The road-weary San Francisco Giants arrived at dawn Friday morning with hardly enough time to sleep, let alone prepare to face baseball’s hottest team.
Cue a Joe Panik reaction.
Panik launched his first major league home run, a three-run, go-ahead shot to center, and had his first four-hit game as the Giants defeated Washington 10-3 and ended the Nationals’ 10-game winning streak.
“I’ve been waiting a while for it – it’s been a couple months I’ve been up here,” Panik said of the home run. “But honestly, in this situation, it’s going to make it a lot more special.”
The rookie finished 4 for 5 two months and a day after his big league debut.
Buster Posey homered off Nationals starter Doug Fister (12-4) and added an RBI double, and Travis Ishikawa drove in two runs with a double to make it 6-2 before the Giants scored four more runs in the ninth.
Tim Hudson (9-9) and four relievers quieted bats of the Nationals, who apparently don’t have an inexhaustible supply of comeback wins and last-at-bat heroics.
“Over all the years I’ve came here, it’s never been a walk in the park,” said Hudson, who allowed two runs – one earned – over 5 1-3 innings for his first win since July 19. “It was close tonight for most of the game.”
Fister threw six innings and uncharacteristically gave up a pair of homers – Nos. 12 and 13 allowed this season.
San Francisco arrived in Washington in the wee hours after waiting out a nearly two-hour rain delay in Chicago. When the rain stopped, the Giants and Cubs resumed Tuesday’s suspended game, a Giants loss, before winning the nightcap 5-3.
“I was on, like, my second room service menu by the time that game was over,” quipped Hudson, who had flown to D.C. ahead of the team. “Don’t tell them that, though.”
Flight delays meant dawn was breaking by the time the team reached its hotel.
“We had a long night last night,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Fister looked to be making a second long night for the Giants. He had a 1-0 lead and appeared in little danger when he retired the first two batters of the fourth. He then induced a chopper up the middle from Pablo Sandoval, but the ball bounced so high that it became an infield hit.
That was enough to start the game-turning rally. Michael Morse followed with a single, and Panik put the next pitch beyond center fielder Denard Span and just right of the 402-foot mark to give the Giants a 3-1 lead.
“I saw the way Span was running . And once I saw him slowing down, I had a good feeling,” Panik said. “Thankfully it wasn’t AT&T Park.”
Bochy accepted an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from former Giants slugger Barry Bonds, getting doused in the dugout following the win.
“I accepted a challenge, gladly,” Bochy said. “This is just a terrible disease. But with Barry throwing me under the bus, there will be payback.”
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (concussion) was moved from the seven-day disabled list to the 15-day DL. He hasn’t played since Aug. 6. … CF Angel Pagan is day-to-day with an upper calf injury. Pagan was removed in a double switch in the ninth.
San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum (10-8, 4.48 ERA) faces Jordan Zimmermann (8-5, 2.97) on Saturday in the second game of the three-game series.