The Washington Nationals (43-25) scored at least three runs for the eighth consecutive game in a 7-5 victory over the Padres Tonight.
Win or lose, the Washington Nationals always manage to provide entertaining baseball.
Fortunately, the wins are coming much more often than losses lately.
The Nationals (43-25) scored at least three runs for the eighth consecutive game in a 7-5 victory. The maestro Daniel Murphy and familiar face Ryan Zimmerman led the offense; Murphy, now hitting .361, drove in three runs with a solo home run and double. Zimmerman, who recently made corrections to his swing and body movement at the plate, hit a two-run blast in the third inning that gave the Nats a 5-1 lead.
Joe Ross (5-4, 3.13 ERA) allowed three earned runs on six hits, his ninth outing out of the last 13 in which he’s allowed three or fewer runs. He exited after six innings (6 H, 2 BB, 6 K) and left a 7-3 lead for the bullpen. However, the offense was forced to still add insurance runs to its five after Oliver Perez and Blake Treinen allowed two total runs in the seventh inning that shrunk the lead to 7-5.
With interim closer Shawn Kelley taking a scheduled day off after closing yesterday, Sammy Solis and Yusemerio Petit held it down in eighth and ninth to secure the win.
Petit, whose last save came in a three-inning variety with the San Francisco Giants last year, closed in the traditional variety tonight after working out of a leadoff single.
“He’s like a swiss-army knife. We’ve been able to see him in both long relief and short situations,” Daniel Murphy said of Petit.
Ross, pitching against the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2011, surrendered a run in the first inning on a Matt Kemp single. John Jay crossed the plate to give San Diego a 1-0 advantage.
In the second inning, a Wilson Ramos single allowed Ryan Zimmerman to go from first to third and set up an Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly. That tied the game up at 1-1.
Then, in the top of the third, the Murphy double and Zimmerman home run extended the Nats’ lead to 5-1.
A John Jay single in the bottom of the fifth scored Alexi Ramirez, and the Padres continued threatening in that inning with runners on first and third and two outs. But Ross continued rolling and struck out Matt Kemp to keep the Nats’ lead at 5-2.
Murphy’s 12th home run of the season in the sixth extended the lead to 6-2. The Padres responded in the bottom of the inning with a Derek Norris solo blast and cut the lead to three.
A Michael Taylor bunt single and steal of second base set up a Bryce Harper RBI single in the seventh for a 7-3 lead. With Joe Ross already at 96 pitches and Dusty Baker intent on moderating his innings this year, the bullpen entered. Immediately, Oliver Perez allowed a walk and a double.
Blake Treinen took over with runners on second and third and no outs. A groundout and single brought home two for the Padres and cut the lead to 7-5. Interesting and tense baseball doesn’t leave the Nationals alone, even on a jet to the West Coast to begin a 10-game road trip.
After Solis and Petit took care of business, the Nats are now comfortably atop the NL East by six games over the Mets and 18 games over .500 at 43-25.
Next Game: The Nats will look to secure yet another series win tonight at 10:10 ET against the Padres. Max Scherzer (8-4, 3.40 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) will face Colin Rea (3-3, 5.37 ERA, 1.45 WHIP). You can catch the game on MASN2.