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Preview: MadBum's Arm To Determine Series

We'll see your Stephen Strasburg and raise you a Madison Bumgarner. Well - perhaps it's not a raise. Maybe a call, at this point? Either way, after the Giants dropped the first game in the series thanks largely to the pitching arm of Strasburg, they rebounded nicely in game two, abusing the Nationals to the tune of 10-5.

(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants got their first-ever look at Washington Nationals rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg in Friday's opener of this three-game series between the teams. Now they'll unveil their own top pitching prospect when the two clubs close out their pre All-Star break schedule this afternoon at Nationals Park.

San Francisco will send out rookie Madison Bumgarner in today's finale, with the highly-regarded 20-year-old slated to make his fourth start since being promoted from Triple-A Fresno in late June. The hard-throwing left-hander lost his first two outings following his callup, but displayed his considerable potential with an excellent eight-inning stint to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers this past Tuesday.

Bumgarner yielded just three hits and struck out five in the Giants' 6-1 triumph that night, picking up his first win in the majors in the process. The talented youngster was able to work around three walks and threw 73 of his 115 pitches for strikes.

The 10th overall selection of the 2008 draft out of a North Carolina high school, Bumgarner amassed a stellar 27-5 record with a 1.65 ERA in his first two professional seasons and entered this year ranked 14th on Baseball America's top 100 prospects list.

Strasburg led the Nationals to an 8-1 win in Friday's opener by delivering six strong innings, but the San Francisco offense bounced back strongly last night to even the series. The Giants scored four times in the seventh inning to erase a one-run deficit and pulled away for a 10-5 triumph, with Buster Posey and Juan Uribeeach knocking in three runs for the victors.

After Aaron Rowand's solo homer off Washington reliever Tyler Clippard tied the score at 5-5, Freddy Sanchezand Aubrey Huff drew back-to-back walks before Posey sent a single to right that brought home the go-ahead run. Uribe then greeted Doug Slaten with a double to center that scored both Huff and Posey and gave San Francisco an 8-5 advantage.

Posey added some insurance with a two-run homer in the eighth and finished 4- for-5 with two runs scored. The rookie catcher has racked up five homers and 12 RBI over his last six games and is batting a robust .351 since being recalled from Fresno in late May.

"Six home runs in 10 games is pretty ridiculous," Giants reliever Joe Martinez said of Posey, who's hitting .513 (19-for-37) over that 10-game stretch. "He's a really good player. Obviously, he's producing offensively and he's really good defensively too."

Starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez added a two-run single in the second inning for San Francisco, but lasted just 3 2/3 frames and was tagged for five runs on five hits. Five Giant relievers combined to shut the Nats out the rest of the way, with Santiago Casilla (2-2) claiming the win after retiring the only two batters he faced in the bottom of the sixth.

Clippard (8-6) was charged with four runs allowed while recording just one out in the seventh. Craig Stammenworked the first 5 1/3 innings for Washington and permitted four runs on six hits.

"Tyler is just struggling, I don't know what else to say," said Nationals manager Jim Riggleman. "He's had so much success getting hitters to swing at his fastball that's up around letter-high. Right now he's throwing it either a little bit lower in a hitting area or a little too high to get them to offer to it."

Having to face a suddenly-potent Giants lineup could be the problem as well. In winning five of their past six contests, San Francisco has put up six runs or more in all of those victories and amassed 36 runs in a four-game road sweep of Milwaukee just prior to this series.

The Giants will be taking their swings today off graybeard Livan Hernandez, who's put together a fine season as the veteran anchor of a young Washington pitching staff. The 35-year-old has compiled a 6-4 record with a very solid 3.12 ERA over 17 first-half starts and has been particularly stingy at home, where he's 4-1 with a 2.10 ERA in 10 Nationals Park assignments.

Hernandez enters this afternoon's tilt having worked at least six innings in eight consecutive starts and is coming off Tuesday's no-decision against San Diego in which he was reached for four runs over seven frames. Five days earlier, the right-hander held the New York Mets to one run in seven innings but did not factor in the final outcome of Washington's 2-1 win.

The Cuba native, who spent 3 1/2 seasons with the Giants from 1999-2002 and was a member of San Francisco's 2002 NL pennant-winning team, owns just a 4-7 record with a 4.08 ERA in 18 lifetime starts against his former club. One those defeats took place at AT&T Park back on May 25, with Hernandez surrendering four runs in five innings.

The Giants won two of three games from the Nationals at AT&T Park from May 25-27 and are 14-4 against Washington since the start of the 2008 campaign. San Francisco has gone 7-2 at Nationals Park during that time period.


Lineup

San Francisco Giants @ Washington Nationals

07/11/10 10:35 AM PDT

San Francisco Giants Washington Nationals
Aaron Rowand - CF Nyjer Morgan - CF
Freddy Sanchez - 2B Cristian Guzman - 2B
Aubrey Huff - LF Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
Buster Posey - C Adam Dunn - 1B
Travis Ishikawa - 1B Josh Willingham - LF
Juan Uribe - SS Ivan Rodriguez - C
Pablo Sandoval - 3B Mike Morse - RF
Nate Schierholtz - RF Ian Desmond - SS
Madison Bumgarner - P Livan Hernandez - P