Nationals infielder Lucius Fox kicked off Sunday’s game by blowing chunks, and the Giants responded by chunking together enough runs in the first two innings to win the game.
Two pitches after Fox exited the game with his vomit still visible next to the pitcher’s mound, Giants leadoff hitter Joc Pederson smashed a solo home run to right-center field off Washington starter Joan Adon.
There was more where that came from, as Adon allowed another run in the first and two more in the second en route to a 12-3 loss, which featured more sloppy mistakes, another lackluster offensive performance and a bullpen meltdown in the ninth.
The loss is the Nationals’ fifth in as many days. A five-game losing streak is far from abnormal in a 162-game Major League Baseball season. Even potent teams, unlike the rebuilding Nationals, who fell to 6-12 with the defeat , sometimes lose a handful of games in a row.
But this early in the season?
A five-game skid in April is earlier than anyone would expect, and it could be a sign of more things to come for a team that was projected to finish last in the National League East and be one of the worst teams in baseball.
The losing skid began Wednesday with an 11-2 drubbing by the Diamondbacks just one day after Washington swept Arizona in a doubleheader. The Giants (11-5) then won each three games of the weekend series by three or more runs.
Accompanying the recent losses has been careless play. Sunday’s examples featured four free bases given up by Nationals relievers in the Giants’ six-run ninth and miscommunication between infielders Maikel Franco and Alcides Escobar that allowed Thairo Estrada to reach base on a ground ball. Estrada then came around to score on a Pederson sac fly for the Giants’ first run of the second inning.
Pederson, a former Dodgers star, had his best game of the season Sunday, going 3 for 3 with three RBIs. After his RBIs in the first and second inning, the right fielder hit another solo slam, this one off reliever Austin Voth in the seventh.
Adon struggled to get out of jams in the first two innings, allowing two-out RBI base knocks in both frames — the first a single to Wilmer Flores and then a triple to Brandon Belt in the second.
However, the 23-year-old right-hander bounced back in the third and fourth innings to set down the Giants in order. His day ended when he gave up a leadoff double to Pederson to start the fifth. Pederson came around to score on a single from Flores, who later smacked a third RBI single as part of San Francisco’s big ninth inning.
The loss was Adon’s third of the young season.
The lone bright spot on Sunday for Washington’s offense — which has been in a rut, scoring only nine runs in its five games leading up to Sunday’s matinee — was veteran outfielder Yadiel Hernandez, who ripped an RBI single in the first and a two-run homer in the third for all of the Nationals’ offense.
Aside from Hernandez, the Nationals tallied only five other hits, three of which were infield singles. Giants starter Logan Webb was efficient to earn his second win of the season, striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.
Before Washington welcomes the Marlins to town for a three-game series on Tuesday, the Nationals are off on Monday, which will serve as a much-needed rest day — both for the slumping club and for slugger Josh Bell, who was out of the lineup Sunday with what appears to be a minor hamstring injury he sustained Saturday.