Start of Giants-Nats series pushed back by rain

WASHINGTON -- The opener of a three-game series between the last-place San Francisco Giants and first-place Washington Nationals was rained out Friday night, meaning the start of the series is pushed back to Saturday.

Friday's game will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on Sunday.

The Giants (46-70) are making their only trip of the year to Washington. The Nationals are 68-45.

Edwin Jackson (2-2, 3.75 ERA with Washington) was slated to face Chris Stratton (0-2, 6.63) of the Giants in the pitching matchup Friday, and both will start Saturday.

Jackson is 4-4 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) against the Giants. He was 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts last year against San Francisco. Stratton will face the Nationals for the first time.

Jeff Samardzija (7-11, 4.75 ERA), originally slated to pitch for the Giants on Saturday, would most likely pitch one of the games Sunday.

The rain delayed for a day a possible meeting between Giants right-handed reliever Hunter Strickland and Washington right fielder Bryce Harper.

Strickland drilled Harper with a pitch in April and Harper charged the mound, resulting in a brawl and suspensions for both players.

"I didn't even think about it, really," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Friday. "I mean, that's a long time. But there was a long time between the playoffs and last time. So who knows? It's kind of on him. Bryce, he's not pitching. There's nothing that we can do to him, because he probably won't get an at-bat. So what are you going to do?"

Baker was referring to the 2014 playoffs when Harper went deep against Strickland.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Friday that he would not hesitate to use Strickland to face Harper if need be this weekend.

What about the April fight?

"I forgot about it before you brought it up," Bochy told a reporter Friday.

Giants closer Mark Melancon (right pronator strain) was with the team Friday in Washington and Bochy said "he could be activated Saturday."

The former Washington closer threw one inning and fanned two on Wednesday for Class A Advanced San Jose in a minor league rehab outing.

It was his fourth rehab appearance overall, with three coming with San Jose and one with Triple-A Sacramento. He is 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA with 11 saves in 22 games this year for the Giants.

San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt (seven-day concussion) did not travel with team this weekend and there is no timetable for his return, according to the Giants. He is hitting .241 in 104 games with 18 homers. Belt is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday.

Giants left-hander Matt Moore (3-12, 5.88) was originally slated to start Sunday against the Nationals. He could now pitch one of the two games Sunday.

Washington has benefited in the last few weeks from new relievers Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler. "You feel a lot more comfortable," Baker said of the trio, all of whom having closing experience.

Game notes
Giants LF Jarrett Parker was set to play in his first game at Nationals Park before the rainout. He grew up in nearby Stafford, Va., and played at the University of Virginia. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy spent part of his youth in Falls Church, Va. ... Washington manager Dusty Baker was the skipper of the Giants from 1993 to 2002 and won 840 games there. ... Nationals bench coach Chris Speier is a former shortstop for the Giants, with stints from 1971 to 1977 and 1987 to 1989.

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