The Nationals hitting woes with runners in scoring position continued in the first game against the Padres Thursday night. The Nats had 16 hits, but could only score three runs. The team stranded 16 runners on the base paths. The result was an extra inning loss against the Padres, 4-3.
Jordan Zimmermann started for the Nationals and pitched six innings. He gave up three runs and deserved a better fate than to get a no decision in this game.
The Nationals scored first in the bottom of the third. Zimmermann singled, but was erased on a fielder’s choice by the next batter, Denard Span. Span then went to third on an errant pick off throw by Padre’s pitcher Eric Stults. Anthony Rendon hit a sacrifice fly to score Span.
The Padres answered right back in the top of the fourth. Chris Denorfia hit a lead off single and scored on a double by the next batter Seth Smith. Smith went to third on the throw to the plate, which was not in time to get the speedy Denorfia. Yasmani Grandal then singled, and Smith got caught in a run down when he hesitated about trying to go home. Alexi Amarista ground out to end the inning.
The Padres took the lead in the sixth inning. Pitcher Stults doubled to lead off the inning. Everth Cabrera popped out trying to bunt, but Stults made it to third on a groundout by Denorfia. Zimmermann walked Smith. With two runners on, Grandal doubled, scoring both Stults and Smith. Jordan induced a strike out by Amarista to end the inning and end his night.
Danny Espinosa made it a 3-2 game in the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot home run to left. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the seventh on another sold home run hit by Adam LaRoche off Padres pitcher Nick Vincent.
The score remained 3-3 through eleven innings. Craig Stammen pitched the tenth, eleventh and twelfth innings for the Nationals. In the top of the twelfth Jedd Gyorko singled to lead off the inning. Stammen got Tommy Medica to strike out. Xavier Nady, the former National, came to the plate hitting his usual anemic numbers. Another Nationals error proved costly at this moment in the game. Gyorko tried to steal second, and Jose Lobaton airmailed the ball over second base and into center field. Gyorko ended up on third base with one out. Nady then chopped a ball off the plate that bounced over Stammen’s head for a single and scored Gyorko.
The Nats could not score in the bottom of the twelfth after getting the lead off runner aboard, just like they could not in the tenth or the ninth or the eighth. Bryce Harper doubled to start the inning off of closer Huston Street. Tyler Moore struck out and Lobaton lined out, doubling off Harper who broke for third on contact.
Of note was Nationals Manager Matt Williams winning his first challenge of the year in the top of the ninth. Williams challenged the call on the field that Yonder Alonzo was safe on a steal attempt of second. Replay showed Alonzo was clearly out, and that got the Nats an important out in the top of the ninth for Rafael Soriano, who had put the lead off batter Alonzo on by walking him.
The Padres scored four runs on eight hits and four walks. The Nationals scored three runs on sixteen hits and two walks. The Nationals continue to be unable to string hits together and get hits with runners on.