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Joe Ross falters; Washington Nationals fall, 5-3 to San Diego Padres

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The Washington Nationals wrapped up their series with the San Diego Padres with a disappointing offensive performance — albeit with four starters on the bench.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After taking the first two games of the series in dominant fashion, the Washington Nationals failed to sweep the San Diego Padres, losing 5-3 on Sunday.

A one-hour, 23-minute rain delay postponed first pitch, which may have been the cause for both starters getting off to shaky starts in the early innings.

Joe Ross only managed four innings, allowing all five of the Padres’ runs including a two-run home run to Ryan Schimpf in the first.

With Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, Jayson Werth and Matt Wieters all on the bench for rest, several bench players were able to make key contributions for the Nationals.

Adam Lind finished the game with two RBIs and both Brian Goodwin and Wilmer Difo had two hits each.

Jacob Turner, Blake Treinen and Enny Romero combined for five innings of scoreless relief, but the offense was unable to put together a big enough rally to erase the deficit.

The Nats finished the game 1-11 with runners in scoring position, stranding nine baserunners.

Washington now 30-19.

Here’s how it happened:

Joe Ross took the mound for the Nats on Sunday looking to build off his impressive first start since returning from his stint at AAA-Syracuse to work on his mechanics. He needed just seven pitches to get the first two outs in the top of the first, but first baseman Wil Myers worked out a two-out walk and scored when Ryan Schimpf took Ross deep to right for a two-run homer.

The Nats’ offense, which has scored a major-league record 62 runs in the four games Ross has started this season, got the line moving early in the bottom half of the inning when Trea Turner hit a leadoff single up the middle and Brian Goodwin doubled off the wall in left. Padres’ starter Jhoulys Chacin then walked Anthony Rendon and the bases were loaded with nobody out.

Ryan Zimmerman struck out looking for the first out. That brought up left fielder(!) Adam Lind, who hit a sharp grounder to Myers. The first baseman flipped the ball over to shortstop Chase d’Arnaud at second, but he wasn’t able to get the ball back to first in time to get the double play. Turner scored from third on the play, but that was all the Nats could manage as Michael Taylor struck out to end the inning.

San Diego scored more runs in the first inning than it did in the first two games of the series combined, but the Padres continued swinging hot bats in the second.

d’Arnaud hit a leadoff double over the head of Taylor then moved to third on a Luis Torrens groundout. Chacin then helped his own cause with a single to left that scored d’Arnaud and made it a 3-1 game.

Undaunted by the Padres’ response, the Nats came right back at them in the next frame. Wilmer Difo hit a one-out single and moved to second an out later when Turner smacked a single of his own. Goodwin joined the party with a single to center that was deep enough for Difo to score from second and bring the Nats back to within a run, 3-2.

Neither team has able to push another run across until the fifth. Ross entered the inning with just 78 pitches, but he gave up a three straight hits to force the Nats to go to the bullpen. Hunter Renfroe led off with a single. The Padres would then get two runners in scoring position when Franchy Cordero, who picked up his first career hit earlier in the game, doubled to right. d’Arnaud then brought them both around to score with a single, ending Ross’s afternoon.

Joe Ross’s Line: 4.0 IP, 12 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 85 P, 61 S, 4/3 GO/FO

Jacob Turner got the call to relieve Ross, and he got the Nationals through the sixth without allowing any further damage.

In the bottom of the fifth, Zimmerman snuck a one-out single through the left side of the infield. Lind then doubled to right, scoring Zimmerman and knocking Chacin out of the game. Kirby Yates would come in to end the threat, and he too would send the game into the seventh inning without giving up another run.

Jhoulys Chacin’s Line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 84 P, 51 S, 5/1 GO/FO

Nats interim manager Chris Speier, who’s handling dugout duties while Dusty Baker attends his son’s high school graduation, elected to send Blake Treinen out for the top of the seventh. He worked an efficient 1-2-3 inning, producing three groundball outs.

Rendon drew a one-out walk off reliever Ryan Buchter in the second. With Zimmerman at the plate, Buchter attempted to throw over to first but was called for a balk. Rendon then made it to third when Zimmerman hit a groundball that d’Arnaud had to make a diving stop for, forcing the shortstop to throw Zimmerman out from his knee. Lind walked to put runners on the corners, but Taylor struck out swinging on a high fastball to end the threat.

Treinen was sent back out for the eighth, giving up a one-out infield single but otherwise keeping San Diego off the basepaths. On the final out, Yangervis Solarte hit a comebacker that bounced off Treinen’s foot and hit him in the bottom of the chin. He recovered in time to throw Solarte out at first, but was clearly shaken up by the play and walked straight into the clubhouse.

Bran Hand pitched the bottom of the eighth for the Padres, handling the Nats in 1-2-3 fashion. Washington ended the inning 0 for its last 11 with two walks since San Diego’s bullpen took over.

For the top of the ninth, a well-rested Enny Romero took the mound and starting pumping triple digits almost immediately. He struck out both Myers and Schimpf, then walked Renfroe. Romero caught him running before completing his delivery, but Zimmerman threw the ball into left field and Renfroe made it all the way over to third. Romero was able to get out of it, however, striking out Cordero to give the top of the Nats’ lineup one last chance down by two.

Closer Brandon Maurer was tasked with getting the last three outs for the Padres. He got Turner to fly out to center for the first out. Daniel Murphy, who had yet to play in the series due to a sickness, pinch hit for Goodwin. Murphy battled but eventually lined out to center for the second out. Rendon then grounded out to end the game and give the Nats a 4-2 record on their homestand.

Nationals now 30-19