The Nationals hitters are now even overshadowing rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg.

With three starters on the bench, Washington still punished one of Major League Baseball’s best pitching staffs. After scoring 14 runs in three games against San Diego, the Nats opened a three-game series against the Giants – third only to the Padres and St. Louis Cardinals in team ERA - with eight runs.

Adam Dunn hit two home runs and doubled, Willie Harris went 3-for-4 with a run driven in and Wil Nieves was 2-for-4 with two RBI. That was more than enough for Strasburg, who gave up a home run to the first San Francisco batter he faced and nothing else in an 8-1 victory on Friday night at Nationals Park.

“I’ve said it all along – our offense is pretty good when it’s rolling,” Dunn said. “For pretty much the first half we haven’t been on. I think the last week-and-a-half we’ve kind of relaxed a little bit and everyone’s kind of locked it in and swung the bat a little better.”

Dunn has now hit five home runs this week and is 7-for-12 with a double, nine RBI and six runs scored over the last three games. Harris and Nieves both took advantage of rare starts, producing a combined five hits in place of outfielder Josh Willingham and catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Even pinch hitter Alberto Gonzalez – with just 76 at-bats all season – tripled and scored a run.

“I know my No. 1 job is to catch and make the pitcher feel good and win games with my calling,” said Nieves, hitting .186 as the back-up catcher to Rodriguez. “But it always feels good to contribute with the bat. I know I can hit better than I’ve been doing. I’m just working hard on it. I only have like 100 at-bats so I know with a good hitting streak my average can go up.”

Washington improved to 39-48 as it tried to generate some momentum before the All-Star break begins after Sunday’s series finale. The Nats have won seven of their last 11 games at home and six of their last 10 overall. The Giants fell to 45-41.

San Francisco starter Matt Cain (6-8, 3.34 ERA) gave up six hits and two runs through the first six innings. But he wilted in the seventh as Nyjer Morgan singled home a run and Dunn crushed his second homer of the night into the red seats in left-center field. Harris added an RBI double off reliever Guillermo Mota. Cain eventually was charged with eight runs, seven of them earned, on 11 hits. He also walked three batters and saw his ERA jump by .36.

Strasburg, meanwhile, lasted six innings, allowing only the one run on a solo homer by Andres Torres in the top of the first. The Giants managed just three hits and Strasburg (3-2, 2.32 ERA) struck out eight batters and walked one. Washington’s bullpen allowed a combined one baserunner in three innings. It was the fifth quality start for Strasburg in seven attempts. Despite so few outings he now leads the team in strikeouts with 61 overall. He wasn’t fazed in the least by Torres’ quick homer to right field.

“Those first few hitters you’re trying to feel things out,” Strasburg said. “Torres put a good swing on it. I fell behind. But it happens. When you’ve got guys out there swinging early at your fastball they’re going to run into it every now and then. And you just have to make the adjustments.”