Former A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki’s three-run triple capped a seven-run third inning and the Washington Nationals routed the Giants 14-2 in the opener of a three-game series on Monday at AT&T Park.
The expected pitchers’ duel between the two division leaders never materialized as the Nationals sent 12 batters to the plate in the third and scored seven runs on seven hits.
Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong (10-6) tied his career high with eight runs allowed over 2²⁄³ innings and his National League-best 2.27 ERA climbed to 2.72.
Backed by the early run support, Gio Gonzalez (15-6) gave up two runs over 6²⁄³ innings. Washington improved to 10-4 this month and moved 5½ games over Atlanta atop the National League East.
The Nationals extended their lead to 10-0 in the fourth when they loaded the bases and Roger Bernadina doubled in two runs before Suzuki singled in his fourth run of the game.
San Francisco, which dropped into a tie for first place in the NL West with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has lost all four matchups against the Nationals this season. The Giants avoided being shut out when Brandon Crawford hit a two-run home run in the seventh.
Danny Espinosa went 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and three RBIs for the Nationals, who scored a season-high 14 runs and outhit the Giants 21-8. Bernadina also had four hits and three RBIs while Steve Lombardozzi, Ryan Zimmerman and Suzuki had three hits apiece.
Vogelsong, whose streak of completing at least six innings ended after 22 starts, had allowed 12 earned runs in his previous 76 innings at AT&T Park this season.
NOTES: The Giants activated third baseman Pablo Sandoval from the disabled list before Monday’s game against the Nationals, but Sandoval did not start the game. He came on to pinch-hit in the ninth inning and popped out. Manager Bruce Bochy said Sandoval is expected to be back in the lineup today and Wednesday. Sandoval has been out since July 24 with a strained hamstring. First baseman Brett Pill was optioned to Triple-A Fresno to make room for Sandoval. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected for the second time this season in the third inning for arguing a call at first base.