Someone (San Diego starter Eric Lauer in this case) made the mistake of throwing Juan Soto a fastball, which the Washington Nationals’ 20-year-old slugger hit into the second deck out in right field for a game-tying, two-run blast in the sixth this afternoon, and it was still tied at 2-2 in the tenth when Wander Suero gave up back-to-back hits, a single by Ty France and a double by Francisco Mejia, before a sac fly by Greg Garcia put the visitors up for good, 8-3 final in D.C.
Strasburg vs His Hometown: San Diego-born, San Diego State University-educated, ‘09 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg started against the Padres for the 10th time in his career in the second of three in D.C. this afternoon, after going (7-2) with a 3.05 ERA, 14 walks, 71 Ks, and .213/.273/.333 line against in 56 IP in the previous nine outings.
Strasburg was coming off an eight-inning start against the Miami Marlins in which he put up 11 Ks in a scoreless appearance, but he gave up two runs early on a two-run home run by Hunter Renfroe, whose homer last night ended up being the game-winner in the Padres and Nats’ series opener.
This time Renfroe hit a 1-2 change from Strasburg out to left field in the top of the second, an at bat after the Nationals’ starter issued a leadoff walk to Eric Hosmer, 2-0.
Strasburg held it there through six innings as the Nats struggled to get much of anything going against Padres’ lefty Eric Lauer, but Juan Soto hit a two-run homer to tie things up, and the Nationals’ starter took the mound in the seventh and worked around a leadoff hit, completing seven strong on 100 pitches, with 19 of the last 21 batters he faced set down.
Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 66 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
Lauer vs the Nationals: Padres’ left-hander Eric Lauer went five innings in each of his last two outings before today’s, giving up 14 hits and six runs (five earned) over the 10 innings on the mound, with opposing hitters putting up a .341/.364/.512 line against him.
Lauer held the Nats to a hit and a walk the first time through the order, and completed three scoreless on 47 pitches, four on 58, and five on 73, with just a hit (and two walks) allowed.
After working around a one-out walk in the fifth, Lauer issued his third free pass to Victor Robles with one down in the sixth, but he paid for it this time, giving up a two-run blast a batter later when Juan Soto crushed a 2-0 fastball, sending a homer over the out-of-town scoreboard in right and into the second deck to tie it up at 2-2.
That was it for Lauer, who got the quick hook...
Eric Lauer’s Line: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 90 P, 54 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
Don’t feed Soto fastballs: Coming into this afternoon’s matchup, Juan Soto was seeing the lowest percentage of fastballs in the National League (42%), and with good reason, after he hit .386 with 15 HRs off heaters in 2018.
Soto, 20, was hitting just .154 on four-seamers in 2019 before today, but he got all of the 2-0 fastball Eric Lauer threw him in the bottom of the sixth, hitting a two-run home run into the second deck in right field for a game-tying homer, his 5th of the season (and his second on fastballs).
With the blast, Soto had also reached base in 12-straight games and 20 of 21 overall.
Eaton is Streaking!: Adam Eaton singled in his first at bat last night, extending his hit streak to 11-straight games, over which the Nationals’ leadoff man has gone 18 for 48, (.375 AVG) with two doubles, a triple, one home run, two RBIs, three walks, and 10 runs scored over the course of the streak.
Eaton was 0 for 3 through six against Padres’ lefty Eric Lauer, and he walked in his third trip to the plate in the seventh, before lining out in the 10th. Streak over.
BULLPEN ACTION: Adam Warren finished the sixth off for the Padres and returned to the mound in the seventh with the score tied at 2-2.
Back-to-back walks to Yan Gomes and Brian Dozier earned Warren a visit on the mound, and pinch hitter Michael A. Taylor followed with a sac bunt in the next at bat, moving both of the runners into scoring position for rookie shortstop Carter Kieboom.
Padres’ skipper Andy Green went to the ‘pen again for lefty Brad Wieck, who got a hard-hit groundout from Kieboom for out No. 2, but walked Adam Eaton to load the bases and force his manager to go for a right-hander, Craig Stammen vs Victor Robles, but Robles sent a fly to center to end the threat. Still 2-2.
Joe Ross got the ball in the top of the eighth, issued a leadoff walk to Greg Garcia and gave up an infield single by Fernando Tatis, Jr. before recording an out, via strikeout, then got an inning-ending 6-4-3 out of Manny Machado to keep it tied.
Stammen worked around a two-out single by Ryan Zimmerman in the Nationals’ half of the eighth.
Sean Doolittle came on in the top of the ninth, and retired the side in order, striking out two.
Luis Perdomo retired the Nationals in order in the bottom of the inning to send it to extras...
Wander Suero got the top of the tenth inning, and gave up a leadoff single by Ty France and a double to right by Francisco Mejia that put runners on second and third with no one out in front of Greg Garcia, who worked the count full and hit a sac fly to left field, 3-2 Padres.
Back-to-back walks by Suero loaded the bases with one down and ended his outing, with manager Davey Martinez calling on Justin Miller, who hit Manny Machado to force in a run, 4-2, and 6-2 on a two-run single to left by Manuel Margot. That was it for Miller.
Matt Grace gave up a leadoff walk and a sac fly, with a throwing error by Victor Robles on the play allowing a second run to score, 8-2.
Howie Kendrick hit a two-out homer in the Nats’ half of the 10th, 8-3, but that’s as close as the Nationals got...
Nationals now 11-14