The Nationals traveled to San Diego to begin a four game set with the Padres and had perhaps their best road victory to date, winning 6-2.
Stephen Strasburg, pitching in his hometown for the first time in his career, also pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his career. He gave up just two runs, one earned, in eight innings, striking out four and walking three in 117 pitches.
The offense, freed from having to face Cy Young winners Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke back-to-back, broke out against the struggling Edison Volquez.
The game started slow as both teams were able to put men on-base in the first three innings, but could not bring them in.
The Nationals struck first in the fourth inning. After Ryan Zimmerman walked, Adam LaRoche blasted a pitch to right field for his fifth home run of the season, making it 2-0 Nats. The hit also extended LaRoche’s hitting streak to 13 games.
The Nationals’ offensive parade continued in the fifth inning. Singles by Kurt Suzuki, Denard Span, Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman extended the lead to 5-0. With Lomardozzi and Zimmerman picking up the RBIs.
Strasburg ran into his only real trouble of the night in the bottom of the fifth inning. With men on first and second and one out Strasburg induced a grounder to Ryan Zimmerman, but Zimmerman got under the ball on his throw to second and all the runners were safe. Eerily similar to what occurred in Strasburg’s last start against the Cubs.
In that game Strasburg struggled and gave up four runs. This time Strasburg remained calm and collected, even apparently signaling to Zimmerman that he would pick him up. Strasburg got Everth Cabrera to ground out, trading a run for an out, before striking out Will Venable to end the inning.
The Padres got to Strasburg for another run in the sixth on Chris Denorfia’s sacrifice fly scored Chase Headly. But that was it as Strasburg shut down the Padres for the rest of the night.
Bryce Harper tacked on an insurance run in the seventh inning when he hit a home run to dead center field. An impressive feat at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park and the ball traveled an announced distance of 431 feet.
Despite it not being a save situation, Rafael Soriano came out for the ninth inning. Soriano worked around a infield single by Jedd Gyorko to pitch and scoreless inning and secure the win for the Nationals.
The Nats look to continue their success tomorrow with Gio Gonzalez going up against the relatively unknown Burch Smith.