The Nationals' franchise-record-tying 10-game winning streak came to end Friday night in a 10-3 loss to the Giants in the series opener at Nationals Park.
Doug Fister surrendered four earned runs over six innings to suffer just his fourth loss on the season. It was the poorest performance from a Nationals' starter since Aug. 8, when Stephen Strasburg allowed seven earned runs to the Braves in a loss at Turner Field.
Looking back, though, the Nationals' rotation played an integral role in the team's extended winning streak, which featured a stretch of five walk-off victories in six days. The starters combined to give up 10 earned runs over 67 innings during the span, good enough for a 1.34 ERA.
On Saturday afternoon in Game 2 against the Giants, right-hander Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound looking to help the group rebound from Fister's hiccup.
"They compete every day and keep us in game so that we have an opportunity to do the things that have happened over the last week," manager Matt Williams said of his starting staff. "If you're not in those games, that never comes to you."
Zimmermann -- who will match up with right-hander Tim Lincecum -- made two starts during the Nationals' winning streak. He dealt 6 1/3 innings of scoreless ball against the Mets on Aug. 13, and followed that up by surrendering three earned runs over seven-plus innings on four hits and a season-high three walks in a walk-off win over the D-backs five days later.
"I fell behind and had to work pretty hard to get back," said Zimmermann, who is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in August. "That's why we preach [that] we don't want to walk anyone."
Lincecum, meanwhile, will be taking the hill in search of career win No. 100. "When anybody who understands how hard it is to win a Major League game sees those 100 wins, there's a ton of respect from your peers when you see guys start to rack up wins like Tim has," Lincecum's teammate and 135-game winner Jake Peavy said.
Lincecum allowed two earned runs over five innings his last time out on Sunday against the Phillies. He's 10-8 with a 4.48 ERA on the season.
Nationals: Morse returns to familiar surroundings
Giants outfielder Michael Morse returned to Nationals Park on Friday for the first time since Washington traded him to the Mariners in January 2013 as part of a three-team deal.
The veteran slugger went 1-for-3 with a single before he was replaced in the sixth inning of San Francisco's victory.
"It feels good to be here," Morse said before the game. "I have a lot of memories."
Morse spent the better part of four seasons with the Nationals, helping the team win the National League East in 2012. His best season in Washington came in 2011, when he hit .303 with 31 homers and 95 RBIs.
Giants: No discussion regarding Posey position switch
As of Friday, the possibility of moving Buster Posey from catcher to first base in order to preserve his offensive prowess wasn't being talked about within the organization, according to manager Bruce Bochy.
Posey has played 22 games at first this season, compared to 89 behind the plate. And while he has been more prolific this year as a first baseman -- batting .385, compared with .267 as a catcher -- Bochy said a permanent switch is not being considered.
"If sometime down the road he'll get out from behind the plate, I can't answer that," Bochy said. "Right now, it's not [being] discussed. But I will say that it's nice to have options."
Posey went 2-for-5 with a solo home run and two RBIs on Friday.
• Williams said Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth "came out OK" after he underwent season-ending surgery on Thursday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. McLouth was expected to return to the clubhouse at Nationals Park on Friday so team doctors could check him out.
"Everything went fine," Williams said. "It's all put back together and now he's in the healing process."
• Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (Grade 3 hamstring strain) threw for first time on Thursday since suffering his injury just less than a month ago. Williams said Zimmerman reported no issues with his hamstring on Friday. As a result, the third baseman should "ramp up" his throwing program in the coming days.
"He's on his way," Williams said. "We've got to be mindful of his shoulder, too, but he'll continue."