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Span's diving catch in ninth helps Nationals edge Giants

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The Canadian Press
8/14/2013 11:15:21 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Denard Span made a diving catch in deep centre field with two runners on base for the final out, and the Washington Nationals held off the San Francisco Giants 6-5 Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.

Jordan Zimmermann (14-6) increased his NL-leading win total, allowing one run in seven innings and outpitching Tim Lincecum (6-12). Washington matched its longest winning streak of the season and moved within one victory of .500 for the first time since July 20.

The Giants scored once in the ninth off Rafael Soriano, and put runners on first and second with two outs. Hunter Pence hit a drive to left-centre, and Span ran it down near the warning track to preserve the win.

Soriano worked around Brandon Belt's RBI single in the ninth and, helped by Span's grab, earned his 31st save.

Ian Desmond homered and Anthony Rendon had two RBIs in a five-run fourth inning that put Washington up 6-1.

Zimmermann gave up six hits, walked two and struck out two. After going 1-3 in his previous four starts, the right-hander permitted only two runners past second base.

In his last 42 regular-season starts, Zimmermann is 23-8 with a 3.01 ERA. Washington is 31-11 in those games.

Lincecum surrendered six runs and seven hits in six innings. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed a combined three runs over 22 innings in his previous three starts.

Belt homered and Pablo Sandoval had three hits for the last-place Giants, who have lost eight of 11 to fall a season-high 15 games under .500 (52-67). Since the All-Star break, the defending World Series champions are 9-16.

The Giants used a walk to Pence, a stolen base and a two-out single by Roger Kieschnick to manufacture a second-inning run.

In the bottom half, Desmond needed only one swing to tie it. His 17th home run was his 10th career hit in 12 at-bats against Lincecum, including two longballs.

San Francisco got two singles and a walk to load the bases with two outs in the fourth for Lincecum, an .098 lifetime hitter who bounced into a force play.

Similarly, two singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases for Washington in the bottom half, and the Nationals took full advantage of the situation. Rendon hit a two-run double and Kurt Suzuki followed with an RBI single. A wild pitch by Lincecum let in another run, and Ryan Zimmerman capped the uprising with a run-scoring single.

After Zimmermann left, the Giants pierced the Washington bullpen for three runs in the eighth. Belt homered off Ian Krol and Sandoval doubled in two runs off Ryan Mattheus before Tyler Clippard struck out Kieschnick and Gregor Blanco.

Sandoval's three hits were one more than he had in his previous seven games. Blanco went 0 for 3 and is batting .113 since the All-Star break, and teammate Buster Posey broke out of a 3-for-26 skid with singles in the eighth and ninth.

NOTES: Nationals C Wilson Ramos is day-to-day after straining his left hamstring during Tuesday's game. Ramos said Wednesday he expects to be held out "maybe one or two days." ... It was the first time in 10 games that San Francisco lost when scoring at least four runs. The Giants are now 40-12 in such games. ... Washington RHP Dan Haren seeks to win his fourth straight start in the series finale Thursday afternoon. RHP Ryan Vogelsong pitches for the Giants, his second start since returning from the 60-day DL.

Denard Span (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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