Washington Nationals Settle For Split In San Diego: 13-4 Padres In Series Finale With Nats

Denis Poroy

The Washington Nationals pulled within one on a fourth-inning home run by Ryan Zimmerman, but the San Diego Padres pulled away from there and took the series finale by a final score of 13-4. The Nats settled for a split of the four-game set in Petco Park and headed up to San Francisco for the next stop on their trip.

Sunny San Diego, California's spacious Petco Park was the setting for the series finale between the Padres and visiting Washington Nationals Sunday afternoon. Padres' right-hander Andrew Cashner, acquired from Chicago in the January 2012 trade that sent first baseman Anthony Rizzo to Cubs, was coming off back-to-back seven and a 1/3 inning starts in which he'd surrendered just nine hits and two runs, one earned while holding opposing hitters to a .184/.259/.306 line in wins over the Miami Marlins and Baltimore Orioles. The 26-year-old, '08 1st Round pick needed eight pitches to retire the Nats' batters in order in the top of the first today.

Padres' shortstop Everth Cabrera injured himself coming out of the box as he singled to center off Nationals' starter Dan Haren in the home-half of the frame, but he stayed in the game, stole his 16th base of the year and the 21st in 23 attempts against Nats' catcher Kurt Suzuki this season before an out was recorded. Haren got Will Venable swinging for out no.1 of the Padres' first, but a wild pitch to Chase Headley allowed Cabrera to advance to third with one down before Headley walked to set up the double play. Carlos Quentin didn't play into the pitcher's hands, however, doubling to left field instead to drive in the first run of the game. 1-0 Padres. 2-0 on a sac fly to right by Yonder Alonso. A two-out single by third brought Quentin in too to make it 3-0 before Dan Haren escaped the first. 27-pitch frame.

Adam LaRoche took a 1-2 fastball for a called strike three in his first AB of the game. Another 1-2 heater outside on the other side of the dish got Tyler Moore looking for out and K no.2 for Cashner and a pop to left by Roger Bernadina ended nine-pitch inning that had the Padres' starter at 17 total after two scoreless vs the Nats. Cashner bunted for a hit with one down in the San Diego second, beating a diving underhand throw by Ryan Zimmerman to first. Haren got fly ball outs from Everth Cabrera and Will Venable for outs two and three to finish a 13-pitch inning at 40 overall after two.

Danny Espinosa flew out to left for the first out of the third. Espinosa who started at short today, was 1 for 21 on the current road trip after the out, and he was the seventh-straight National set down by Cashner to start the game. Kurt Suzuki, who broke up Padres' starter Eric Stults' no-hit bid in the sixth Saturday night, got the Nats' first hit today with one down in the top of the third when he got a grounder through short for a one-out single. Dan Haren K'd trying to bunt for out no.2, and Denard Span grounded into a force at second to end the Nationals' third. The 16-pitch inning had Cashner at 33 after three scoreless. Haren started the bottom of the inning at 40 pitches. Chase Headley lined the 43rd pitch to right for a single, then stole second base one out later. [ed. note - "Update: Suzuki 2 caught stealing in 24 attempts."] A Yonder Alonso fly to center allowed Headley to take third, but after a two-out walk to Jedd Gyorko, Kyle Blanks K'd on a check-swing strike three to end the third. 19-pitch inning, 59 overall for Haren after three.

Steve Lombardozzi lined a first pitch change back at the mound and off Andrew Cashner's glove, then beat a nice throw by Chase Headley to first for a leadoff single. Ryan Zimmerman got the green light, but fouled a 3-0 pitch from Cashner off before launching the 3-1 offering (another change) to left for a long-gone bomb of a home run that made it a one-run game when it landed in the second deck. 3-2 Padres after Zimmerman's 3rd and his second this series. No doubter. Roger Bernadina walked with two down, taking the first free pass of the day from Cashner, and stole second successfully, but a popout to third by Danny Espinosa ended the Nats' fourth. 1 for 22 on the trip for the struggling Espinosa. Dan Haren's 61st pitch got a pop behind second from San Diego backstop Nick Hundley for the first out of the Padres' fourth. Andrew Casher flew out and Everth Cabrera struck out in the next two at bats, and Haren was at 72 overall after a 13-pitch frame.

Andrew Cashner retired the first two Nationals in the fifth, but Denard Span hit a slow chopper toward short and beat the throw to first from Everth Cabrera for a two-out hit. Span went first-to-third™ on a two-out single to right by Steve Lombardozzi, but a groundout to short by Ryan Zimmerman ended the top of the inning. Still 3-2 Padres. Make that 4-2. Will Venable got hold of 1-2 cutter from Dan Haren and hit a towering home run to the Petco Porch in right on the 77th pitch of the game by the Nats' right-hander. Two-run lead for San Diego. Two-outs later, Yonder Alonso doubled over short and to the left field wall for the Padres' sixth hit off Haren. Alonso scored on a two-out double to left by Jedd Gyorko. 5-2 Padres. And make that 7-2 after Kyle Blanks hit the second home run of the inning off the brick face of the second floor Western Metal Supply Co. building in left field. Two-run home run for Blanks, 7-2 Padres.

Will Venable tracked down a long fly to center off Tyler Moore's bat for the second out of the Nationals' sixth. Roger Bernadina lined a triple to right-center gap with two down, but he was stranded at third when Danny Espinosa K'd swinging on three straight fastballs to end the inning. [ed. note - "Espinosa Update: 1 for 23, 12 Ks on road trip."] 7-2 Padres after five and a half in Petco Park. Henry Rodriguez apparently forgot about the runner on first base, so Everth Cabrera, who grounded into a force but reached safely, stole second and then third, making Kurt Suzuki's CS% a little worse. (24 of 26 successful SBs vs Suzuki so far in 2013). Adam LaRoche threw Venable out at home, however, when Will Venable grounded sharply to first and the Nats' drawn-in infield in the next at bat. 25 of 27 SBs vs Suzuki after Venable swiped second and a wild pitch moved the runner to third before Chase Headley walked to put two on with two out, but a called strike three on Carlos Quentin ended San Diego's sixth. 7-2 Padres.

Andrew Cashner left the game after giving up a two-out single by Denard Span in the seventh. Steve Lombardozzi lined to left for a double off the new Padres' pitcher Tim Stauffer, moving Span around to third. Ryan Zimmerman stepped in with two on and two out, and lined to right to drive one run in and make it 7-3 San Diego. Adam LaRoche, who was 0 for 3 today, got another chance to extend his current hit streak to 16 games. The Padres brought lefty Joe Thatcher on to face LaRoche, and the Nats' first baseman lined to center for hits in 16-straight and an RBI single. 7-4 San Diego, but Tyler Moore grounded sharply to third to end the top of the seventh.

Yonder Alonso was 2 for 3 today after singling to start the Padres' seventh. Alonso moved to second on a balk before Ryan Mattheus walked Jedd Gyorko and then to third when Kyle Blanks took another free pass. A sac fly to left by Nick Hundley brought Alonso in to make it 8-4 San Diego. 9-4 on Alexi Amarista's line drive single to left. Everth Cabrera drove in two more with a line drive to center, 11-4 and a Will Venable double made it 12. 12-4 Padres after seven in San Diego.

RIght-hander Tyson Ross took over for San Diego in the eighth with a backwards K on a frustrated Roger Bernadina, who had a word with home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn after he'd K'd. Danny Espinosa's groundout left him 0 for 4 today and 1 for 24 w/ 12 Ks on the road trip. After Kurt Suzuki flew out to end the Nats' eighth, Yonder Alonso started the home-half of the frame with a solo home run to right off Drew Storen. 13-4 San Diego after eight. 13 runs, 15 hits. The Nationals settle for the split of the four-game set in Petco Park. Tyson Ross came back out for the ninth and walked the first batter he faced, Jhonatan Solano, but Denard Span grounded into his first double play of the year. And Steve Lombardozzi grounded to second to end it. Ballgame.

Padres win, 13-4 final.

Nationals now 23-21

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