The Washington Nationals came into this three-game series against the San Diego Padres in need of a win to keep their momentum, and, more importantly, to keep up with the red-hot NY Mets. The Nats did just that tonight as their original, opening-day lineup exploded for eight runs in a 8-3 win over San Diego.
The Padres opened the scoring for the night in the top of the second where Stephen Strasburg gave up a lead-off single to Yonder Alonso and then Jedd Gyorko turned on a 97 mph fastball and cranked one into the visitor’s bullpen. Strasburg was able to recover nicely and struck out the next two and got Jankowski to foul out to end the inning and limit the damage.
The Nats wasted no time responding to the Padres. In the bottom of the second, Yunel Escobar led off with a sharply hit single to left. After two fly outs by Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, it looked like the Nationals might squander the lead-off hit, but Wilson Ramos roped a homer just over the wall near the foul pole in left to pull the Nats even. 2-2.
The Nationals didn’t wait long to tack on an extra run in the bottom of the third. Anthony Rendon singled to center to set the table for Bryce and Escobar. Bryce flew out, but Yunel picked him up with a lined shot down the left-field line, scoring Rendon all the way from first. The Nationals almost added another run after a Yangervis Solarte error put runners on the corner, but they got a bit unlucky as Desmond’s liner hit off Shields’ leg and went right to the second baseman for the final out.
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The Nats weren’t done as they continued to string together good at-bats and made James Shields work and broke through for another run in the bottom of the fifth. Bryce got the party started with a ringing double off the wall in right. Two batters later, Ian Desmond was able to pick him up with a good opposite-field single to make the score 4-2.
The Nationals broke it open in the bottom of the sixth as they finally knocked Shields out of the game and put up a four spot off a Zimmerman opposite-field grand slam against reliever Bud Norris to put the Nats up 8-2. This all happened with two outs as Rendon reached on an infield single that hit Shields again, which knocked him out of the game. Bryce walked after he was bailed out by a phantom foul call. Escobar followed with another walk and Zimmerman came through with the big-time, curtain calling home run.
Stephen Strasburg finished off his great night by going six innings, giving up two runs on two hits and the bullpen was able to come through to give Stras his eighth win of the season. The Padres tacked on a run off Casey Janssen in the seventh on another Gyorko homer. It wasn’t enough though as the Nats win the first game of the series against San Diego 8-3.
Next Game: The Washington Nationals (63-61) will play the second of their three-game set against the San Diego Padres (61-64) tomorrow afternoon at 7:05 PM ET. You can catch the game on MASN. Tyson Ross (8-9, 3.32 ERA) will get the start for the Padres against Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 3.98 ERA) for the Nats.