SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants rotation hadn’t sustained a fully blown tire in two months’ worth of games at AT&T Park. Against Stephen Strasburg, they could barely afford to hit a lane turtle Tuesday night.
How long will that tow truck take, again?
Ryan Vogelsong had to work with a relatively tight strike zone, he was wild within it, and the Washington Nationals pounded him for five extra-base hits while handing the Giants a 9-2 loss on the shores of McCovey Cove.
Vogelsong left in the seventh down 4-1 but George Kontos cashed in both inherited runners as the Nats snapped the Giants’ five-game winning streak.
Nationals manager Matt Williams won his managerial debut in the city where he was once an All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman.
Starting pitching report
Vogelsong won’t be happy with his start, but he hadn’t pitched the Giants out of the game when he walked off the mound in the seventh inning.
Still, he couldn’t retire either batter he faced in the seventh and ended the night charged with six earned runs in six-plus innings.
Amazingly, it marked just the second time in 33 games that a Giants starter was charged with five or more earned runs. And it was the first time since April 9 – 30 home games ago -- that a Giants starter allowed five earned or more at AT&T Park.
Vogelsong’s mistakes were hit hard. Jayson Werth and Denard Span doubled in the first inning, Ian Desmond hit an RBI triple in the second inning and Adam LaRoche doubled to the wall to start a two-run, two-out rally in the third. Desmond was a pest again, hitting a two-run single after Vogelsong had issued a pair of walks – including one to Ryan Zimmerman on a 3-2 pitch that appeared to be a strike.
Vogelsong (5-2) settled down but Giants manager Bruce Bochy might have stuck with him too long. Span, who also tripled in the fourth, began the seventh with a double and Kevin Frandsen singled to put runners at the corners.
That was the end for Vogelsong, who matched the most extra-base hits he’s allowed in three seasons as a Giant.
Kontos has flashed a much-improved assortment of stuff since reclaiming a relief role, but the game spiraled away on his watch this time.
A single, a walk, a fielder’s choice and two doubles later, the Nats had a five-run inning and a 9-1 lead.
At the plate
Strasburg (6-4) was Strasburg. The Giants scratched their only run against him in the second inning when Tyler Colvin doubled down the right field line and Brandon Crawford singled him home. Crawford was thrown out trying to take second base when the Nats cut off the throw home, ending the inning.
Strasburg probably would have pitched past the sixth inning, but the Nats lifted him for a pinch hitter when their rally bloomed into a big lead in the seventh. He struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter.
Michael Morse was charged with a missed catch error in the seventh when Buster Posey’s throw to first base got past the first baseman’s glove and hit Zimmerman on the leg to allow runners to advance. Regardless, all five runs in the inning were earned.
The Giants’ worst mistake of the night was on the basepaths. Gregor Blanco was thrown out at third base for the second consecutive day, but this time it was much less forgivable than trying to turn a two-run double into a two-run triple. He was thrown out trying to advance on a ball that bounced away from the catcher -- with the Giants down 9-2 in the eighth.
Morse got plunked with an 0-2 pitch by Aaron Barrett in the seventh inning that might have been more than a location mistake, although a potential motive is anyone’s guess.
The Giants announced 41,597 paid.
The Giants and Nationals continue their four-game series with the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park on Tuesday. It’ll be Madison Bumgarner (8-3, 2.68 ERA ) vs. right-hander Doug Fister (4-1, 3.19) in a rematch of Game 2 of the 2012 World Series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT.