Washington Nationals’ Yadiel Hernandez, left who connected for a three run double is congratulated by first base coach Eric Young Jr. (12) against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sun May 1, 2022 (AP News photo)
Washington. 11. 12. 0
San Francisco. 5. 6. 1
Sunday, May 1, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
SAN FRANCISCO–Veteran pitcher Alex Cobb came off the injured list to start the rubber game of this weekend’s three game series for the San Francisco Giants (14-8) against the Washington Nationals (8-16). Cobb, who strained his right abductor muscle while pitching in New York against the Mets on April 19, brought a season record of 1-0 ERA 4.82.
A repertoire of two- and four-seam fastballs, along with curves and changeups, with him to the mound. Kervin Castro was optioned to Sacramento to make room for him. San Francisco’s starting pitcher should have, as Dizzy Dean once eloquently put it, “stood in bed.”
Cobb´s mound rival wasl 24 year old Josiah Gray, who came in at (2-2 ERA 4.05). The promising righty throws four seamers about half the time, followed, in descending order by curves and sliders with an occasional change of pace thrown in to keep things interesting.
The Nationals took an early and significant lead. César Hernández led off the game with a clean single to left, thanks to the infield playing in the shift. Next, Juan Soto lashed a vicious line drive up the middle that almost hit Cobb before landing in center field, moving Hernández up to center.
Nelson Cruz followed with a bouncing ball that looked as though it would result in an around the horn double play. But the pellet took a bad bounce over Jason Vosler for what originally was called a run-producing double that put Soto 90 feet from home.
The scorer later changed that to an error on SF’s third sacker. Josh Bell made the first out, grounding to first, the runners holding Yadier Hernández then singled to center, scoring both runners. After Maikel Franco flew out to left, Cobb walked Kaibert Ruíz and Víctor Robles, loading the bases.
Number nine hitter With Lucius Fox at bat, everyone moved up a base on a balk called by home plate umpire Ben May, which meant that Yadiel Hernández scored. Fox then got his first major league hit and RBI, beating out a ground ball to short and driving in Ruíz. and moving Robles over to third.
With César Hernández, at bat for the second time in the opening frame, walked, Cobb was done for the day. His line was 2-1/3 innings pitched, five runs allowed, only one of which was earned, four hits, and three walks. He threw 40 pitches, 18 of which were balls, and his ERA rose to 5.40. He would be saddled with the loss.
Southpaw Sam Long took over and struck Soto out swinging and stayed in the game until fellow lefty Jarlín García relieved him to start the DC fourth. In his 2-1/3 innings on the hump, Long allowed a hit and two walks but no runs. His lone K was the inning ending one that ended the Giants’ horrendous first episode.
García retired the first five Nationals he faced. He surrendered a single to the sixth, Ruíz, with two out in top of the fifth and gave way to the right handed Yunior Marte, who got Robles out on a called third strike.
Meanwhile, Gray just kept cruising along. He didn’t allow a hit until the bottom of the fifth, when with two outs, Krizan got his first major league safety, a hard line drive to right. Bart followed that with a walk, Gray’s third of the afternoon. It was the first time that the home team had a runner in scoring position all game.
Gray issued a free pass to González, and suddenly the bases were fog, full of Giants. Then, the count, too, was full And Gray delivered a slider … swung on and missed. The score remained 5-0 in favor of the visitors after five.
Then Marte suffered a fate similar to that of Cobb a couple of hours earlier. Fox led off with his second leg single, beating out a grounder to second. After César Hernández lined out to center, Soto singled up the middle, past a diving Estrada, who just missed snaring the ball, while the speedy Fox made it to third.
With Cruz at the plate, Marte uncorked a wild pitch that brought Fox home and Soto to reach third. He came home when Cruz lifted a sacrifice fly to right center.
Marte finished out his inning, getting Bell to fly out, but it was Tyler Beede who started the top of the seventh on the mound for the home team, yielding a lead off double off the left center field fence to Yadier Hernández..
Two outs later, Robles sent a grounder past a sprawling Vosler and into left field to bring Hernández and put the capitol crew up, eight-zip.
Victor Arano took over for Washington after the seventh inning stretch. Gray had thrown 93 pitches, 50 counting as strikes, over six innings of one hit ball in which he walked four, delivered one wild pitch, and struck out three opposing batters. He would be the winning pitcher
Arano lasted a third of an inning, leaving with the bases loaded and a run in, thanks to singles by Estrada, Vosler, and González who hit drove in the run, and a walk to Bart. Kyle Finnegan was brought in to keep the Giants from further reducing their deficit.
He walked Ruf, forcing in Vosler. Flores forced Ruf out at second on a grounder to short but, in a bang-bang play, beat out the relay to first, which enabled Bart to score from third.
Crawford walked on a full count, reloading the bases and putting the potential tying run at the plate in the person of the powerful recent addition to the roster, Mike Ford, who faced Steve Cishek, who was brought into the game to stop the hemorrhaging.
Ford drove in González and Ruf with a hard single to left that put Crawford on third. After Cishek got Estrada to fly out to left for the final out, the Giants were trailing by only 8-5. The first four runs of the Giants rally were charged to Arano; only the last was charged to Finnegan.
Jake McGee, who took over for San Francisco in the eighth, ran into trouble early. He walked César Hernández, who went to third on Soto’s single to right. Soto advanced to second on Cruz’s broken bat ground out to Crawford, but Hernández didn’t try to advance.
The Giants decided to grant Bell an intentional walk, which set up Yadíél Hernández’s bases-clearing triple to right center. McGee had no trouble retiring Franco and Ruíz, but the Nats now had a comfortable 11-5 advantage over their hosts.
Camilo Doval was the Giants’ seventh and final pitcher of the distressing afternoon, having been given the task of mopping up the mess the Nats had made of the orange and black bullpen. He struck out the side. Although what Doval accomplished wasn’t too little, it sure was too late.
Tanner Rainey took care of the Giants in the ninth, allowing only a single to Ruf, and fanning González to put an end to the misery It took three hours and 37 minutes to happen.
There was no save for the Nationals, and no salvation for the Giants.
The team will have a day off tomorrow to recover before facing the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine for a quickie two game set and returning to the windy confines of Oracle Park for a four game series against the Cardinals. The Giants will start Carlos Rodon (3-0 ERA 1.17) and for Dodgers Julio Urias (1-1 ERA 2.50) a 7:10 pm PDT first pitch.