WASHINGTON – The San Francisco Giants lost when they couldn't turn a double play in the ninth inning. It wouldn't have mattered if they had pushed across a few runners in, say, the first or the third or the fourth.
The Washington Nationals completed a sweep of the Giants on Thursday night, winning 6-5 when Adam LaRoche's would-be, inning-ending double-play grounder with the bases loaded was botched by shortstop Brandon Crawford's low throw.
"You saw it. Ground ball, double play and bad throw or we're tied and we're still playing," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's pretty much it."
It was throwback night in the nation's capital, and the "Senators" topped the "New York Giants" with a two-run rally off Santiago Casilla (2-4). The NL East leaders recovered from a four-run deficit and have won four straight and seven of nine.
The Giants, meanwhile, have lost their hold on first in the NL West. They had been 74-1 over the last two seasons when leading by three or more runs. They're now 74-3 after back-to-back slip-ups against the Nationals.
"Obviously we don't like the way it went here and especially with this game," Bochy said. "The first two we were knocked out of pretty good, but this is one we probably let get away — there's no getting around that."
Pinch-hitter Tyler Moore led off the ninth with a double. Casilla then failed to barehand Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice, an error that put runners on first and third with none out. Bryce Harper singled in the tying run, and Ryan Zimmerman was walked intentionally to load the bases.
Michael Morse bounced into a forceout at home, and the game appeared headed to extra innings when LaRoche hit the grounder to second.
The Giants got the first out at second base, but Crawford bounced the relay — and first baseman Brandon Belt couldn't come up with it. Harper scored on the play.
Tyler Clippard (2-2) pitched the ninth to get the win for the Nationals, who scored 24 runs in the three-game series.
The home team went all-out to recreate the nostalgia of the 1924 World Series. The Giants wore the old pinstripe caps with the stylish NY logo. Fans received an old-fashioned "official score card" from the "Washington Base Ball Club." The players wore stirrups, and the grounds crew donned suspenders. The scoreboard showed replays in black and white.
The ball used for the ceremonial first pitch came from Game 6 of the '24 Series. Throwing it from the first row of the stands was Hank Thomas, grandson of Game 7 winner and Hall of Fame pitcher "Big Train" Walter Johnson.
One big difference: That Game 6 lasted one hour, 57 minutes. Thursday's game was just getting to the seventh inning at the two-hour mark.
It would have lasted longer — or at least had more scoring — if the Giants could get more bang for their buck. San Francisco needed 15 hits to scratch out its five runs and went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
"We left some guys on early for sure," second baseman Ryan Theriot said. "We had a chance to really distance ourselves there and you can't do that against an offense like this."
Giants starter Matt Cain allowed three runs over 6 2-3 innings and had a 5-1 lead before giving up back-to-back home runs to Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa in the seventh.
"I didn't do a good job in the seventh inning of just keeping the momentum on our side," Cain said. "That right there was a big turning point for those guys."
NOTES: Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez will have microdiscectomy surgery on his back next week and won't play this season. ... Nationals RHP Drew Storen, recovering from a right elbow injury, threw one perfect inning in a rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac.
Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP