For the first time since July 23rd, Stephen Strasburg was on the mound tonight for the Washington Nationals, and he put together a solid start, going six innings total, giving up four hits, a walk, and two earned runs in what ended up a 3-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Yangervis Solarte took Strasburg deep in the first for a two-out, two-run homer that accounted for the only runs the Nationals’ starter gave up, but the 2009 No. 1 Draft pick retired 15 of the next 17 batters he faced before he was done for the night with 91 pitches and eight Ks overall.
Sammy Solis struggled to throw strikes after taking over on the mound, giving up two walks and a single in a 13-pitch, two-strike outing that ended with the bases loaded.
Matt Albers came on and got a double play, but a run scored that put the Padres up 3-1 after seven.
Adrian Sanchez drove in the Nationals’ only run with an RBI double in the fifth, but the makeshift lineup Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker was forced to field didn’t generate much in the way of offense.
Nationals now 73-48
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Anthony Rendon (13 pitches) and Ryan Zimmerman (8) took back-to-back, two-out walks in the top of the first inning tonight, and though both were stranded, Padres’ left-hander Travis Wood had to throw 36 pitches in opening frame, and there was action in San Diego’s bullpen in the first.
Strike.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 20, 2017
• Stephen Strasburg, in his return from the Disabled List, was sitting 96-97 mph with his fastball early tonight in Petco Park, but he gave up back-to-back, two-out hits on the pitch, with Jose Pirela singling to center in front of Yangervis Solarte, who hit a 96 mph 1-2 heater out to right for a two-run home run, and a 2-0 Padres’ lead.
Catch a glimpse of this Solar-te eclipse pic.twitter.com/CD9L9TDlAl— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 20, 2017
• Strasburg retired 10-straight batters after Solarte’s home run, striking out five of the 10 to get through four innings on 54 pitches, with five Ks. Strasburg bunted his way on after Jose Lobaton’s one-out single in the fifth, reaching on an errant throw by Padres’ lefty Travis Wood, and Lobaton scored on a two-out RBI double by Adrian Sanchez that made it a 2-1 game.
• Strasburg’s streak of retired batters ended on a dribbler toward first that Strasburg hesitated to field, allowing Cory Spangenberg to reach safely ahead of a tag attempt by Ryan Zimmerman, but the runner was stranded there three outs later as Stras got three straight Ks for eight total on the night. 13 of 14 set down after Solarte’s homer.
• Manuel Margot took the first walk of the night from Strasburg in the first at bat of the Padres’ sixth, but a force at second on a Carlos Asuaje grounder, picked off runner, and a weak grounder ended an 18-pitch frame that left the Nationals’ starter at 91 pitches in six innings pitched.
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 91 P, 61 S, 4/2 GO/FO.
• Sammy Solis took over for the Nationals in the seventh, and gave up a leadoff walk and a single to center to first two batters he faced, Wil Myers and Cory Spangenberg, then he issued a four-pitch walk to Jabari Bash, loading the bases with no one out. 13 pitches for Solis, 11 balls, two strikes.
• Matt Albers took over against Austin Hedges and got a 4-6-3 DP out of the catcher, but a run scored to make it 3-1 Padres after seven.
• Travis Wood’s Line: 7.0 IP. 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks, 101 P, 69 S, 6/9 GO/FO.
• Padres’ righty Kirby Yates struck out the side in the Nats’ eighth. Shawn Kelley struck out two in a quick, 1-2-3 bottom of the inning.
• Brad Hand came on for the save opportunity and retired the side in order. Ballgame.
Final Score: 3-1 Padres.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- With wins in the first two games of Washington’s four-game set in Petco Park, the Nationals started the night 38-43 against the Padres in the all-times series between the two team (2005-present), and the Nats are now 24-14 against the Padres since 2012.
- Washington’s 38-22 record on the road this season is the second-best mark in the National League and the third-best in the majors so far in 2017.
- Howie Kendrick was 20 for 56 (.357) since joining the Nationals on July 28th heading into tonight’s game.
- Washington’s starters had put up a 2.08 ERA in the last nine games and 56 1⁄3 IP before tonight, leading the majors with the lowest ERA over that stretch.
- Washington’s offense starts the night leading the NL in SLG (.468), runs scored (642), and extra-base hits (434), and Nationals’ hitters, as a group, were ranked second in AVG (.273), and OBP (.338).
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment: Wilmer Difo is hitting .339 with two doubles, two triples, three home runs, 15 walks, five stole bases, and 23 runs scored... since July 1st.
- Stephen Strasburg started the night (6-1) with a 2.93 ERA in eight career starts against the Padres.
Nationals now 73-48