Stephen Strasburg Solid, Bryce Harper Shines As Washington Nationals Top Padres
By Nick Engle
The Washington Nationals took the series finale against the San Diego Padres 10-5 as they took three of four from San Diego to cap off their seven game road trip. The Nats took five of seven on this west coast swing and are winners of six series in a row.
Stephen Strasburg got the start for the Nats as he looked to recover from a troubling outing earlier this week against Arizona when he only went 3.1 innings and gave up seven earned runs. Strasburg had a solid outing today. He went five innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out seven, and walked one.
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Strasburg seemed to have much better stuff this outing and he probably could have gone a bit deeper in the game, if not for a wacky first inning. Strasburg struck out Abraham Almonte swinging, but threw a wild pitch in the process allowing Almonte to take first. Almonte would steal second and score on an infield single by Matt Kemp to give San Diego the lead. Strasburg had to get four outs, which cost him a scoreless inning.
Stras gave up a homer to Justin Upton, who had a fantastic afternoon, going three-for-three with two homers and a double, in the bottom of the third, which made the score 2-0.
Ian Kennedy was untouchable through four innings where he faced the minimum, only giving up one walk (Bryce Harper in the second). However, Kennedy ran into the hottest hitter in baseball to start the top of the fourth in Bryce Harper. Harper would lead off the inning with a triple to right field. Then, Ryan Zimmerman would reached on an infield single. After Tyler Moore and Jose Lobaton both popped out, the Nats almost squandered a great scoring opportunity. But, Danny Espinosa came through by crushing a three-run homer, his fifth of the season to put the Nats up 3-2.
After that hit, the Nats never looked back.
Stras immediately shut the Padres down with a quick one-two-three inning and put the pressure back on Kennedy in the top of the sixth. After Kennedy walked Michael Taylor, Ian Desmond, and Yunel Escobar to start the inning, Bryce Harper came up with the bases loaded and no outs against new reliever Frank Garces. Of course, Bryce came through with a cue-ball shot to third base, scoring Taylor. Zimmerman then kept the line moving with a sacrifice fly to left and Tyler Moore capped the inning by gashing a bases-clearing double up the third-base line, which made the score 7-2.
Matt Williams had a quick hook with the lead after Stras gave up back-to-back hits to start the sixth as he took Strasburg out after 91 pitches. Tanner Roark came in relief and recorded three straight outs, but allowed the runner on third to score on a groundout by Yangervis Solarte, making the Nationals lead 7-3.
The Nationals were not done in the top of the seventh. After Desmond and Escobar both singled, Bryce Harper hit a bomb to left field for his 14th homer of the year against Dale Thayer to make the score 10-3.
Roark pitched two more innings, only giving up another Justin Upton home run in the eighth. Sammy Solis pitched the ninth, giving up a solo shot to Jedd Gyorko, which brought the final score to 10-5.
Next Game: After a day off Monday, the Washington Nationals (22-17) will be back at Nats Park Tuesday night to begin a two game series against the New York Yankees (22-17). Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.25) will take the ball for the Nats against former Marlin Nathan Eovaldi (3-1, 4.14).