WASHINGTON (AP) — Evan Longoria, Brandon Belt and Steven Duggar homered off fastballs from Stephen Strasburg, and the light-hitting San Francisco Giants powered their way to a 7-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
The Giants came in with a grand total of 10 homers through their first 17 games. The only major league club with fewer was the Detroit Tigers, with seven in 15 games.
San Francisco also ranked 29th of 30 clubs in runs — 47, again ahead of only Detroit — and in batting average — .199, better only than the Cleveland Indians. The Giants were last in on-base-plus-slugging percentage at .572.
But they looked like a modern-day Murderers’ Row against Strasburg (1-1), who allowed four runs in six innings. Still learning to pitch with a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s, instead of the high-90s heat he possessed before Tommy John surgery and other ailments, he’s served up five homers over his past two outings.
Longoria led off the fifth with a shot to right-center off a 95 mph pitch. One out and one hard-hit single later, Duggar took a 92 mph offering just over the wall in left-center for a two-run drive that made it 3-1.
Belt added a solo shot with one out in the sixth, putting a 94 mph first pitch into the home bullpen beyond right field for his fourth homer of 2019.
Boos came from the crowd of 22,334 in the seventh, when the Giants tacked on a pair of runs against Washington’s struggling bullpen. Lefty Matt Grace was charged with a fielding error after he couldn’t handle a bunt. Later, Grace jumped while several steps away from first base to grab a throw intended for another player who was covering the bag.
It all added up to San Francisco’s fourth win in five games.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez was ejected when he argued with umpire Tony Randazzo after Brian Dozier and Anthony Rendon both struck out looking against Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez (2-2) to end the fifth.
Rodriguez, son of Hall of Famer and former Nationals catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, gave up one run and five hits in five innings. He got help from catcher Buster Posey, who threw out a pair of would-be base-stealers at second: Dozier after a walk in the third, and Victor Robles after a single in the fifth.
Washington’s first run came around on Strasburg’s RBI double in the second inning. It was his first extra-base hit since 2016.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who turned 65 Tuesday, reminisced about growing up in nearby Falls Church, Virginia, attending Senators games at RFK Stadium, and trying to sign up new customers for his paper route to earn baseball tickets. He is retiring after the season and this three-game series in the nation’s capital is Bochy’s initial “final trip” to an opposing city. “It’s a special place for me. A lot of memories here,” Bochy said, noting that he planned to hang out with former Little League teammates after the game. “Driving to the ballpark today, I did think about it. Going back a lot of years. … It’s all kind of gone full circle for me.”
Giants: Bochy said OF/1B Tyler Austin (right elbow) should be able to avoid the injured list and maybe start in Thursday’s series finale. … Single-A San Jose C Joey Bart has a fractured left hand after getting hit by a pitch. Bochy said Bart could be out about 4 to 6 weeks.
Giants RHP Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 1.62 ERA) has not fared well in his past half-dozen starts against the Nationals, going 0-6 with a 7.39 ERA. On Wednesday, he’ll face Washington RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 2.25).