Denard Span walked in an eight-pitch game-opening at bat against San Diego Padres' right-hander Edinson Volquez. After Steve Lombardozzi K'd looking in the next at bat, however, the Washington Nationals' leadoff man was forced out at second on a Bryce Harper grounder to short and then Harper was tagged out at second when an errant throw to first in an attempt to double the Nats' 20-year-old outfielder up got by first baseman Yonder Alonso, but bounced right back to him in more than enough time for him to throw Harper out. That was fun. Game on...
Even though they moved the walls in at Petco Park, neither of the fly balls hit by Everth Cabrera or Will Venable were deep enough to go out. Stephen Strasburg gave up a two-out single by Padres' third baseman Chase Headley on a 2-1 change, but the Nationals' starter got a groundout to second and some help from Steve Lombardozzi, whose spinning throw to first from the right field grass ended a scoreless 15-pitch frame. 0-0 in San Diego.
Ryan Zimmerman took the second leadoff walk of the game from Edinson Volquez, who's issued 20 walks (4.12 BB/9) over 43.2 IP so far this season. Volquez issued the third free pass of the game to Adam LaRoche in the next at bat, but got Ian Desmond swinging with a high 1-2 curve for the pitcher's second K and out no.1 of the Nationals' second. Roger Bernadina K'd swinging through a 2-2 fastball inside for out no.2 and K no.3 and Kurt Suzuki made it three-straight when he went down swinging through a 1-2 change for out no.3 and K no.4. 0-0 after one and a half in San Diego's Petco Park.
Stephen Strasburg missed with a 98 mph 1-2 fastball to Chris Denorfia, then dropped an unhittable 91 mph 2-2 change on the Padres' left fielder for a swinging strike three. The Nats' starter hit San Diego second baseman Jedd Gyorko with a 2-2 change that got away from him, but got a 6-3 DP out of Alexi Amarista, who hit a one-hop liner to Ian Desmond short to start an inning-ending 6-3 DP. 14-pitch inning for Strasburg, 29 overall. 0-0 in PETCO Park.
After he retired the opposing pitcher, Edinson Volquez got a foul tip strike three from Denard Span with a 2-2 fastball inside on Span's hands. K no.5. Steve Lombardozzi tested Padres' shortstop Everth Cabrera with a sharp grounder up the middle, but a rangy play and spinning throw ended a 15-pitch inning that had the San Diego starter at 50 overall after 3.0 scoreless. Stephen Strasburg walked Everth Cabrera with two down in the home-half of the third, but a weak grounder to first by Will Venable ended a 14-pitch inning that left the right-hander at 43 overall after 3.0 scoreless.
Bryce Harper K'd swinging through a 1-2 change from Edinson Volquez. Ryan Zimmerman walked for the second time tonight with one down in the fourth, and this time it cost the Padres' starter when Adam LaRoche crushed an 0-1 change and hit a two-run blast to right-center to give the Nationals a 2-0 lead. The home run was the Nats' first baseman's fifth and it extended his current hit streak to 13-straight games. Two quick outs later, Volquez was out of the fourth, but Strasburg had a 2-0 lead to work with. A 97 mph 1-2 fastball got a fly to right from Chase Headley. A 1-2 change got Yonder Alonso swinging. A weak groundout to first by Chris Denorfia had the Nationals' starter through four scoreless on 52 pitches after a nine-pitch frame.
Kurt Suzuki singled through the right side of the infield for the Nats' third leadoff runner in 5.0 IP against Edinson Volquez. Suzuki stole his second base of the year on a botched hit and run with Strasburg up. The Nats' starter K'd swinging on the next pitch. 7 Ks for Volquez. Denard Span singled to right to move Suzuki over to third with one down and he scored on a bloop single to short center Alexi Amarista probably should have caught. 3-0 Nationals when Suzuki scores. Span and Lombardozzi moved to second and third on a Bryce Harper groundout, and scored on a two-out, two-run single to center by Ryan Zimmerman to make it 5-0 Nationals after four and a half. Zimmerman was 1 for 1 with 2 walks after the hit.
Jedd Gyorko turned a fastball inside around and drove it by third for a leadoff double in the Padres' fifth. Stephen Strasburg missed with a full-count heater to Alexi Amarista, issuing his second walk of the night to San Diego's center fielder and putting two runners on with no one out. Strasburg got a fly to center by Nick Hundley for out no.1. Pinch hitter Kyle Blanks hit a sharp grounder to third that Ryan Zimmerman snagged, but a high throw to second pulled Steve Lombardozzi off the bag and loaded the bases with one down. A groundout to first by Everth Cabrera drove in San Diego's first run, but a swinging K by Will Venable on a brutal 0-2 change left two runners on with the Nats still up by four. 5-1 Washington after five. 25-pitch inning, 77 overall for Stephen Strasburg.
Padres' right-hander Tyson Ross took over for Volquez in the sixth and completed a scoreless inning of relief work when Stephen Strasburg flew to right after a two-out walk by Kurt Suzuki. Chase Headley was 2 for 3 tonight after a leadoff double to left off Strasburg in the bottom of the sixth. Headley moved to third on a Yonder Alonso groundout and scored to make it a three-run game on a sac fly to right by Chris Denorfia. Strasburg got a ground ball to short from Jedd Gyorko to end the sixth after 12 pitches with the right-hander at 89 overall.
Bryce Harper got a hanging a•• first-pitch slider from Tyson Ross on the first pitch of his two-out seventh inning at bat and the Nats' 20-year-old outfielder hit it an estimated 431ft+ to straight center for his 11th HR of 2013 and 6-2 Nationals' lead after the top of the frame.
• Harper HR no.11 (estimated at 431 ft):
Stephen Strasburg was at 96 pitches overall after Alexi Amarista grounded to second to end a seven-pitch at bat. Todd Hundley rolled one out to short. Grounder. Desmond. Out. on Strasburg's 99th pitch. Jesus Guzman worked the count full in a two-out pinch hit AB, and pushed Strasburg up to 107 before grounding out to second to end the seventh.
Padres right-hander Brad Brach retired the Nationals in order in the eighth.
Stephen Strasburg recorded his first career out in the eighth inning when Everth Cabrera popped out to short. Will Venable grounded to second on Strasburg's 111th pitch. Strasburg fell behind Chase Headley 3-0 and issued a two-out walk on his 116th pitch, but Yonder Alonso grounded out to second on no.117. 8.0 strong for Stasburg.
• Strasburg's line: 8.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 117 P, 68 S. 13/5 GO/FO.
Brad Brach came back out for the ninth and surrendered a one-out single by Chad Tracy, but a strike'em out, throw'em out double play ended the Nationals' half of the inning. Rafael Soriano came on in a non-save situation in the bottom of the inning, and gave up a one-out single before shutting the door. Ballgame. 6-2 Nationals over the Padres in Petco Park.
Nationals win, 6-2 final.
Nationals now 22-19