Nationals No. 1 prospect Lucas Giolito threw five scoreless innings and second baseman Wilmer Difo collected a career-high five hits Monday to lead Class A Hagerstown to an 13-7 victory at Delmarva.
After seeing his scoreless-innings streak end at 12 in his last start, Giolito started a new one against the Shorebirds. He struck out six batters, walked two and held them to two hits. He hasn't allowed a run in three of his last four starts.
The Suns offense gave Giolito plenty of support before he even got on the mound in the first inning. They hit two home runs and scored seven times in the top of the first inning against Delmarva left-hander Luis Gonzalez.
Led by Difo, the Nationals' No. 20 prospect, the offense kept going throughout the game. He finished the night 5-for-6 with two runs and two RBIs. In 118 games this season, he is hitting .314/.355/.469 with 12 home runs and 42 stolen bases.
Difo's first career five-hit game came just two days after he collected four hits for the first time in Hagerstown's 9-4 victory against Kannapolis on Saturday.
Monday's win went to Giolito, ranked No. 10 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list. He improved to 9-2 with a 2.23 ERA this season. He has struck out 105 batters and walked 28 in 93 innings.
The Nationals have limited Giolito's workload this season, his first full one since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012. As a result, he hasn't thrown enough innings to qualify for the South Atlantic League ERA title. If he did qualify, he would lead the league in ERA and WHIP (0.98). Even having thrown fewer innings than the leaders, Giolito ranks fourth in the league in strikeouts.