Giants blow lead in ninth to cap off agonizing sweep 

click to enlarge Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants, in his throwback uniform, walks off the field after the Giants lost 6-5 to the Washington Nationals. - ROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES
  • Rob Carr/Getty Images
  • Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants, in his throwback uniform, walks off the field after the Giants lost 6-5 to the Washington Nationals.

Rookie Bryce Harper singled home the tying run in the bottom of the ninth and scored the winning run on Adam LaRoche’s groundout as the host Washington Nationals rallied to complete a three-game sweep of the Giants with a 6-5 win on Thursday.

Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa clubbed back-to-back solo homers in a three-run seventh as the Nationals extended their winning streak to four games.

Harper also doubled in a run in the seventh for Washington, which erased a 5-1 deficit and moved a season-high 16 games above .500.

Tyler Clippard (2-2) pitched a perfect ninth to help the Nationals post their first three-game home sweep of San Francisco since July 2006.

Giants closer Santiago Casilla (2-4) gave up a leadoff pinch-hit double to Tyler Moore before bobbling a sacrifice bunt by Steve Lombardozzi to bring up Harper, who singled to right to tie it at 5-5.

After a force-out at the plate, LaRoche grounded to second base, but the Giants were unable to turn the double play as Harper crossed the plate with the winning run.

Casilla was a breath of fresh air at the beginning of the season after San Francisco lost closer Brian Wilson for the season, saving 20 of his first 21 chances. But the right-hander has struggled of late, notcing blown saves in three of his past four appearances and has seen his ERA balloon from 1.32 to 3.13 in the past six games he’s pitched.

Melky Cabrera had two hits and three RBIs and Angel Pagan added three hits and two RBIs for the Giants, who have lost five of six and dropped 1½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West standings.

Matt Cain allowed three runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings for San Francisco. Nationals starter Ross Detwiler yielded three runs on 11 hits in five innings.

The Giants open a three-game series today at 4:05 p.m. against the surprising NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates, who are an impressive 27-13 at PNC Park this season. Barry Zito (6-6) will take on Erik Bedard (4-9).

NOTES: Desmond extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He has 12 RBIs during the stretch. ... Harper finished third in the Final Vote contest to determine the last slot on the NL All-Star team. St. Louis’ David Freese won the vote and Atlanta’s Michael Bourne was second. ... The teams wore throwback uniforms on Turn Back the Clock night to honor their respective 1924 squads.

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