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Friday, July 25, 2008

Redding Masterful, But Loses 1-0

San Francisco--Tim Redding truly pitched a gem Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Giants starter Matt Cain was just a bit better than that, as he held the anemic Washington offense to four hits, including one by Redding himself, going the distance and beating the Nationals 1-0.

Cain went nine innings, surrendering just those four hits and no walks with four strikeouts. He allowed a two-out double to Ryan Zimmerman in the fourth inning, Redding's single to left in the sixth and Willie Harris' infield single and Cristian Guzman's hard liner double to left in the ninth. With Harris on third and Guzman on second with one out in the ninth, Giants Manager Bruce Bochy came to the mound to settle Cain down and contemplate bringing in All Star closer Brian Wilson. But Bochy remained with his starter, and got Zimmerman to fly out to medium right field and Austin Kearns to fly out to deep right, ending the threat and the game.

"He gave me a pitch to do the job and I just didn't hit it deep enough," Zimmerman said.

The Giants got their lone run in the bottom of the eighth against Redding. Catcher Steve Holm led off with a seeing eye single to left field, and Eugenio Velez, one of the fastest runners in the NL, pinch ran. Cain sacrificed Velez to second, which brought up former World Series hero Dave Roberts. Redding got Roberts into a 1-2 count, but left a fastball up that Roberts fisted up the middle to Guzman's left. The ball barely snuck by Guzman, who was unable to get his glove on it to at least knock it down, and Velez scored without a throw. Jesus Flores threw Roberts out trying to steal and Redding struck out Jose Castillo to end the inning, but the damage was done. Cain cleaned up his own mess in the top of the ninth, and the Nats had been swept by the Giants, not just in this series, but for the season as San Francisco won all seven contests between the two teams.

Cain's only other career shutout came August 21, 2006 against Oakland.

The Nats move down the Pacific coast to start a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night. John Lannan (6-9, 3.29) goes against Chad Billingsly (9-9, 3.32) in the 10:40 Eastern match-up.

NATS NOTES: With the loss the Nats fall to 39-64, 17 games behind NL East leading New York Mets.

After the game, the Nationals activated CF Lastings Milledge (strained right groin) from the disabled list and designated C Johnny Estrada for assignment. Estrada hit .170 in 53 at bats for the Nats, with no home runs and four RBIs. The team expects to eat his $1.25 MM contract.

An MRI exam on INF Aaron Boone's injured left calf confirmed a strain that hasn't completely healed. He's been out since July 7.

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2008

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