed him to take second, and a pickoff throw that went past the second baseman advanced him to third, where he was knocked in on a sac fly from Vosler.

And sure, maybe there will be some more pearl-clutching about that one, but the Nationals really didn’t give Williams a choice in the matter. They were handing out bases like candy. They finished the game with three errors. And while they had the same amount of hits as the Giants, all against Webb, they had much less to show for it. The defense was the difference, and the Giants made the Nationals pay for theirs. And they didn’t let up until the last play of the game, which ended with a diving catch that Darin Ruf will be feeling in the morning.

They’ll wrap up this series tomorrow at 1:05 pm PT.