In a battle of National League Division leaders, the Washington Nationals made their case as Beasts from the East Monday night in San Francisco, defeating the Giants 14-2 at AT&T Park.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Ryan Zimmerman's RBI double, the Nationals exploded for seven runs in the third inning, three runs in the fourth, and three more in the fifth. Danny Espinosa's two-run home run to dead center field gave the Nationals a 14-0 lead and surpassed the team's previous season high for runs scored, which was set in the 12-5 win over the Colorado Rockies June 26. The 12-run margin of victory was the highest for the franchise since it moved from Montreal in 2005.
Coming off a complete-game effort in the 4-3 win over Houston Wednesday, Gio Gonzalez had a relatively stress-free outing Monday. Gonzalez, who is now tied with R.A. Dickey and Johnny Cueto for the National League lead in wins (15), scattered six hits and two walks over six innings, striking out four in the process. Gonzalez's night was ended in the bottom of the seventh, when Brandon Crawford's pinch-hit home run gave the Giants their only runs of the game. Tom Gorzelanny pitched the final 2.1 innings, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out three.
Washington's win, coupled with Atlanta's loss to San Diego, left the Nats with a 5.5 game lead in the National League East, their largest division lead of the season. But the news wasn't all good for Washington, as outfielder Michael Morse was pinch-hit for in the top of the fifth inning and was later seen in the dugout with his hand and wrist wrapped.
The series resumes at 10:15 p.m. Tuesday night, as Jordan Zimmermann is scheduled to face Madison Bumgarner.
For more news from the Washington Nationals, visit their SB Nation blog Federal Baseball. For more news on the San Francisco Giants, visit their SB Nation blog McCovey Chronicles.