San Diego starter Burch Smith popped Denard Span up, then threw an 0-2 fastball by Steve Lombardozzi for the first two outs of the Washington Nationals' first. Game on. Bryce Harper took a 3-2 fastball low and away for ball four and a two-out walk, bringing Ryan Zimmerman up with a man on, but a pop to shortstop Everth Cabrera behind third base ended a 14-pitch frame by the Padres' 23-year-old 2011 14th Round pick in the second game of four for the Nats in Petco Park.
Nats' lefty Gio Gonzalez gave up a one-out walk to Everth Cabrera in the bottom of the inning. One out later, with Jesus Guzman up, Cabrera stole second. Gonzalez walked Guzman to bring Kyle Blanks up with two on and two down, and a line drive to right scored the Padres' first run and the second was gifted to San Diego by Bryce Harper, whose throw to third got by Ryan Zimmerman and bounced into the stands. Cabrera scored on the hit, Guzman on the E. Two walks, a two-base error and two runs, 2-0 Padres after one.
Adam LaRoche K'd swinging over an ankle-high heater for out no.1 of the Nationals' second. A 95 mph 0-2 fastball up high outside got Ian Desmond swinging for out and K no.2 for the Padres' starter. A 1-2 fastball inside tied Danny Espinosa up and his defensive check swing was called strike three. 14-pitch second for Burch Smith, 2-0 San Diego. Gio Gonzalez was up to 42 pitches overall, after a 25-pitch first, when he walked the opposing pitcher with two down in the Padres' second. Chris Denorfia, who entered tonight's game with .310/.370/.548 line in 46 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers, singled to center for a two-out hit, but a fly to right by Everth Cabrera ended a 21-pitch frame with Gio Gonzalez at 46 overall after two.
Kurt Suzuki singled to start the third with the Nationals' first hit off Burch Smith, but the rookie right-hander retired the next three batters in order in a 12-pitch inning that had him at 40 pitches overall after three. Gio Gonzalez's 58th pitch went all the way to the warning track in center field off Padres' slugger Kyle Blanks' bat, but Denard Span caught the third out of the home-half of the third inning with his back against the center field wall to end a 12-pitch 1-2-3 inning by the Nationals' starter.
20-year-old Nats' outfielder Bryce Harper lined to right for a leadoff single off Burch Smith in the top of the fourth. Ryan Zimmerman lined to left for the second straight single on an 0-2 fastball that got far too much plate. Adam LaRoche stepped in looking to extend his 13-game hit streak, and the 0-1 heater he got a hold of did just that. LaRoche sent a towering blast out to right-center and over the sand/litter box in Petco Park for a three-run home run and hits in 14-straight. Three straight games with home runs for LaRoche. 3-2 Nationals.
Given a lead to work with, Gio Gonzalez responded with a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the fourth, after which he'd retired seven-straight Padres. 3-2 D.C. 68 pitches on the night for Gonzalez.
Burch Smith threw a 10-pitch fifth, after which he was at 75 overall. The two Ks he added gave him eight in five innings of work. The Padres' pitcher K'd swinging on Gio Gonzalez's 73rd pitch. Chris Denorfia's fly to right made it nine-in-a-row retired by the Nats' starter. Everth Cabrera broke that streak up with a two-out bunt, however, and Gonzalez's attempt to glove-flip the ball to first resulted in an error that put Cabrera on second. E:1. The Nationals' second, but a swinging K from Chase Headley ended the fifth with the Nationals' starter at 83 overall. 15-pitch frame. 4 Ks.
Bryce Harper grounded sharply to second to start the sixth. Ryan Zimmerma-- THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!! THE KIDS CALL HIM ZIM!!! Opposite field blast. 4-2 Nationals. Zimmerman's second home run of 2013 was followed by Adam LaRoche's seventh as the Nats' first baseman hit his second home run of the night to make it 5-2 Nats. Burch Smith was done. Tim Stauffer took over with the Padres down by three and walked Ian Desmond before striking out Danny Espinosa and Kurt Suzuki to end the top of the sixth.
Jesus Guzman sent a chopper to short in the first AB of the Padres' half of the inning, and Desmond threw a one-hopper to first that Adam LaRoche scooped. Ryan Zimmerman charged a Kyle Blanks grounder and threw to first four out no.2, but Jedd Gyorko made it a two-run game with one swing of the bat, homering to right to make it 5-3 DC. Will Venable lined to right for a two-out single that pushed Gio Gonzalez up to 96 pitches overall, but his 98th pitch got a groundout to third for out no.3 of the Padres' sixth.
Tim Stauffer retired the Nationals in order in the top of the seventh. Chris Denorfia singled off Gio Gonzalez with one down in the Padres' seventh, then stole second with Everth Cabrera at the plate. Cabrera popped out to Adam LaRoche in foul territory for out no.2, but a HBP on Chase Headley ended Gonzalez's night. Tyler Clippard came on to face Jesus Guzman with two on and two out and popped him up to end the seventh. Still 5-3 Nats.
Padres' right-hander Dale Thayer took over in the eighth and retired Harper, Zimmerman and LaRoche in order on 18 pitches, nine of them to Zim. Tyler Clippard walked Kyle Blanks to start the Padres' eighth. Jedd Gyorko flew to right for out no.1. Will Venable chased an 0-2 fastball up out of the zone. Pinch hitter Mark Kotsay flew out to left. 5-3 Nationals after eight.
Right-hander Anthony Bass started the ninth for San Diego by popping Ian Desmond up over the plate. Danny Espinosa was 1 for 17 with 9 Ks on the current road trip after striking out for the third time in four at bats tonight. Kurt Suzuki's swinging K ended the top of the frame. "Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano came out looking for save no.13 of 2013. Alexi Amarista flew out to right. ONE! Chris Denorfia grounded to third, and Ryan Zimmerman's throw pulled Adam LaRoche off the bag. Everth Cabrera flew to Denard Span in center for out no.2. TWO!! Chase Headley? Singled to right to drive in a run. 5-4 Nationals. Yonder Alonso stepped in as the winning run, and singled to right to send Headley around to third. First and third, two outs. Kyle Blanks? Single to right. 5-5 game. Winning run on second. RBI single. Tie game. 5-5 after nine when Soriano escapes the ninth.
Padres' reliever Huston Street retired the first two batters in the Nationals' tenth before Chad Tracy hit a solo home run to right and... into the Petco Porch! Solo blast! 6-5 Nationals. Drew Storen came on in the bottom of the inning, looking for the save. Will Venable flew to left. ONE!! John Baker reached on an infield single that bounced off Storen's bare hand on the mound. Alexi Amarista singled to right in the next at bat, sending Baker around to third, and putting the tying run 60 feet from home. Chris Denorfia took a front door 2-1 bender that fell in for a strike, and K'd swinging at a 2-2 two-seamer that dropped under his bat. TWO!!! Everth Cabrera chased a filthy 1-1 change and grounded to third on a 1-2 pitch. Ryan Zimmerman bobbled it... but made the play and throw. Ballgame!
Nationals win, 6-5 final.
Nationals now 23-19