WASHINGTON – The defending World Series champions have had trouble mustering offense this season, and San Francisco's bats were silenced again Sunday by Jordan Zimmermann in a 5-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.
The Giants failed to score more than two runs for the third straight game against Washington and the seventh time in their last 10 overall.
"One thing I know is nobody is going to feel sorry for us," shortstop Miguel Tejada said. "We have to continue to play hard. When we get hot, we won't feel sorry for nobody."
After scoring two runs in the second, the Giants were shut out and managed only four hits in the final seven innings.
San Francisco did get production from the bottom of the lineup, with No. 8 hitter Nate Schierholtz driving in both runs and No. 7 Mike Fontenot hitting two doubles.
At the top it was a different story. The first six batters in the lineup were 4 for 21 combined against the Nationals. First baseman Aubrey Huff is in the deepest slump, now 3 for 34 (.088) over his last 10 games, but he is far from alone in having problems at the plate.
"Right now we're having a hard time getting runs across the board," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Thank goodness for the back end of the order because they are finding ways to get us runs right now until we get things going."
The Giants were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base, including three in the third inning. After the Nationals intentionally walked the slumping Huff with first base open to load the bases, the struggling Tejada inexplicably swung at a 3-0 pitch, grounding into a fielder's choice.
"I take that pitch all the way," said Tejada, who finished 1 for 4 and is batting .217 on the season. "I don't know what (happened). That was the only at-bat I was frustrated with all year."
The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Tejada reached on an infield single and advanced to third on Fontenot's double off the right-field wall. Schierholtz hit a blooper that landed on the left-field line between left fielder Laynce Nix and shortstop Ian Desmond and scooted toward the stands, giving Schierholtz a two-run double.
Matt Cain (2-2) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out five, but walked three and threw one costly wild pitch with the bases loaded.
"I wasn't able to find a good rhythm to be able to get ahead of guys," said Cain, who allowed a single run in the second, third and fourth. "I really never gave our offense a good chance to get off defense and come back in real quick. It seemed like every inning was a grind to get through."
The Nationals loaded the bases with two outs in the third inning on a single and two walks by Cain before Rick Ankiel scored on Cain's wild pitch to tie it 2-all.
Zimmermann (2-4) gave up six hits, walked two and struck out four for his first win since April 8. The Nationals have won three of their last four.
Alex Cora's RBI double to the right-field corner in the second inning put the Nationals on the board. Washington took the lead in the fourth Jerry Hairston's RBI groundout.
The Giants stranded runners at the corners in the fifth when Huff popped out to center. They didn't get another baserunner until reliever Tyler Clippard walked Buster Posey to lead off the eighth inning. Posey gave way to speedy pinch-runner Darren Ford, who was promptly caught stealing on a good throw from catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
"It doesn't matter who's running — it could be fast, it could be slow, it could be average — I'm always ready," Rodriguez said. "I'm always ready for any runner."
Rodriguez gave Washington a pair of insurance runs in the eighth. Danny Espinosa walked to lead off the inning, and after Desmond singled they advanced on a double steal and scored on Rodriguez's single to center.
Fontenot doubled in the ninth, but San Francisco wasn't able to rally. Drew Storen earned his fifth save in five chances.
"We've all got to step up," Tejada said. "We need to start hitting. Hopefully it starts tomorrow."
NOTES: It was the 500th home game for the Nationals since moving to Washington in 2005. The team has a 238-262 home record during that span. ... San Francisco placed 3B Pablo Sandoval (broken bone in his right wrist) on the 15-day disabled list and called up 3B Ryan Rohlinger from Triple-A Fresno before the game.