San Francisco Giants: Stephen Strasburg knocked out early as Giants roll to 9-5 win over Washington Nationals

The San Francisco Giants successfully dodged the offensive drought that had crept up through their last road trip, scoring early and often in a 9-5 win over the Washington Nationals to open a 10-game road trip.

Andrew McCutchen homered off Stephen Strasburg in the top of the first inning, and the Nationals’ starter gave up two more runs in the second before leaving with a shoulder injury. After Pablo Sandoval doubled to open the second, Alen Hanson singled him home, and Hanson game around to score on a Hunter Pence double. Though San Francisco (32-31) would squander a chance to break the game open that inning, the Giants would have plenty of opportunities to do so later.

Shawn Kelley pitched a scoreless top of the third for Washington (35-26), but the Giants would strike in the fourth against rookie Wander Suero. Hanson tripled to lead off the frame and scored on a homer by Gorkys Hernandez — his seventh, after hitting none last season.

After the Nationals got two back in the bottom of the fourth on 19-year-old phenom Juan Soto’s third career homer, San Francisco answered immediately in the top of the fifth on a Brandon Crawford RBI double.

Those insurance runs were quickly needed. Bryce Harper cut the lead in half with a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth, and Matt Adams, who didn’t start against left-handed Andrew Suarez, cut the lead to 6-5 with a two-out pinch-hit single in the sixth.

That would be the closest the Nationals could get. Trea Turner flew out with men on the corners to end the inning, and a three-run San Francisco rally in the top of the seventh against Brandon Kintzler broke the game open. Joe Panik doubled and Buster Posey singled to start the inning, and after McCutchen lined out, Crawford was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sandoval singled to score Panik, and Evan Longoria’s pinch-hit sac fly against Matt Grace made it 8-5. Pence followed with a single for his second RBI of the night to provide the final margin.

Suarez allowed four runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings, and Reyes Moronta, who got the final two outs of the fifth, was credited with the win. Fans were deprived of a much-anticipated Harper-Hunter Strickland rematch, as Will Smith pitched the ninth in a non-save situation.

Ethan Kassel

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