Back-to-back, two-out walks to Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman set red-hot Howie Kendrick up with an RBI opportunity early last night in Petco Park.
Kendrick who’s come up big for Washington on a regular basis since he was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies last month, sent a fly to right for the final out of a 36-pitch first inning by San Diego Padres’ lefty Travis Wood.
Wood retired eight straight after the first-inning walks, and 12 of 14 Nationals’ batters before Adrian Sanchez hit a two-out, RBI double in the fifth inning to drive in the only run Washington would score on the night.
“We hit some balls on the nose and just didn’t find the holes off Woody,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the Nationals’ 3-1 loss to the Padres.
“You can’t guide it, but he threw strikes and they made a couple fine defensive plays.”
Once the veteran southpaw got through the first, he got comfortable on the mound and held the Nats in check.
“That was big,” Baker said of the early missed opportunity.
“We had the right guys up there and guys that have come through all year, they can’t come through all the time.”
“I mean you want them to, but they just can’t and don’t, and yeah, we did — his pitch count — I don’t know, what did he have almost 30 pitches in that first?
“And then he settled down, he was throwing better in the middle innings than he was in the beginning.”
Stephen Strasburg, in his return from the DL, gave up two runs early, and the Nationals’ bullpen gave up one late.
This afternoon, the Nats try to get the offense going one more time as they go for the series win over the Padres, who are looking for a split at home.
HERE’S THE NATS’ LINEUP FOR THE FINALE WITH THE PADRES IN PETCO:
#Nats at #Padres 4 of 4: De Aza RF, Difo SS, Murphy 2B, Zimmerman 1B, Lind LF, Rendon 3B, Wieters C, Taylor CF, Gonzalez LHP— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) August 20, 2017