Washington Nationals Drop 5th-Straight, 4-1 To San Diego Padres. Clayton Richard = Balker.

Nationals Drop 5th-Straight, 4-1 to Padres. 

Who here thinks Clayton Richard's pickoff move is a balk? MASN announcer Rob Dibble got out his MLB Rule Book last night to argue his point, and I'm pretty sure Elijah Dukes thinks it was a balk that resulted in his getting picked off first late in Tuesday's loss, but while you're asking Dukes about that, ask him where he was going when the Padres' starter picked him off first following a one-out walk in the seventh with the Nationals trailing 2-0 to San Diego. As luck would have it, one pitch after Dukes was caught leaning, Josh Bard ripped into a hanging slider and launched his 4th HR of '09 to left field for a solo shot that should have tied it. Instead, it's a 2-1 Padres' lead. DC starter J.D. Martin, who'd allowed just 2 runs, 1 earned through six, comes back out for the seventh after the Bard blast and throws a first-pitch slider to pinch hitter Oscar Salazar that goes out to left and just over the scoreboard Salazar collided with last night while robbing Willie Harris of extra bases. Salazar's HR makes it 3-1 Padres, and San Diego adds another run in the eighth when Washington right-hander Tyler Clippard gives up two two-out walks and an RBI single to Drew Macias to make it 4-1 Padres after eight and nine. 

The Nationals lose their fifth straight, seventh of their last eight, and they're now 3-12 in their last 15...

Padres win, 4-1 final. 

Miss The Game? The DC Faithful Were Watching?

Check Out The SB Nation's San Diego Padres Blog: Gaslamp Ball GameThread. (No one's watching the Padres either).

BACKPAGE:

• J.D. Martin Gets The DC Starter Treatment.

• E: 118.

• Hammer, Dunn, Horrible.

For The Completists, Full Game Report After The JUMP...

Nationals now 46-87. (Countdown To 100 Losses Stands At...13)

BACKPAGE:

• J.D. Martin Gets The DC Starter Treatment.

J.D Martin throws 104 pitches, 63 strikes to 27 batters, who ground out 7 times, fly out 6 times, strike out 5 times and collect 5 hits, 3 walks and 2 ER off Martin over 6.0 innings on the mound...Padres' lefty Clayton Richard, (W, 8-4), one of four pitchers San Diego got back in the Jake Peavy trade, tosses 96 pitches, 63 for strikes, and holds the Nationals off the board until Josh Bard's 7th-inning HR. That's the only run Richard allows, as he completes 6.2 IP, and surrenders just 4 hits through sixth, and, as mentioned, one in the seventh. 

• E: 118.

The Padres scored a run in the second when Kevin Kouzmanoff and Will Venable connected on back-to-back hits off the Nationals' starter. Martin held San Diego to one run through the fourth, but the bottom of the fifth started with Everth Cabrera dropping a bunt in front of the mound. J.D. Martin got to the ball but bobbled it and couldn't even get off a throw to first. That's Martin's 3rd error of '09 and the Nationals' league-leading 118th. OUTCOME: Everth Cabrera scores two batters later on a sac fly by Kouzmanoff. E = Winning run.

• Hammer, Dunn, Horrible.

Let's just say, Adam Dunn, 0 for 3 with a walk and a K. Josh Willingham? 0 for 4, with 4, count'em, 4 K's. Justin Maxwell's 0 for 3 with a walk in his return to the major league lineup. Ryan Zimmerman (1 for 4) has 1 of the Nationals' 4 hits, Elijah Dukes (1 for 3, 1 BB), Alberto Gonzalez, (1 for 4), and, of course, Josh Bard (1 for 3, 1 HR) have the others. The Nationals have just 3 runs combined in their last 3 games, 2-1, 3-1 and 4-1 losses...Who's going to finally get the offense started again?

GAME REPORT:

Washington Nationals At San Diego Padres Game 133 Of 162. 

Justin Maxwell leads off with a fly ball to San Diego right fielder Will Venable for the first out of the game. Alberto Gonzalez lines one off the pitcher’s backside and right to the second baseman David Eckstein. DC Hitting Coach Rick Eckstein’s brother catches the third out off Ryan Zimmerman’s bat and Clayton Richard has one scoreless...Everth Cabrera grounds out to Pete Orr at second. J.D. Martin throws a high two-strike fastball by David Eckstein. Adrian Gonzalez grounds out to second.

Adam Dunn grounds into the dramatic shift. Clayton Richard throws a fastball by Josh Willingham for a swinging K. Elijah Dukes grounds to short, slow over the grass, and Everth Cabrera rushes and throws it over first. Dukes takes second. Josh Bard ends the second with a groundout to short...Kevin Kouzmanoff bounces a long fly off the center field wall, and has to step on it to make it to second ahead of Maxwell’s throw. Will Venable lines a single to right to score Kouzmanoff, and Venable takes second on Elijah Dukes’ errant throw. 1-0 San Diego. Chase Hundley grounds out to move Venable to third. Nick Hundley goes down swinging at a full count slider. J.D. Martin walks Tony Gwynn, Jr. and gets a weak grounder from the opposing pitcher to end the second. 

Clayton Richard breaks Pete Orr’s bat in half and gets a weak grounder to the mound. J.D. Martin K’s swinging. Justin Maxwell grounds sharply to second to end a quick third...Everth Cabrera gets a two-strike curve for a swinging strike three. David Eckstein grounds out to Adam Dunn. Two-out walk to Adrian Gonzalez, to bring up Kouzmanoff. Kouzmanoff flies to right on a full-count fastball, 1-0 Padres after three. 

Alberto Gonzalez lines to short, Everth Cabrera drops it, but picks up and throws to first in time. Ryan Zimmerman doubles to right center and off the wall. Adam Dunn takes a one-out walk. Josh Willingham lifts his arms like he’s Kearns as he takes strike three on a fastball inside. Elijah Dukes grounds into a force at second...Will Venable gets the big bender from J.D. Martin for strike three swinging. Chase Hundley K’s swinging through a high fastball. Ryan Zimmerman makes a diving play to his backhand, but Hundley’s safe at first when Zim can’t come up with it for the throw to first.. Martin walks Tony Gwynn, Jr. with two down. Martin gets the pitcher again.

Josh Bard and Pete Orr strike out swinging and Clayton Richard gets a groundout from J.D. Martin to end his fifth scoreless...J.D. Martin fumbles the bunt from Everth Cabrera and the Padres have a leadoff runner on. Eckstein bunts his way on too, after J.D. Martin blows another. Adam Dunn makes a diving play on a grounder from Adrian Gonzalez. Kevin Kouzmanoff flies out to right to score Cabrera from third. 2-0 Padres. Willingham breaks for the corner and catches the third out off Will Venable’s bat. 

Justin Maxwell flies out to center to start the sixth. Alberto Gonzalez lines to left field for a one-out single. Will Venable makes a diving catch to rob Ryan Zimmerman and he almost doubles up Alberto Gonzalez off first. Adam Dunn grounds weakly to second to end the top of the sixth...J.D. Martin vs Chase Headley. Justin Maxwell hustles to get in under a fly ball to center, one down. Nick Hundley flies out to center, and Tony Gwynn, Jr. just a little more to the right, Maxwell gets to them all. 

Clayton Richard busts Josh Willingham inside with a two-strike curve. Elijah Dukes uses his Discernning Eye to draw a one-out walk. Josh Bard’s up, and Dukes gets picked on a balk. Seriously, it was a balk. Josh Bard destroys a low fastball, deeeep to left and GONE!! Solo HR, 2-1 Padres. Willie Harris gets a pinch hit appearance against Adam Russell. Harris lines out to right to end the top of the seventh...Oscar Salazar hits a solo shot to left and over the scoreboard wall. 3-1 Padres. Sean Burnett comes on for J.D. Martin. Everth Cabrera K’s swinging. David Eckstein tests Burnett’s glove with a liner to the mound. Burnett walks Adrian Gonzalez. Jason Bergmann comes on to face Kouzmanoff, who lines out to end the seventh.

Cristian Guzman hits against Luke Gregorson in the eighth. Guzman grounds out. Justin Maxwell walks and takes second on a groundout by Alberto Gonzalez. Ryan Zimmerman shoots a line drive to center and Tony Gwynn, Jr. robs him with a sliding catch to end DC’s eighth...Tyler Clippard vs Will Venable. Venable K’s when he can’t hold up. Chase Headley chases strike three out of the zone. Nick Hundley takes a two-out walk. Tony Gwynn, Jr. walks and Drew Macias doubles in a run 4-1 Padres. Everth Cabrera flies out to end the eighth.

Heath Bell vs Dunn, Hammer and Dukes in the ninth. Adam Dunn K’s swinging through a fastball outside. Heath Bell drops a full-count curve on Josh Wiilingham to get a backwards K. Elijah Dukes grounds out to third, Kouzmanoff’s throw ends it....

Nationals now 46-87.

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