The Nationals scored eight runs for the fourth time in six games and won 8-5 for the second straight day, this time against the visiting San Diego Padres. The runs came early and fast as the Nats batted around in the second inning to score five runs, before tacking on the last three in the third and fourth innings to secure the win.
Te five run second inning began with a Ryan Zimmerman single and ended with a hard line out to right by Ryan Zimmerman. In between the Nats collected three hits, two walks, a hit by pitch and a sac fly to score five runs, with contributions coming from everywhere in the lineup.
After the Zimmerman single, LaRoche lined out for the first out and then the trouble started for Padres starter Andrew Cashner. Jayson Werth worked a long at-bat before singling to put runners on the corner and an Anthony Rendon walk loaded them up for Wilson Ramos in his second game back from the DL.
After a five RBI game in his first game back yesterday, Ramos picked up where he left off poking a single into the 5.5 hole to Zimmerman and Werth. Gio Gonzalez was then hit in the chest while attempting a sac bunt to load the bases again.
Denard Span then broke out of an 0-11 funk with an RBI double to score Rendon and Ramos, only being held up because of Gonzalez running ahead of him. Ian Desmond followed that with a nine-pitch walk to load the bases for the third time in the inning. Bryce Harper then tacked on one more run with a sac fly to the warning track in center.
The Nats chased Cashner in the next inning after Adam LaRoche walked and Jayson Werth reached on an infield single. Cashner finished just two innings, giving up six runs on five hits and three walks with no strikeouts. But his removal did not stop the Nats from scoring another run when Wilson Ramos’ single to right scored Adam LaRoche.
The final two runs came in the fourth after an Ian Desmond double and Zimmerman walk led to RBIs from Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth. In just three innings the Nationals had one of their most complete offensive efforts.
On the defensive side of the ball starter Gio Gonzalez continued his streak of good starts going 6.2 innings allowing three runs on eight hits, five strikeouts and a walk. Gonzalez finished the game with 110 pitches, 30 coming in a difficult first inning that gave the Padres an early, albeit brief, lead on Chase Headley’s RBI double.
Headley got to Gonzalez again in the third inning when he hit a solo home run to make it a 5-2 game, but the Nationals’ answer in the bottom half of the inning was enough for Gonzalez as he got stronger as the game went on.
The Padres got back into the game in the seventh when Craig Stammen, relieving Gonzalez after the first two outs of the inning, gave up a three-run home run to Carlos Quentin. However, shutdown innings by Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano slammed the door on the Padres and earned the Nats their 44th win of the season.
The Nationals will look to build on their last two games tomorrow with ace and likely all-star Jordan Zimmermann facing off against former National Jason Marquis in an odd 4:05 game at Nationals Park.