Instant analysis: Giants 4, Nationals 2

Instant analysis: Giants 4, Nationals 2
May 22, 2013, 12:15 am
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How it happened: The Nationals got to Matt Cain early, scoring two in the top of the first inning on a single by Denard Span and hard-hit doubles by Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond. Stephen Strasburg gave one back in the bottom of the second on a pair of base hits by Gregor Blanco and Angel Pagan, but from there, both starters settled in, striking out seven apiece, each in seven innings of work. All went swimmingly until Rafael Soriano allowed a leadoff single to Buster Posey in the ninth. Two outs later Gregor Blanco tripled over Bryce Harper's head to tie the game, and Pablo Sandoval won it in the 10th with a walkoff two-run home run.

Key play: Kurt Suzuki gunned down Angel Pagan attempting to steal with a perfect strike to second to end the threat and limit the damage in the second inning. With the middle of the order coming up and Strasburg not yet in sync, ending the inning there and taking the bat out of Marco Scutaro's hands made all the difference -- at the time.

It could have ended when: Denard Span led off the eighth inning with a double. However, with a runner in scoring position in a one-run game, the Nats inexplicably went with super smallball -- Bryce Harper, their best hitter so far this season, sacrificed the speedy Span over to third. After Ryan Zimmerman was intentionally walked and Adam LaRoche struck out, Ian Desmond grounded weakly to the pitcher and couldn't beat the throw to first. When outs are at a premium and a single almost definitely scores a run, why not let Harper swing away?

On deck: Gio Gonzalez faces off against Madison Bumgarner tomorrow at 3:45 PM (ET) in the rubber match of the series, with the Nationals looking to avoid ending their West Coast road trip with a sweep at the hands of the Giants.