Stephen Strasburg pitched six innings, allowed four hits, two runs, and struck out seven for the Washington Nationals in a 6-4 victory and a series win over the Giants on Wednesday.
It was the first game for the Giants without star outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was suspended earlier in the day by Major League Baseball for 50 days without pay for testing positive for testosterone.
Cabrera was originally in the Giants’ starting lineup, due to bat third. But after news of his suspension broke, the revised lineup had Pablo Sandoval batting third and Gregor Blanco in left field batting seventh. Whether that will become a permanent change in light of Cabrera’s suspension remains to be seen.
Jayson Werth had two hits and three RBIs and Danny Espinosa added a two-run homer for the Nationals, who completed a 10-game road trip with a record of 8-2.
Giants losing pitcher Tim Lincecum continues to struggle through a mediocre season. Lincecum (6-13) allowed eight hits and four runs in four innings.
But Lincecum’s struggles took a backseat to the news of Cabrera’s suspension.
“It’s shocking and something we’re going to have to deal with from here on out,” Lincecum said. “This Melky situation is like an injury where we’ve lost pivotal players, important players at important parts of the year so we’ll just approach it at that.”
After the Nationals got an early two-run lead, the Giants rallied back to tie the game in the second inning. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence both walked. Brandon Belt singled to load the bases. With one out, Brandon Crawford singled to right scoring both runners.
But the Nationals took control the rest of the game. Espinosa crushed a Lincecum pitch to deep right center in the third inning for his 13th home run and second of the series.
San Francisco managed to score a run in the eighth. Pablo Sandoval singled to center and Posey doubled to right. With two outs, Gregor Blanco beat out an infield single to first scoring Sandoval.