Nationals’ offense lags without Harper
The Nationals’ offense did not muster much in the first game after Bryce Harper’s knee injury.
Chris Stratton struck out a careerhigh 10 in 6 2/3 shutout innings, and the San Francisco Giants beat Washington 4-2 Sunday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
Harper has a significant bone bruise in his left knee but no ligament damage, general manager Mike Rizzo said. Rizzo said the Nationals hope the star outfielder can return this season.
The 2015 NL MVP was injured Saturday when he slipped on first base. Asked for his initial reaction when he tumbled, Harper said, “I don’t like wet bases.” His recovery time is not clear. Joe Panik had three hits, including a two-run single in a three-run second that also featured Gorkys Hernandez’s RBI single. Pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson added a sacrifice fly in the eighth for a 4-0 lead. Stratton (1-2) allowed five hits and one walk in his fourth major league start, and Sam Dyson got three outs for his ninth save in 14 chances.
Washington did not advance a runner to scoring position until the seventh.
“I thought we attacked the zone pretty good today,” Stratton said. “I thought in the past I had nibbled around a little bit, so I didn’t want to do that.”
Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer in the eighth against Hunter Strickland.
A.J. Cole (1-3) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
Fans loudly booed Strickland when he emerged from bullpen in the middle of the eighth inning. The reliever hit Harper with a pitch on May 29, leading to a bench-clearing brawl and suspensions for both players. “I said a standing ovation was what he was going to get, so I was a little surprised,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy joked. “But I’m sure that’s what he expected there.”
The Nationals recalled catcher Pedro Severino from Triple-A Syracuse as its 26th player.
After a day off, the Nationals host the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday in the start of a two-game series.