WASHINGTON (AP) - It had been more than 31/2 years since Tom Gorzelanny lasted eight innings in a game.
The way the Washington Nationals' starting pitchers are performing right now, nothing seems out of reach.
Gorzelanny allowed only three hits against a struggling San Francisco lineup, and Michael Morse and Jerry Hairston Jr. drove in runs for Washington, helping the Nationals beat the Giants 2-0 Monday on Military Appreciation Night.
That concluded a four-game series in which Washington won three times, twice shut out the World Series champions and held them to a total of four runs. It also capped a seven-game homestand in which Nationals starters posted a 2.18 ERA.
"The thought process each time out is to go out there and do our job. We're pushing each other, and we expect to go out there and do the best we can and get guys out and try to help us win or keep us in the game," Gorzelanny said. "And obviously, everybody's been doing a great job of that."
A big part of the reason the Nationals are 14-14 so far is this: They are the only club in the majors that has gotten at least five innings from its starter in every game this season.
Asked to describe how he and the other rotation members - Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, John Lannan and Jordan Zimmermann - push each other, Gorzelanny replied: "It's not from, like, 'I dare you to do this.' It's not like that. We feed off each other's outings. If guys need help with something each of us are helping out. We're a close group and everyone gets along really well together."
Marquis threw a shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Giants in the series opener Friday. Lannan allowed only two runs but lost 2-1 Saturday. Zimmermann allowed both runs in Washington's 5-2 win Sunday.
Gorzelanny (1-2) followed by continuing the Giants' woes. He gave up Aaron Rowand's double leading off the game and single in the third, as well as Cody Ross' single in the eighth - but that was all. He retired 15 consecutive batters in one stretch, helped by a diving catch by center fielder Rick Ankiel on Miguel Tejada's sinking liner in the fifth.
It was the first time Gorzelanny lasted eight innings in a game since Aug. 12, 2007, when he threw a shutout for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Giants.
Drew Storen pitched the ninth for his sixth save in six chances, closing out a game that took just 2 hours, 2 minutes - the fastest nine-inning game in the majors this season, according to STATS LLC.
Madison Bumgarner (0-5) retired Washington's first 12 batters and didn't allow an earned run but wound up with the loss because of two unearned runs in the seventh, his last inning. He allowed four hits.
That was enough run support for Gorzelanny, in part because the Giants continue to have problems at the plate.
"We're awful right now," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We know it."
San Francisco has lost eight of its last 11, scoring 23 runs in that span.
The first Nationals player to reach base against Bumgarner was rookie catcher Wilson Ramos, hitting cleanup on a day off for first baseman Adam LaRoche. Ramos doubled to start the fifth inning and was sacrificed to third, but Bumgarner got out of it by striking out Morse and Hairston.
After the back-to-back Ks, those two Nationals had a chat, and the veteran Hairston encouraged the younger Morse, pointing out: "Sometimes you have your good months, sometimes you have your bad months. But you have to keep grinding. He did that. He picked himself up and got a huge hit for us."
Indeed, that part of the lineup was trouble for the Giants' pitcher in the seventh. Ramos reached on a ball that went off Tejada's glove at third; it originally was ruled a single, then changed to an error after the game. That was followed by three consecutive hits for Washington: Ian Desmond singled, Morse hit an RBI single and Hairston hit an RBI double.
After coming through there, Hairston said, "We looked at each other and kind of smiled."
NOTES: It was Military Appreciation Night - something that first was planned in the offseason - and the Nationals offered free tickets to active or retired military personnel. The announced attendance was 15,342; the Nationals said they couldn't say yet how many free seats were provided.
The Associated Press News Service
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