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Washington Nationals 4-3 over San Diego Padres; rubber match high noon Sunday

A controversial call at home plate went the Nationals’ way in a one-run win over the Padres...

MLB: San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Sánchez vs San Diego:

With a loss in his start against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field, Aníbal Sánchez, 38, fell to (0-5) in five outings since he made his 2022 debut back on July 14th.

In 25 innings pitched so far in his 16th big league season, Sánchez had a 7.56 ERA, 7.28 FIP, 11 walks, 18 Ks, and a .286/.360/.561 line against. It isn’t the start he wanted after a cervical nerve impingement in his neck delayed the start of his 2022 campaign.

“Right now, I feel like I’m getting better in every outing,” Sánchez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman after facing the Cubbies.

“Today, I felt that I (did) more than what happened by the result. But I felt good at the end. I finished strong. A couple hits at the end changed everything.”

Start No. 6 for Sánchez began with a long-ish, 27-pitch first in which he struck out three, but around back-to-back, one-out walks.

Ha-Seong Kim doubled on a 1-1 changeup with one out in the second, and took third base on a bunt by Trent Grisham in the next at-bat. Sánchez’s third walk in the first two frames loaded the bases with one down, but the Nats’ starter popped Jurickson Profar up in foul territory off third, bringing Juan Soto up, and Soto, who walked the first time up, and lined out to right field to end the threat.

Manny Machado hit Sánchez’s 52nd pitch of the game, a first-pitch curve, out to left-center field in Nationals Park for a 401-foot home run and a 1-0 Padres’ lead in the third. No. 21 for Machado in 2022.

Trent Grisham hit a one-out curve to right field and off the facade of the second deck for a 410-foot blast and a 2-0 Padres’ lead in the fourth.

Austin Nola singled and stole second after the Grisham home run, then Juan Soto drove him in with a two-out single to center which made it 3-0 after three and a half.

A 17-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left Sánchez at 98 pitches total, and the veteran starter was done for the night at that point...

Aníbal Sánchez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 98 P, 57 S, 5/3 GO/FO.

Yu in D.C.:

With three earned runs or fewer against him in his last six outings, Yu Darvish, who’d posted a 2.70 ERA, a 3.07 FIP, eight walks, 47 Ks, and a .208/.252/.349 line against in 40 IP over that stretch, was left with a 3.28 ERA, 3.29 FIP, 26 walks, 132 Ks, and a .217/.266/.333 line against in 134 13 IP overall on the year.

Darvish struck out five of the first 11 batters he faced tonight, giving up a hit and a walk over three scoreless frames, and he took the mound in the fourth with a 3-0 lead, and stranded a two-out single (by Joey Meneses) in a 14-pitch frame which left him at 71 pitches overall in a scoreless outing.

César Hernández singled to start the Nats’ fifth, but one out later he was doubled up on an inning-ending, 4-6-3 off of Ildemaro Vargas’s bat.

Nelson Cruz singled with two out in the sixth, to keep the inning alive, and Yadiel Hernández and Joey Meneses followed with back-to-back home runs, with Hernández going 402 feet the other way with a 96 MPH first-pitch fastball for a two-run shot, and Meneses hitting an 89 MPH 1-2 splitter 415 feet to left to tie things up at 3-3 in D.C. No. 9 for Yadi. No. 5 for the Nats’ new slugger in nine games since Meneses made his MLB debut.

Darvish retired to the mound in the bottom of the seventh, but gave up a leadoff single by César Hernández before he was lifted...

Yu Darvish’s Line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 2 HRs, 104 P, 73 S, 4/1 GO/FO.

Bullpen Action:

Steve Cishek walked Trent Grisham with one out and Jurickson Profar with two down to set Juan Soto up with some ducks on the pond in the top of the sixth, but Soto sent a ground ball to right side to end the threat and keep it a 3-0 game in the Padres’ favor.

It was a 3-3 tie in D.C. when Kyle Finnegan came on for the top of the seventh, and gave up a double off the left field wall by Manny Machado and a walk to Josh Bell, putting two guys on with no one out, and both of them moved into scoring position on a grounder to the left of the mound. Jake Cronenworth got the intentionals to load’em up/set up the double play.

Finnegan hustled and slid for a foul pop in front of the stairs down to the Nats’ dugout, but didn’t make the catch, though he popped Ha-Seong Kim up to short with the next pitch for out No. 2, and he struck out Trent Grisham for out No. 3. Still 3-3 in D.C.

Padres’ reliever Luis García took over for the visitors with a runner on and no one out in the home-half of the seventh, and César Hernández, who’d singled to start the inning, swiped second, and two outs later, tried to score on a single to right by Victor Robles, only to get thrown out by Juan Soto ... but after a challenge, the umps (through MLB’s officials) ruled it interference, saying catcher Austin Nola blocked the plate, so the run scored, 4-3 Nationals.

Hunter Harvey got the eighth for the home team, with a one-run lead, and he walked Juan Soto with two out, then popped Manny Machado up for the third out of the inning.

Carl Edwards, Jr. got the ball in the ninth, with the score still 4-3 in the Nationals’ favor, and the right-hander worked around a two-out single for a scoreless frame. Ballgame.

Nationals now 38-77