It was opposite day at PETCO Park Friday night between the Washington Nationals and the San Diego Padres. In Thursday night’s game, the Padres jumped on Doug Fister early to score seven runs in the first two innings. The Nationals returned the favor tonight, scoring seven runs in the first three innings against Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne.
The way the Nationals scored their runs in the first inning was encouraging. Washington’s hitters played station-to-station baseball to score four runs. Denard Span, Yunel Escobar, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper all singled with Harper’s single to right giving Washington their first run. Ryan Zimmerman drew a bases loaded walk for another RBI to put the Nats up 2-0.
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Wilson Ramos would hit into a double play, but Werth scored. Then, Ian Desmond singled to score Harper from third to extend the lead to 4-0 Desmond stole second during Danny Espinosa’s at bat, so Espinosa was walked intentionally to get to Jordan Zimmermann.
It isn’t often that the pitcher’s first appearance in a game is at the plate, but it was that kind of inning. Jordan ground out to end the inning, but the Nationals had batted around against Despaigne to start the game and give Zimmermann a four run lead with which to work.
With two outs in the top of the second, Despaigne hit Werth in the wrist with a 92 mile-per-hour sinker. Jayson was in obvious pain, but ended up at first base, not replaced for a pinch runner. It appeared the pitch got him right around the guard he wears on his right wrist. Tyler Moore replaced Werth in left field for the bottom of the second.
After the game, manager Matt Williams told the media that Werth’s X-Rays were negative, which is a very good sign:
The Nats added to their lead in the top of the third by again stringing hits together. Zimmerman singled to start the inning and Ramos singled to right to extend his hitting streak to 17 games. Ian Desmond would get his second RBI single of the night on a base hit to left. Then, Danny Espinosa doubled to right to drive in Ramos and Desmond and make the score 7-0. Even with the hit, Espinosa was thrown out at third base trying to stretch his hit into a triple.
Espinosa’s mistake was unfortunate, because Zimmermann doubled to extend the inning, just missing a home run. Span struck out looking for the second out on a gift call from the umpire for Despaigne. Escobar would ground out to end the inning.
Despaigne was done after three innings. Shawn Kelley came in to pitch for the Padres. Harper said hello to Kelley with a home run to right, his 13th of the season and eighth in the last nine games to put the team ahead 8-0.
Zimmermann danced in and out of trouble in the bottom of the fifth. He allowed consecutive singles to Yangervis Solarte, Will Middlebrooks and Clint Barmes. He then got three consecutive outs. Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko struck out on a nasty slider, Cory Spangenberg popped out to shallow left, and Abraham Almonte grounded out to first. The Padres went from bases loaded, no outs to three outs and nothing across against Zimmermann, who threw six shutout innings in the win.
The Nationals added to their lead against reliever Frank Garces in the top of the sixth. With one out, Escobar and Moore both singled and Harper drew a walk. That would lead to a sacrifice fly to right by Zimmerman that scored Escobar for a 9-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Moore went to first base to give Zimmerman the rest of the night off while Michael A. Taylor was put into left field.
The top of the seventh gave the Nationals the opportunity to pad their lead. Espinosa singled and went to second on a passed ball by Padres catcher Derek Norris. Span singled to center to drive in Espinosa for the 10th run of the game.
A.J. Cole took over for Zimmermann in the bottom of the seventh. He earned his first Major League save by pitching the last three innings of the game, giving up only one hit and striking out one. Cole was called up when Doug Fister was put on the 15 day disabled list due to forearm tightness. Hopefully, this outing will wash the taste of that nasty start against the Braves from his memory bank.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals (20-17) will take on the San Diego Padres (19-18) Saturday night at 8:40 PM ET in the third game of this four game series. You can catch the game on MASN2. Max Scherzer (3-3, 1.99 ERA) takes the mound for the Nats against Andrew Cashner (1-6, 3.07 ERA).