One clutch hit and a solid pitching performance were not enough for the Nationals on Thursday night as they fell to the San Diego Padres 2-1 in the finale of their three-game set in San Diego.
The loss broke the Nats’ four-game winning streak and dropped their overall record to 14-5.
But the Padres negated both by rallying off Tyler Clippard (L, 1-2) in the eighth. Orlando Hudson walked with one out and Cameron Maybin followed with a bunt single. Mark Kotsay then doubled to the gap in right center, plating both runners and giving the padres a 2-1 lead.
Andrew Cashner (W, 1-1) set the nationals down in order in the top of the eighth inning, and Houston Street worked a scoreless ninth inning for his 2nd save, retiring Werth on a ground ball to second after Adam LaRoche‘s one-out single.
Jackson allowed six hits and three walks, two intentional, striking out six. He was not as sharp as Padres starter Edinson Volquez, who gave up just three hits and a walk and struck out seven over seven innings.
But the last hit Volquez allowed came off the bat of Werth, who gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead when he led off seventh by drilling an 0-1 fastball over the left field fence for his second home run of the season.
Jackson worked his way out of trouble several times. In the second, Yonder Alonso bounced a ground rule double over the left field fence with one out, and took third on dribbler up the first base line by Orlando Hudson that Jackson fielded before tagging Hudson for the out. Jackson intentionally walked Cameron Maybin and then induced Jason Bartlett to ground out to Danny Espinodsa.
In the fourth, Jackson had men on first and second with one out after Alonso’s second double of the game and another intentional walk to Maybin. But he struck out Bartlett on three straight sliders and then got Volquez to tap out to Adam LaRoche.
In the sixth, Hudson tripled with two out, but LaRoche made a fine defensive play by charging a slow roller to the right side, then flipping to Jackson who barely swiped his foot on the edge of the bag ahead of Bartlett.
The Padres finally knocked Jackson out of the game in the seventh when pinch hitter Jeremy Hermedia singled softly to right field with one out, and Chris Denforia reached on a high chop to Ian Desmond that was scored a base hit. Clippard came on and walked Chase Headly to load the bases, but ended the threat by striking out Nick Hundley on a 2-2 fastball that Hundley could not catch up with.
Champ of the Game: Werth, whose home run appeared to be the decisive blow until the Padres’ eighth-inning rally.
For the Padres, it was Volquez, who kept the Nats’ hitters off balance all night with his change-up.
Chump of the Game: Clippard, who could not pitch well with men on base. He suffered from what appeared to be questionable ball-strike calls on Hudson, but he still allowed the big hit to Kotsay.
For the Padres, it was Bartlett. The Nationals intentionally walked Maybin twice to get to him, and he rewarded them by stranding five runners.
Unsung Hero: LaRoche, who was 2-for-4 and saved a run with his outstanding fielding play in the sixth.
For the Padres, it was Alonzo, who was the Nats’ nemesis the past two games with three doubles.