- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Ian Desmond hit a monster home run that ranks right up there with the longest in the 16-year history of AT&T; Park. It meant little in another discouraging defeat for the Washington Nationals.

The San Francisco Giants have won three straight in this important weekend series, this time knocking Gio Gonzalez out of the game early in a 12-6 victory Saturday night that sent Washington to its fifth straight loss.

“We are still together, still united and still pulling for each other,” Desmond said. “There are a lot of games left to play. It’s not easy but we will keep believing and fighting. We’ve all gone through this at some point in our careers. They only way to get out of it is to keep fighting.”

In three days, the defending champions have delivered against Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and, now, Gonzalez, scoring 14 runs in 11 2/3 innings against those starters.

Matt Duffy hit a three-run double in San Francisco’s decisive six-run third inning and a late run-scoring double, Jake Peavy worked into the sixth to end a three-start winless stretch and drew a key walk, helping the Giants beat the Nationals for the third straight game with a 12-6 win Saturday night.

“Look, it’s hard to explain, this game’s a funny game,” Peavy said. “The only thing I can say is, I promise you, no matter who we have on the field on any particular night, we feel like we’re going to win. You have to feel that way.”

Take Kelby Tomlinson, who hit a two-run double in the fifth for San Francisco after Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked ahead of him. Tomlinson’s leadoff triple against Gonzalez in the third got the rally started.

Desmond cleared the left-field bleachers with a second-inning leadoff home run that hit the walkway for one of the longest in the ballpark’s 16-year history. It was estimated at 470 feet, the Giants said.

Peavy (3-5) allowed five runs on nine hits while outpitching Gio Gonzalez (9-5) as both teams played in a smoky haze from the Northern California wildfires.

Bryce Harper fouled a ball off his lower left foot in the seventh but stayed in the game as the stumbling Nationals lost their fifth straight game.

“It’s the top of my foot actually. I got it pretty good. It felt terrible out there and it still feel pretty bad,” Harper said. “X-rays were all negative and that’s a plus. It was painful. I squared it up pretty good.”

Danny Espinosa homered in the ninth for his first career pinch-hit homer.

San Francisco has won three straight against the Nationals for the first time since June 4, 2009-May 25, 2010.

Duffy’s double in the third came shortly after Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty was ejected. McCatty made a mound visit after Tomlinson’s triple and consecutive walks to Hector Sanchez and Peavy, then the coach began arguing balls and strikes.

Gonzalez was tagged for six runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings and had his five-game winning streak snapped with his first loss in nine starts since June 15 at Tampa Bay. After tossing eight scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last start, the lefty was knocked out in the third for his shortest appearance of the year.

He also was handed his first defeat by San Francisco since 2010, having gone 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his previous five outings. He limited the Giants to five hits over seven innings in a July 3 Nationals win.

“It’ a loss. We have a lot to play. Rock bottom?” manager Matt Williams said. “We’re still in the hunt. We have to play better, of course.”


The Giants’ half of the third inning lasted 27 minutes, 38 seconds as San Francisco batted around.


Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman had a day off but was used as a pinch-hitter.


Nationals: Rookie RHP Joe Ross (3-4), who was born across the bay in Berkeley and attended high school in Oakland, makes his first start in the Bay Area. “He’s pitched in some big games for us,” Williams said. “He’ll be ready for it.”

Giants: World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner tries to follow up his five-hitter against Houston. Bumgarner is just 2-5 with a 3.32 ERA in nine starts - including the postseason - against Washington. He has dropped his last three in the cross-country rivalry and the Giants have lost Bumgarner’s previous five starts facing the Nationals.

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