Down 5-0 and 6-2, the Nationals didn't bother waiting until their
final at-bat to get things going, using a six-run sixth inning to
grab the lead from the San Francisco Giants and rolling to a 14-6
laugher Sunday to close a 10-game homestand filled with all kinds of
"You can't explain it," first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "I've been
on some good stretches, but not to be down late in as many games as
we were and find a way to come back. You just don't see that too
With the way Washington is playing -- a National League-best 17-6 in
August -- no deficit seems too large. When the sixth inning began
with the Nationals trailing by four runs, no one was in panic mode.
"That's part of our DNA," Nationals manager Matt Williams said.
Shortstop Ian Desmond got things started with his 21st home run of
the season, a deep shot over the left field bullpen off Giants
starter Ryan Voglelsong, who was immediately taken out by manager
San Francisco reliever Jeremy Affeldt didn't fare any better,
failing to retire any of the five batters he faced while allowing
four runs, including the game-tying, pinch-hit double by Scott
"We couldn't stop the momentum there," Bochy said. "As tough an
inning as Affeldt had, there were three ground balls in that inning.
They find ways to get hits. They put them in the right place."
Affeldt (3-2) was hurt by some shoddy defense from left fielder
Michael Morse, who misplayed both a ball off the bat of left fielder
Bryce Harper and Hairston's hit down the line, allowing catcher Jose
Lobaton to lumber all the way around from first to score.
"It was unbelievable," Lobaton said. "I'm catching and you see that
score and it's kind of like, 'Wow, it's not easy to come back,' and
we did it."
The Nationals weren't done, however, as right fielder Jayson Werth
singled up the middle off new pitcher Jean Machi to give Washington
the lead. LaRoche followed with another RBI single to boost the
Nationals' lead to 8-6.
"They don't quit," Williams said. "They don't stop fighting. They
feel it's important to continue to apply pressure even when we're
down. We did it by bunching base hits together. It says something
about approach and how we're going about it."
Washington finished their homestand 9-1 -- with five walk-off wins
-- and they hold a season-high, eight-game advantage over the
Atlanta Braves in the National League East.
The Nationals punctuated their day by scoring a run in the seventh
and five more in the eighth, with two-run homers from Harper and
second baseman Danny Espinosa putting the finishing touches on the
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"Like I said before, it was epic," Harper said. "Coming in and being able
to do that in this homestand was something we really needed."
The rally got Washington ace Stephen Strasburg off the hook after a
rough start. Strasburg gave up solo homers to light-hitting center
fielder Gregor Blanco and first baseman Travis Ishikawa en route to a
disappointing four-inning, five-run performance that put the Nationals
in a hole.
Craig Stammen (4-4) got the win after allowing one run in two innings.
Vogelsong started strong, holding the Nationals hitless until the
fourth, when he allowed RBI doubles to Werth and shortstop Asdrubal
Cabrera. But the sixth would prove to be his, and the Giants', undoing
in their quest to win a series against a team with a winning record for
the first time since late May.
"They came out playing hard, and this is one we have to put behind us
because we threw out some good at-bats and a lot of good things happened
early," Bochy said. "It was two different games -- the first half and
the second half."
NOTES: Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg notched his 200th strikeout of
the season in the second inning. He finished with four strikeouts on the
day. ... Giants OF Angel Pagan was out of the starting lineup due to
calf tightness. Manager Bruce Bochy said Pagan was available to
pinch-hit and should be back in the lineup Monday. ... Washington is
11-4 in rubber games that decide the outcome of a three-game series,
including 6-1 at Nationals Park. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval had his
73-game errorless streak snapped Saturday, a run that impressed his
manager. "The kid played some great third base," Bochy said. ...
Washington kicks off a three-city, nine-game road trip Monday at
Philadelphia, where RHP Tanner Roark faces off against Nationals RHP
A.J. Burnett. ... The Giants return home for a four-game set with
Colorado, as RHP Jake Peavy opens the series against Rockies LHP Tyler
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