- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Manager Matt Williams is considering lineup changes after the Washington Nationals managed just one run over three games.

“You’ll know when I make the lineup tomorrow. OK? Thank you,” Williams said.

Yunel Escobar hit the game’s first pitch from Ryan Vogelsong for a home run, but Washington did little else in losing a third straight game, 3-1 to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night, following a pair of shutouts at Dodger Stadium the two previous days.

Matt Duffy and Buster Posey hit RBI singles in the bottom of the first against Stephen Strasburg (6-6) for the defending champions to kick off a key four-game series in a rematch of last fall’s NL division series won in four games by the Giants. Strasburg, in his second start off the disabled list, suffered his first career regular-season defeat to the Giants. He was the losing pitcher in Game 1 of the NLDS last year.

Escobar sent Vogelsong’s first pitch of the night over the wall in left-center for his eighth homer. It was his third leadoff clout this season, the seventh of his career and the seventh by the Nationals this year.

Washington couldn’t muster any other offense in losing a third straight game and seventh in 11.

When asked about missing fastballs, a frustrated Williams offered: “I think, for the most part, we’re not even swinging at them. You need to swing at the fastball, you do. … We want opportunity for our guys, we had some in the first inning, and that one base hit didn’t happen.”

Hunter Strickland relieved Vogelsong and struck out three in two perfect innings. Sergio Romo struck out two in the eighth and Santiago Casilla finished for his 28th save.

Vogelsong (8-8) allowed one run on three hits, struck out eight and walked four over five innings for his first victory in five starts since June 24 as San Francisco won for just the second time in seven games. When the offense answered right back in the bottom of the first, it lifted Vogelsong.

“For us to come out and answer real quick it sends a message we’re not going to go away,” Vogelsong said.

Both teams sit in second place in their respective divisions looking to make a move over the final eight weeks.

Brandon Belt, one of the baseball’s hottest hitters this month with seven home runs, added an insurance RBI single in the seventh.

Williams was delayed getting to the field for batting practice after home run king Barry Bonds paid his former teammate a visit in the clubhouse and stayed more than a half-hour.

Strasburg also was handed his first career loss at AT&T; Park, where he had been 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three previous starts. He kept alive his streak of never surrendering more than two earned runs while striking out at least seven in each of his four outings at the Giants’ waterfront ballpark.

“We’re all professionals here. We’re not going to let how the last game went affect the next one,” Strasburg said. “We’re just going to keep working hard. It’ll figure itself out. It’ll all come out in the wash. We just have to stick together and keep pulling for each other and leave it all out there on the field.”


Nationals: 2B Dan Uggla, placed on the DL on Saturday with back spasms, will receive his World Series ring from the Giants before the series ends. He played four games for San Francisco in 2014.

Giants: LF Nori Aoki was placed on the seven-day concussion list after symptoms returned Wednesday and he had to leave the game. He was hit in the head by a pitch Sunday at Wrigley Field. … RHP Tim Hudson will pitch two innings at Class-A San Jose to prepare himself for a potential September bullpen role. “I’ve got to go out and pitch to some kids who could be my kids,” he said. “I can always start. If I need to be ready in 2-3 minutes, we’ll see if these old bones can handle it.”


Nationals: Max Scherzer (11-8, 2.44 ERA) seeks his second win in five starts following back-to-back no-decisions.

Giants: RHP Matt Cain (2-3), 0-2 over his last three starts, didn’t pitch in last year’s playoffs because of elbow surgery and hasn’t gone more than six innings this year following more elbow issues. He is 3-2 at home against Washington with a pair of complete games.

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