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MLB: Johnny Cueto, Giants go for series win over Nationals

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With runs at a premium this weekend, the San Francisco Giants turn to veteran Johnny Cueto to pitch them to a potential third win in their four-game series against the host Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon.

Cueto (4-2, 3.70 ERA), whose start was pushed back a day due to Thursday’s rainout, will oppose Nationals starter Joe Ross (2-6, 4.80 ERA) in the finale of a series in which the teams have combined to score only six runs.

“On the offensive side of the ball, it wasn’t the prettiest win ever,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s hard to win in the big leagues, so it’s nice to get that W. At the same time, we’ve got some work to do on the offensive side.”

Three of those runs in the series came with the benefit of the extra-inning rule during the second game of Saturday’s split doubleheader. San Francisco prevailed 2-1 despite mustering only three hits. LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores drove in the Giants’ two runs with RBI singles in the top of the eighth.

“Doubleheaders are tough, getting in early, you get out of a routine,” Wade said. “But that’s not an excuse. I felt like we came out prepared, we were prepared. Balls just weren’t falling for us in the first game or in the second game until late. But this shows our resiliency, the way we were able to hang in there and come up with the W.”

Starlin Castro’s double to lead off the bottom of the inning scored Washington’s lone run. But a baserunning mistake by Victor Robles, who overran the bag at second on a fly out by Josh Bell, led to the Giants’ sealing the victory.

“I was the winning run on the bases and as soon as the fly ball went up, I wanted to make sure I tried to put myself in a position to score,” Robles said via his translator. “When I saw my teammate tagging up, I thought it was a good opportunity for me to do the same and try to make it a little bit better and easier for Trea Turner and Juan Soto to get a hit and score the runs.”

Robles’ miscue led to the second out of the eighth, and Turner then popped out to end the game.

“Honestly, I thought it was poor,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said of the play.

Cueto gave up three earned runs (four overall) in his last start. He gave up six hits and two walks and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Cueto exited after 78 pitches and allowed a pair of home runs to Cubs rookie third baseman Patrick Wisdom.

Cueto, a two-time All-Star, is 7-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 12 career starts (76 innings) against the Nationals.

Ross gave up four runs — all unearned — in his most recent start, June 5 against the Phillies. An error by Josh Bell in the fourth inning of that 5-2 loss was followed by a run-scoring single by Rhys Hoskins and later a three-run home run by Andrew McCutchen.

Ross threw 92 pitches, gave up three hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two.

Ross is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two career starts against the Giants, and has lost five consecutive decisions overall.

–Field Level Media

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