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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, July 4th (All times Eastern)

San Francisco Giants (45-36) at Washington Nationals (46-32), 11:05 a.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Madison Bumgarner (10-4, 2.85) Washington - Edwin Jackson (4-4, 3.57)

(Sports Network) - On the bright side, both the San Francisco Giants and Washington Nationals will have plenty of time to enjoy the holiday festivities after they play the middle portion of their three-game series in D.C. this morning, a meeting with a scheduled start time of 11:05 a.m. ET.

First, the players will have to drag themselves to the field after last night's opener required a little extra time due to a rain delay.

The hosting Nationals came out on the winning end on Monday by a 9-3 margin, building up an 8-0 lead by the fourth inning. The Giants had scored two runs before an 85-minute rain delay during the seventh inning, with both clubs plating a run following the break.

Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer in the third frame for Washington, while both Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche drove in a pair of runs in their club's fifth victory in seven games. That kept the Nats 3 1/2 games up for first place in the National League East.

Jordan Zimmermann enjoyed the run support and hurled six-plus innings, yielding two runs -- one earned -- on seven hits while striking out seven. He also hit an RBI double.

"When they give you a lead like that you don't want to let them back in the ballgame," Zimmermann said. "I just went out there, threw strikes and pounded the zone."

The Giants, meanwhile, saw ace Tim Lincecum take another step back as he was shelled for eight runs -- seven earned -- on nine hits and two walks over just 3 1/3 innings.

The 94 degree heat took its toll on Lincecum.

"It just got the better of me a little bit," Lincecum said. "They made me work and made me pay for it."

Gregor Blanco went 3-for-5 with two RBI for the Giants, who have lost three of four but still lead the Dodgers by a half-game for the top spot in the NL West.

The Giants look to draw even in this series today as Madison Bumgarner will try to wipe the sleep from his eyes and build off his first career shutout versus the Reds last Saturday.

Bumgarner completed a string of four straight shutout victories for the Giants by allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out eight. The 22-year- old won his second straight start and matched a career high with his fifth winning decision in a row.

"Madison was in charge the whole way. I actually thought he got a little better as the game went," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Bumgarner has pitched at least six innings in 15 straight starts and improved to 10-4 with a 2.85 earned run average in 16 outings this season. He is looking to become the first Giants left-hander to win at least 11 games before the All-Star break since Shawn Estes won 12 in 1997.

Bumgarner, who went 5-0 with a 2.42 ERA in six June starts, is 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA in two career starts versus the Nationals.

Hoping to rebound tonight for Washington is Edwin Jackson, who after allowing two runs or fewer in five straight outings was shelled at the Rockies on Saturday.

The right-hander yielded eight runs on 10 hits and two walks over just three frames, though he did get a no-decision in the Nationals' 11-10 loss in extra innings. Still, Jackson saw his ERA jump to 3.57 ERA in 15 starts to go along with a 4-4 record as he gave up more than four runs in an outing for the first time since April 19.

Jackson, 28, is 1-2 with a 4.29 ERA in four outings (3 starts) in his career versus the Giants.

The Nationals won three of four over the Giants at home last season.

07/04 10:21:20 ET