Cabrera supended 50 games; Giants fall to Nats

12:48 AM, Aug 16, 2012   |    comments
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Jayson Werth drove in three runs to back Stephen Strasburg as the Washington Nationals posted a 6-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants in the rubber match of a three-game set at AT&T Park.

Steve Lombardozzi collected four hits, including two doubles, and Danny Espinosa clubbed a two-run homer for the Nationals, who concluded their road trip with an 8-2 mark.

Strasburg (14-5) limited the Giants to two runs on four hits over six innings. He walked four and struck out seven.

The Giants scored a run in the ninth, but Tyler Clippard struck out Buster Posey to record his 25th save of the season. Pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez kept the game alive with a two-out single and came around to score when first baseman Adam LaRoche dropped Pablo Sandoval's infield pop up.

Tim Lincecum (6-13) gave up four runs on eight hits in four frames for San Francisco, which learned before Wednesday's contest that outfielder Melky Cabrera was issued a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball said Cabrera tested positive for Testosterone, a performance-enhancing substance.

Cabrera, a 27-year-old outfielder, has produced a major league-leading 159 hits this season, along with 11 home runs and 69 RBI. Acquired by the Giants in the off-season from the Kansas City Royals, Cabrera was on his way to a career year prior to being eligible for free agency this winter.

Now, he will miss the remainder of the season plus the first four games of either next season or any Giants playoff run.

Cabrera's loss will be a devastating one for the Giants, a pitching-dominated team who in Cabrera finally found a potent offensive weapon to pair with Buster Posey in the middle of their lineup.

Instead, they will try to maintain their position atop the NL West without their most productive player this season.

Cabrera released a statement through the major league players' association accepting full responsibility for his positive test:

"My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down."

The test result ends what was shaping up to be a dream season for Cabrera.

Earlier this year, Cabrera lauded the influence of his mother on his career after he won All-Star Game MVP honors.

Then, he talked of a career change he made following the 2010 season, when he spent the winter in Miami rather than return to the Dominican Republic, working on conditioning with a trainer and focusing on improving his skills.

"I didn't make big changes," Cabrera said then, "but I worked out harder and started eating better."

The results were particularly evident this season.

Cabrera was a lifetime .275 hitter before this year, but he was hitting .346 this season. And his 2012 numbers were a significant improvement over his 162-game average from 2006-2011, roughly the span in which he's been a full-time player:

•Full season average entering this season: 139 hits, 67 runs, 43 extra-base hits, 10 home runs, 60 RBI.

•Projected 2012 stats before his suspension: 220 hits, 116 runs, 64 extra-base hits, 15 homers, 83 RBI.

Cabrera will now see those numbers bear great scrutiny when he hits the free agent market.


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