Washington, DC – A throwing gaffe on a potential inning- ending double-play grounder off the bat of Adam LaRoche plated Bryce Harper with the winning run, as Washington rallied to beat San Francisco, 6-5, and sweep a three-game series.
Down 5-4 in their last at-bat against Santiago Casilla (2-4), pinch-hitter Tyler Moore led off with a double, then moved to third as Casilla couldn't pick up a Steve Lombardozzi sacrifice bunt try. Harper then bounced a single through the right side to tie the game and leave runners at the corners. Ryan Zimmerman was given an intentional walk to load the bases, then a Michael Morse grounder to second turned into a force at home.
LaRoche followed with a ball to the right side, and the first out was recorded at second by Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford off a throw from Ryan Theriot. But Crawford's flip to first bounced in front of Brandon Belt and glanced off his glove, allowing the deciding run to score.
"That's what you live for, you live for games like that," Harper said. "It's a lot of fun. We're a team that's not going to stop, not going to quit."
It made a winner of Tyler Clippard (2-2), who turned in a scoreless top of the ninth.
Harper finished with two RBI, while Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa slugged back-to-back homers in the seventh inning for the Nationals, who have won four in a row and seven of their last nine to stay comfortably atop the NL East.
Melky Cabrera posted two hits and drove in three for the Giants, who have dropped five of six. Angel Pagan totaled three hits and two RBI in the setback.
Washington tallied in the second on a run-scoring double-play grounder from Desmond, but the visitors responded with two in the third on a Cabrera groundout and RBI hit from Pagan.
Cabrera doubled home Justin Christian in the fourth, then extended the Giants' edge to 4-1 in the sixth on a sac fly to score Christian -- who singled, stole second and moved up on a sac bunt.
In the seventh, Pablo Sandoval led off with a single and scored when Pagan tripled to right center for a four-run spread.
The Nats countered in the home half on those consecutive blasts from Desmond and Espinosa to close the gap to two. Giants starter Matt Cain exited after a Jesus Flores fly out. Jeremy Affeldt came on but allowed a double to pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa then couldn't flag down a dribbler from Lombardozzi.
Harper doubled home DeRosa to make it 5-4, but Sergio Romo induced an inning- ending line out from Zimmerman.
The hosts put two on in the eighth but failed to make up any ground.
"These guys are hot right now," Cain said of the Nats. "They're all swinging the bat well and they're all working together. That's the reason they're in first place."
Washington scored 24 runs over the course of the series...Nationals starter Ross Detwiler was charged with 11 hits and three runs over five innings, while Cain served up six hits and three runs over 6 2/3 frames...On a Turn Back the Clock Night, the Giants and Senators donned their duds from back in 1924...Prior to the game, the Giants announced that infielder Freddy Sanchez will miss the remainder of the year, and possibly be lost for the rest of his career, after undergoing back surgery earlier Thursday...San Francisco left 11 men on base and was just 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position.