Photo credit: @TSN_Sports
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO — On the same day when they designated one of their most popular players for assignment, the San Francisco Giants still are unable to get a win.
Kurt Suzuki singled in Anthony Rendon with the only run that the Washington Nationals would need in the top of the first inning on their way to a 5-3 victory over the Giants before a crowd of 31,628 at Oracle Park.
Suzuki broke the game wide open in the top of the third inning, as he slammed a two-run home run that also scored former Giants outfielder Gerardo Parra, who singled right after Trea Turner led off the inning with a walk and went to third on the Parra single. Turner then scored when Rendon hit a sacrifice fly to Kevin Pillar.
Turner slammed his 10th home run of the season in the top of the fourth inning that helped the Nationals to their second win of the series, and secured the series win.
Anibal Sanchez pitched a great game, as he went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits, walking one and striking out three on his way to raising his record to 7-6 on the season.
Conner Menez made his second major league start, and this one was not like his major-league debut on July 21 against the New York Mets. In this outing, Menez went six innings, allowing five runs on six hits, walking three and striking out four and lost for the first time in his major-league career.
Brandon Crawford drove in the Giants first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning, as he grounded out to first base that scored Pillar from third. Pillar got to third after he singled to lead off the inning, and raced to third on a throwing error by Sanchez.
Brandon Belt got the Giants a run closer in the bottom of the sixth inning, as his single to right field scored Pablo Sandoval, who came off the bench to pinch-hit for Menez and doubled to lead off the inning.
Sandoval seemed to be a spark for the Giants in the latter parts of the game, as he doubled again in the bottom of the seventh inning that scored Pillar.
Jandel Gustave continues impress the team, as he once again went two innings for the third time since joining the team. In his three appearances, Gustave scattered four hits, walked two and struck out one.
Pillar went 3-for-4 on the night, and it was the fourth time this season he picked up at least three hits in a game.
Joe Panik, who was part of the 2014 World Series Champion Giants team was designated for assignment to make for Menez.
Panik, who will be best remembered for that dazzling diving stop of an Eric Hosmer hit in Game Seven of the 2014 World Series that eventually turned into a double play saw his playing time diminish with the recent acquisition of Scooter Gennett and the improvement at the plate of Donovan Solano.
“Nothing has driven me more than winning here in San Francisco,” Panik said in a statement. “I am forever grateful for the Giants taking the chance on me and allowing me to live out my life long dream. It is time for me to start the next chapter in my career. But in my heart I will always be a Giant.”
Bruce Bochy got a little emotional when talking about Panik prior to the game, as “one of the most difficult conversations I had in my life.”
Panik also came up big in the opening weekend at Dodger Stadium in 2018, when he hit home runs in the first two games of the season off of Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen that led to back-to-back wins for the Giants.
NOTES: Sandovals 17 pinch hits are the most in the major leagues and is now tied with Candy Maldonado with the second most in San Francisco Giants history.
His eight pinch-hit doubles breaks the season record he shared with Fred Lewis in the San Francisco era.
Sam Selman optioned to Sacramento after Mondays loss and Menez along with Williams Jerez were recalled from Sacramento.
Three Giants players throughout the minor leagues took home Player of the Month Awards for the month of July. Jaylin Davis, Seth Corry and Franklin Labour.
UP NEXT: Shaun Anderson will look to end the Giants three-game losing streak on Wednesday afternoon, as he takes the mound against Joe Ross, who is the younger brother of former Oakland As pitcher Tyson Ross and like his brother, went to Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland.