Nationals Avert 9th-inning Crisis to Beat Giants 4-2

SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Zimmerman had two hits and scored a run, Trea Turner added two hits and an RBI and the Washington Nationals beat the San Francisco Giants 4-2 on Thursday night in the opener of a key four-game series between division leaders.

Bryce Harper doubled in a run while Anthony Rendon had two hits to help the Nationals beat All-Star game starter Johnny Cueto (13-3) in manager Dusty Baker’s return to AT&T Park. Baker won 840 games as the Giants manager from 1993-2002.

San Francisco scored a run in the ninth to pull within 4-2 before Shawn Kelley struck out Angel Pagan with the bases loaded to end it and get his fifth save.

The two teams went into the game with identical 59-42 records before Washington won to join the Chicago Cubs (61-40) as the only teams in the majors with at least 60 wins.

Nationals starter Tanner Roark (10-6) allowed one run over seven innings, striking out three and walking three. He also singled in a run as part of a three-run second inning.

Sammy Solis pitched the eighth while Jonathan Papelbon, Oliver Perez and Kelley combined to retire the final three batters.

Washington jumped on Cueto early with four consecutive two-out singles and a walk in the second inning. Danny Espinosa, Roark and Turner each had an RBI in the inning.

Cueto lasted only five innings, matching his shortest outing of the season. The right-hander allowed eight hits and three runs with three strikeouts and two walks.

Harper’s RBI double in the sixth drove in Turner and made it 4-1.

The Giants went into the day hitting .157 with runners in scoring position since the break and squandered a big opportunity in the fourth after Brandon Crawford’s one-out triple. Brandon Belt struck out looking and Crawford was caught trying to advance when a pitch from Roark bounced in front of the plate.

WERTH’S STREAK REACHES 31

Jayson Werth singled in the fifth to extend his on-base streak to a career-high 31 games, the longest active streak in the majors.

GIANTS ADD INFIELD HELP

The Giants acquired All-Star infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for a minor league pitcher. Nunez was batting .296 with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs for the Twins and led the American League with 27 steals at the time of the trade.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: 2B Joe Panik was activated from the disabled list. Panik missed 23 games with concussion. … OF Hunter Pence (hamstring) could come off the disabled list this weekend. … LHP Josh Osich was placed on the 15-day DL with a forearm strain. …. LHP Matt Reynolds was called up from Sacramento. … INF Grant Green was designated for assignment.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (10-6) faces San Francisco for just the second time since taking a no-decision against the Giants in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series when he was with the Detroit Tigers.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (9-6) makes his fifth career start against Washington. Samardzija is attempting to become the third San Francisco pitcher to reach double digits in wins this season.

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(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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