" Good relief: Chad Cordero (3-3) pitched the ninth inning for the victory, surviving a two-out, cue-shot double down the right field line by Rich Aurilla. Cordero rebounded by striking out Daniel Ortmeier in a tense at-bat that included four foul balls.
" Dueling southpaws: Nationals starter Matt Chico and Giants ace Barry Zito battled for seven innings. Both were pulled with the score tied 1-1, Zito having allowed only two hits and Chico having given up four.
" Figure this: Rajai Davis has hit safely in 19 of 22 starts since joining the Giants.
-- ESPN.com news services
Nationals 2, Giants 1
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ryan Zimmerman is leading the majors in mob scenes.
Guessing fastball and getting a slider, Zimmerman took "an emergency hack" at the ball and poked it into right field for a ninth-inning, one-out, game-winning RBI single Sunday to give the Washington Nationals a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
"I threw the bat out there, and it was good placement, I guess," said Zimmerman, who was sitting on a full count and had already swung and missed at two high-90s fastballs from Brian Wilson (1-1). "It was kind of an emergency hack, I guess you could say."
The hit was just enough to score Felipe Lopez, who had doubled to left-center with one out. Lopez was still rounding third when the Nationals started charging out of the dugout to celebrate the latest walk-off moment of Zimmerman's young career. His six game-ending hits are the most in the majors since he became an everyday player at the start of last season.
Zimmerman also leads the NL this season with 16 game-winning RBIs. He also had a walk-off walk last season.
"He has shown that he has a knack for it," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "He's got so many game-winning RBIs already. He doesn't panic. He's gifted."
The victory was the second straight for Washington following a seven-game losing streak. The Giants lost two of three to the Nationals because they couldn't hit -- they scored only five runs in the series.
"We've been shut down," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "One run's not going to cut it."
Chad Cordero (3-3) pitched the ninth inning for the victory, surviving a two-out, cue-shot double down the right field line by Rich Aurila. Cordero rebounded by striking out Daniel Ortmeier in a tense at-bat that included four foul balls.
Starting pitchers Barry Zito and rookie Matt Chico traded 1-2-3 innings with clinical efficiency on a sunny afternoon at RFK Stadium, but neither got much for the effort. Both were pulled after seven innings with the score tied 1-1, Zito having allowed only two hits and Chico having given up four.
Zito, carrying his sharp August form carried into September, walked one and struck out five. He said he's finally getting used to his surroundings -- and to the expectations associated with the $126 million, seven-year contract he signed with the Giants in the offseason.
"I think it's less pressure than I put on myself," Zito said. "Obviously, the circumstances are the same. It's all in how you view it. ... It's like a freshly waxed car -- the water just beads off, doesn't effect you at all. That's where you want to be. Then you pitch out there under your own circumstances instead of pitching under everybody else's."
Chico, meanwhile, rediscovered his control, walking one and striking out three in his return to the big-league club. He had been sent to the minors after his previous start, when he allowed four runs, five hits and five walks in 4 1/3 innings against the Mets on Aug. 17. At the time he had been the only Nationals starter not to miss a turn in the rotation, but he had struggled with his control in recent outings.
"I was going out there thinking 'I don't care if I give up 12 hits tonight -- I'm not going to walk anybody,'" Chico said.
Neither team had a runner on base until the bottom of the third, when San Francisco shortstop Omar Vizquel couldn't handle Ronnie Belliard's one-hopper. Belliard was given a hit on the play, and he scored on Nook Logan's two-out triple.
The Giants finally made a dent against Chico in the fourth, when Rajai Davis blooped a single into the shallow left-center. Aurilia tied the game the following inning, leading off the fifth with a no-doubt-about-it home run to left, his fifth.
After Aurilla's home run, no player from either team reached third base until Lopez scored on Zimmerman's game-winning hit. Zimmerman was soon surrounded and pounded by a hoard of jumping and hollering teammates.
And, no, he's yet to be injured during a celebration.
"They got a couple of good shots in today," he said. "I'm getting kind of used to it, which is all right."
Davis has hit safely in 19 of 22 starts since joining the Giants. ... San Francisco 2B Kevin Frandsen was 0-for-16 lifetime against the Nationals until his fifth-inning single. ... Until he was pulled after seven innings and 90 pitches, Chico appeared on pace to do what no Nationals pitcher has done this year -- throw a complete game. ... Barry Bonds grounded out a pinch hitter in the eighth. He went 0-for-5 in the three-game series and started only one game. ... The ninth-inning run was the first allowed by Wilson in 12 innings this year.