The Giants couldn't have asked for a better setup for their pitching staff Saturday. The bullpen got a needed day of rest on Thursday and a shutout Friday set Kevin Gausman and a fresh group of relievers up for a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals.
The problem was, the lineup forgot to provide some support.
The Giants scattered five hits against Erick Fedde and two Nationals relievers, losing 2-0 in the first game of a seven-inning doubleheader.
Gausman threw a season-low four innings and 64 pitches, although a lot of that had to do with the circumstances. With the Giants trailing by a pair and the pitcher's spot coming up in the top of the fifth, Gabe Kapler took a shot at getting a rally going. It didn't work out.
Kapler's ace gave up a leadoff homer to Kyle Schwarber and that was all the Nationals needed. Here are three more things to know ...
Surprisingly Short Day
It tells you how high the bar has been set for Gausman that allowing two earned runs felt like a rough day. Gausman had allowed more than one earned just once in his first two-plus months, and that came way back on April 13 against the Reds.
Schwarber, the leadoff hitter, ambushed Gausman in the first, hitting a fastball 426 feet into the upper deck. It was just the second homer off Gausman in his last seven starts, but Schwarber sees him well and nearly added another solo shot his next time up. The Nationals scored again in the fourth when Juan Soto walked and raced around on Josh Harrison's double to the track that Mike Yastrzemski couldn't grab as he battled the sun.
Gausman gave up three hits, walked two and struck out four in his four innings. He still has a microscopic 1.43 ERA through 13 starts.
Wasted A Rare Opportunity
Gausman led off the third by picking up his seventh hit in 80 career at-bats. He had a good at-bat after falling behind, lining a single to left, but the Giants couldn't bring him around. LaMonte Wade Jr. dropped a surprise bunt, Yastrzemski grounded out in front of the plate and Buster Posey grounded out to first.
Yastrzemski came off the IL (thumb) on Saturday to serve as the 27th man for the doubleheader. He's still looking to get hot at the plate, and in particular he's looking to get going in big spots. With that out, he dropped to 3-for-33 with runners in scoring position. He hit .333 with RISP last year.
Gausman has five hits in 24 at-bats. He had two hits in eight previous seasons, although most of those were in the American League.
Gausman swings left-handed even though he pitches with his right hand, and he's had success lining balls through gaps the other way. He inside-outed a high, inside cutter from Fedde between the shortstop and third baseman.
Gausman's five hits easily lead the staff. Anthony DeSclafani and Logan Webb have one apiece, although each of those were for extra bases.