National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, August 15th (All times Eastern)
San Francisco Giants (52-67) at Washington Nationals (59-60), 4:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 6.71) Washington - Dan Haren (7-11, 4.99)
(Sports Network) - Dan Haren's first season with the Washington Nationals has featured an 11-start winless streak that also included a trip to the disabled list.
The right-hander has begun to put those issues behind him and looks to extend a personal win streak on Thursday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants.
Haren has yielded just three runs over 21 innings with 19 strikeouts over a three-start winning streak, posting a 1.29 earned run average. He extended his run with a seven-inning outing versus Philadelphia on Friday, scattering two runs on four hits and fanning seven without a walk.
It was Haren's first career victory over the Phillies, making him the 13th pitcher in Major League history to post a victory against all 30 teams. He also has a 2.43 ERA in six starts since returning from right shoulder inflammation.
"I felt really good out there today, really comfortable. The ball was moving pretty good. Then obviously getting all the runs made it pretty easy," Haren said of the 9-2 win.
The 32-year-old is 7-11 with a 4.99 ERA in 21 starts this year, the lowest his ERA has been since May 14. He is 6-6 with a 3.14 ERA in 16 career meetings with the Giants, all but one of those starts.
Ryan Vogelsong makes his second start for the Giants on Thursday since returning from a broken right hand.
Vogelsong suffered his injury on May 20 versus the Nationals. He did get the win on the day, logging five scoreless frames before getting hit by a pitch on the hand. He is 1-1 with a 5.17 ERA in six career meetings, including two starts, versus Washington.
The 36-year-old righty made his return to a major league mound on Friday and was solid in a no-decision versus Baltimore. He yielded two runs on six hits and three walks over six innings.
Another bright spot was Vogelsong throwing 103 pitches in the outing and he is 2-4 with a 6.71 ERA in 10 starts this season.
Though the Giants won that earlier series with the Nationals, taking two of three at home, they have lost the first two contests of this series to stretch their losing streak in Washington to seven straight. They have not won at Nationals Park since April 30, 2011.
San Francisco nearly halted that skid on Wednesday night with a spirited comeback, plating three runs in the eighth inning on a Brandon Belt solo homer and two-run double by Pablo Sandoval.
The Giants then pulled within a run in the ninth as Belt singled to center to score Andres Torres. Buster Posey followed with a single off of Nats closer Rafael Soriano to put two runners on with two outs, but center fielder Denard Span followed with a spectacular diving catch on Hunter Pence's liner to the gap in center field to secure Washington's 6-5 win.
Pence knocked an 0-1 slider deep to the outfield and Span raced over, slid on one knee and secured the ball in his glove before turning over on his back.
"I just put my head down and I looked up. I saw I was gaining ground on it and that's when I said I'd have a chance to reach for it," Span said. "Once I caught it, I just tried to hold onto it."
Span's catch helped keep the Nationals' momentum going as they won their fifth straight to get within a game of the .500 mark. They trail Cincinnati by 8 1/2 games for the NL's second wild card.
Tim Lincecum got the start for San Francisco, but surrendered all six runs on seven hits and two walks over six frames.
"I was up to me to settle down that inning and limit the damage," Lincecum said of a five-run fourth inning by the Nats.
The Giants have lost three straight and six of their last eight, but it has been a good August for Belt. He is batting .415 with four homers and nine RBI in 13 games this month.
08/15 10:35:13 ET