(Sports Network) - A San Francisco Giants offense that had been putting up runs in bunches lately was shut down by phenom Stephen Strasburg in Friday's opener of a three-game series with the Washington Nationals. The unit will attempt to reclaim its prior form when these two teams collide on the diamond again this evening at Nationals Park.
San Francisco had piled up a total of 36 runs in sweeping a four-game set at Milwaukee earlier in the week, but found the going much tougher against Strasburg last night. The rookie sensation limited the Giants to a run on three hits over six strong innings to lead the Nationals to an 8-1 victory.
Strasburg (3-2) added eight strikeouts while walking just one in halting a four-start winless streak in which Washington had provided the 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick with one run or less in three of those assignments.
"It's always good to win," Strasburg said afterward. "I just have to go out there and keep the team in the ballgame."
Run support wasn't an issue for Strasburg on Friday. The Nationals hammered Matt Cain (6-8) for eight runs (seven earned) and 11 hits in the San Francisco starter's 6 2/3 innings of work. Adam Dunn homered twice off the right-hander and finished 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored in the rout.
"I didn't finish guys, that's the frustrating part," said Cain. "I didn't execute."
Willie Harris also collected three hits, including an run-scoring double, and Wil Nieves went 2-for-4 with two RBI to help Washington win for the third time in four games. The Nationals took two of three matchups from NL West-leading San Diego in their previous series.
Andres Torres accounted for the lone San Francisco run with a solo homer off Strasburg in the first inning, withTravis Ishikawa recording two of the Giants' four hits on the night.
Craig Stammen will attempt to follow up Strasburg's performance in tonight's middle test of this series. The inconsistent right-hander also hopes to improve off a subpar showing on Sunday in which he was rocked for seven runs and eight hits over just 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the New York Mets.
That poor start came after back-to-back good outings for Stammen, including a 7 1/3-inning stint at Atlanta on June 29 in which he yielded only two runs and five hits to defeat the NL East-leading Braves. The win was only his second of the season and first since April 19, however, and the Nationals have prevailed in only five of Stammen's 14 starts.
The University of Dayton product, who's 2-3 with a 5.73 earned run average for the year, did put together a quality start in a no-decision against the Giants on May 27. In that game Stammen threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits.
Stammen was hung with a loss by San Francisco at Nationals Park last season after surrendering five runs (four earned) in six innings.
The Giants counter with Jonathan Sanchez, who comes in having won three of his last four decisions to up his season record to 7-6. The talented left-hander worked around six walks in his most recent assignment, but managed to hold Milwaukee to a run and struck out six over six innings to gain the victory.
The 27-year-old is in the midst of a solid season for San Francisco, as Sanchez has limited opposing hitters to a .210 average and struck out 98 batters in a combined 100 innings.
Sanchez has pitched at Nationals Park one time previously and was outstanding that night, tossing seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win on June 7, 2008. In five career appearances, including two starts, against Washington, he's 1-1 with a 3.45 ERA.
The Giants won two of three games from the Nationals at AT&T Park from May 25-27 and are 13-4 against Washington since the start of the 2008 campaign. San Francisco has gone 6-2 at Nationals Park during that time period.