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Failure to sweep: Nationals drop finale to Padres, 3-1, take 2 of 3 in series in D.C.

Erick Fedde impressed in his first start of the 2018 campaign, but the San Diego Padres avoided a sweep with a 3-1 win over Washington in the series finale in Nationals Park.

San Diego Padres v Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Erick Fedde returned to the majors to make his four career start this afternoon in the series finale with the San Diego Padres, with the doubleheader in D.C. this past Saturday forcing Washington’s Nationals to either throw one of their starters (Tanner Roark) on short rest or dip down into their minor league system, which they did.

Fedde impressed, giving up three earned runs on five hits in 5 23 IP over which he struck out six, but a two-out RBI single by the Padres’ No. 8 hitter Manuel Margot (with a runner on second and the pitcher on deck) and a two-out, two-run line drive to right field by Christian Villanueva (that Bryce Harper got a glove on but didn’t catch), gave San Diego all the runs they needed to take the series finale and avoid a sweep, 3-1 final, with a solid start by Tyson Ross (6 23 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 9 Ks) and impressive work from the Friars’ bullpen.

Fedde Good: Davey Martinez watched Erick Fedde from the opposing dugout when the right-hander started against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field last summer, but he got a better look at the 25-year-old in Spring Training this year, and liked what he saw from the top pitching prospect in the Washington Nationals’ organization.

“He’s got really good stuff and he’s just really trying to figure things out. It’s good to see,” the first-year skipper said.

“Working with [Pitching coach Derek] Lilliquist, he’s going to change little things with his grip and stuff like that, but he’s excited to get going and he’s 100% healthy.”

Fedde’s 2017 campaign ended when he was diagnosed with a flexor mass strain in his right forearm, but he reported to West Palm Beach, Florida at full strength earlier this year.

In eight outings at Triple-A Syracuse before today, Fedde was (1-1) with a 4.35 ERA, a 3.23 FIP, 13 walks (2.83 BB/9), 42 Ks (9.15 K/9), and a .280 BAA in 41 13 innings.

Fedde was working quickly early in his return to the mound in the majors, with a mid-90s fastball, changeup (88-90) and slider (88-ish) that got him three of his five strikeouts over three scoreless to start the series finale with San Diego.

Fedde picked up his sixth strikeout from 13 batters in a 1-2-3 fourth, setting 10 of 11 batters down going back to Eric Hosmer’s one-out single in the first inning, which was the Padres’ only hit through four scoreless.

Freddy Galvis hit a one-out double to the out-of-town scoreboard in right with one down in the Padres’ fifth, connecting for the first extra-base hit of the game off Fedde, and one out later, Manuel Margot sent an RBI single through the right side of the infield for the first run of the game for either side, 1-0 San Diego.

Bryce Harper made a diving catch in the right-center field gap to rob the opposing pitcher, Tyson Ross, of a two-out RBI hit for out No. 3 of Fedde’s fifth.

Eric Hosmer (2 for 3) singled with one out in the top of the sixth, and Fedde issued his first walk of the game to Franchy Cordero with two out, and both runners scored on a hard-hit ball to right that Harper couldn’t catch in spite of a sprinting effort, 3-0 Padres. That was it for Fedde.

Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 Ks, 94 P, 57 S, 4/2 GO/FO.

Let’s play 2-run error or 2-run double?: Bryce Harper fouled a pitch off his left knee early in today’s game, and didn’t look entirely comfortable maneuvering around the outfield though he made a diving catch in the right-center gap to end the fifth (and banged the same knee as he dove). Reason for concern? Harper was able to sprint toward the right field corner on Christian Villanueva’s two-out liner in the sixth, and he got a glove on it ... but couldn’t quite make the catch. Two runs scored on the play. Harper was charged with a two-run error...

Was that the right call by the official scorer? It was ruled an error at first, then changed to a two-run double. Your thoughts?:

Did what you saw from Harper overall after the foul off his leg have you concerned? Are you concerned about defensive metrics not loving Harp so far this season?

Also... is this Tim Bogar’s impersonation of a Marlin? Dolphin? Just some plain old fish?

Tyson Ross Round Two: Joe Ross’s big brother held the Nationals to one run on two hits in five innings when he faced them in Petco Park earlier this month, but his outing got ugly in the sixth, when he gave up four hits, a walk, and four earned runs in what ended up an 8-5 loss for the Padres.

In two starts since, the 31-year-old right-hander has given up eight hits, six walks, and three earned runs in 12 innings, holding opposing hitters to a combined .186/.314/.256 line, which left him (3-3) in nine starts overall this season, over which he’s put up a 3.35 ERA, a 3.44 FIP, 22 walks (3.69 BB/9), 55 Ks (9.22 K/9), and a .209/.296/.320 line against in 53 23 IP.

Ross’s slider was sharp early this afternoon as he worked around a one-out hit in the second for two scoreless frames. He held the Nationals to three hits over five scoreless as the Friars took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Manuel Margot in the fifth, striking out eight of 19 batters faced.

A 1-2-3 sixth left him at 99 pitches overall, but he gave up a solo shot by Matt Adams in the first at bat of the seventh, surrendering the third hit of the game by the big, slugging first baseman, who hit his 11th of 2018 out to right on a 2-2 slider that got the Nats on the board.

A two-out single by Andrew Stevenson ended Ross’s outing...

Tyson Ross’s Line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 110 P, 74 S, 4/4 GO/FO.

Big City Doing Big City Things vs Ross: Matt Adams started the afternoon in the nation’s capital 5 for 9 with a .556/.600/1.000 with a double and a home run off Tyson Ross in the two veterans’ respective careers, but just 1 for 12 with four Ks on the homestand.

Adams singled in his first two at bats vs Ross today, however, 7 for 11, with a line drive to right in the second and a liner to center in the fourth, the he smoked a 2-2 slider in the Nationals’ half of the seventh, sending a no-doubter out to right field for his third hit and first run of the game for the Nationals. 3-1 Padres.

BULLPEN ACTION: Tim Collins got the final out of the sixth for the Nationals, and retired the first batter in the seventh before handing it over to Trevor Gott, who got two quick outs, still 3-0 Padres after six and a half.

Sammy Solis got the eighth after the Nationals got on the board against Tyson Ross and old friend Craig Stammen helped finish off the seventh for the Padres.

Solis worked around a leadoff single by Travis Jankowski, who singled then got picked off, in a scoreless 13-pitch eighth.

Stammen got the first out of the Nationals’ half of the eighth before the Padres turned to their closer Brad Hand, looking for a five-out save from their left-hander, who got the first two outs by retiring Juan Soto and striking Bryce Harper out.

Solis and Shawn Kelley combined for a scoreless top of the ninth.

Hand gave up a leadoff double to left-center by Anthony Rendon in the bottom of the ninth inning, then fell behind Mark Reynolds, 2-0, before battling back to 2-2 and giving up a line drive single to left that sent Rendon around to third.

Michael A. Taylor stepped in with a chance to walk off on the Padres again but fell behind 0-2 and K’d swinging through a high fastball. One down. Spencer Kieboom? Game-ending 5-4-3 DP. Ballgame.

Final Score: 3-1 Padres

Nationals now 26-22