Thirteen years ago, Russ Ortiz walked the first three guys he faced. Tonight, a nearly full moon hanging low in the sky, Matt Cain walked the first three guys he faced. Neither game turned out well. The Padres beat the Giants 10-7 that afternoon in 2001, and the Nationals beat the Giants 6-2 this evening for their third win in three chances. The Giants have lost three straight for only the second time this season--they lost three consecutive 2-1 games from April 17th to April 19th, the first to the Dodgers and the next two to the Padres. It wasn't long ago that San Francisco was the hottest club on the planet, winning their last five series and boasting the best record. Washington, though, has served notice with ten wins in their last twelve games including a 17-5 pasting of the home team at AT&T Park. The Nationals seized first place in the NL East with tonight's win, and their +50 run difference is just behind the Giants at +53 (Oakland rules the roost at +130).
Cain did not have the command he showed in his last start--his five walks were just shy of his career high of six. Giving up the home run in the 5th to Jayson Werth after making him look foolish was a particularly cruel blow. It was to be a moral victory of sorts, putting up zeroes after the ugly start to the game, getting a shut down inning after the Giants finally scored, but that's not how it worked out. Matty has yet to find his groove in 2014, and his ten starts are the fewest of the five in the rotation. Here's a guy, you'd think, who has seen it all in his ten years, everything from last place and losing records to World Series rings, All-Star Games, and perfection. Just last year he gave up nine runs in one inning! Before tonight, though, Matt Cain had never walked the first three guys he'd faced in a game. Baseball is funny--if some new horror hasn't happened to you it's only because you haven't played long enough!
There's one more shot at the Nationals tomorrow afternoon with Tim Hudson on the mound.