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Juan Soto & Josh Bell both homer in San Diego Padres’ 2-1 win over Washington Nationals

Josh Bell homered to tie things up at 1-1 in the 5th, and then Juan Soto homered to put the Padres up for good, 2-1 over the Nationals.

Washington Nationals v San Diego Padres Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

Gray vs the Padres:

Josiah Gray didn’t receive a decision in either of his back-to-back starts against the Chicago Cubs the last two times out before tonight, but he did bounce back a bit in the two outings, putting together consecutive appearances in which he had success on the mound after a tough stretch in which he went (0-3) and put up a 8.53 ERA, a 9.28 FIP, and a .276/.364/.737 line against in four starts and 19 IP between July 13th-August 5th.

Gray gave up seven hits and two runs in 6 13 IP on the road in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, then allowed three runs on five hits and two walks over six innings in D.C., in which he struck out 10 of the 26 batters he faced.

The next step the Nationals want to see the 24-year-old starter take?

“Maybe get through seven innings and 105 pitches,” Martinez said after 96 and 105-pitch outings for Gray against the Cubs. “That would be awesome.

“But I mean he’s — the last two outings have been really good, and let’s build off of that.”

Gray walked two batters total in 12 13 IP in his previous two outings before taking on the San Diego Padres tonight in Petco Park, and he walked three in the first, loading the bases, but a swinging K from former teammate Josh Bell ended a long, 27-pitch bottom of the inning.

After working around a two-out single in the second, Gray gave up leadoff and two-out hits in the third, bringing Bell up again with two on and two out this time, and a walk to the one-time National loaded the bases for the second time in three innings, before Ha-Seong Kim’s lineout to left ended a 26-pitch frame which left the Nats’ starter at 67 total on the night.

A one-out error and walk in the fourth gave the Padres another opportunity, with Juan Soto up with two on and the home team trailing, 1-0. Soto popped out to the track in right field, for out No. 2, and Manny Machado K’d swinging to end the inning after 23 pitches for Gray, who was up to 90 after just four.

Gray’s 100th overall pitch was a meaty, high fastball to Josh Bell in the fifth, and Bell hit it to right-center for his 15th of 2022, his first with the Padres, tying things up at 1-1 before Gray’s outing ended on a groundout on his 102nd pitch. MLB-high 32nd HR allowed by Gray so far in the ‘22 campaign.

Josiah Gray’s Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 102 P, 55 S, 5/6 GO/FO.

Musgrove vs the Nationals:

San Diego Padres’ starter Joe Musgrove started the season with an unbeaten streak which stretched over his first 12 outings, going (8-0) with a 1.59 ERA, 2.65 FIP, and a .196/.248/.304 line against in 79 IP, but he came into tonight’s outing winless in nine turns in the rotation which followed.

Musgrove, 29, had a 5.00 ERA, a 4.45 FIP, and a .257/.311/.456 line against in 54 IP over the course of the winless streak.

He gave up back-to-back, two-out hits by Joey Meneses and Nelson Cruz, respectively, in the top of the first, but stranded the first two runners to reach base.

With one out in the second, however, the Padres’ starter left a 2-2 slider up in the zone for Lane Thomas, who hit it 404 feet to left-center for a solo home run and a 1-0 Nats’ lead in Petco Park.

Musgrove kept it there through five, working his way out of a two-on, no-out jam in the fifth which started with a hit-by-pitch and reached-on-error. He helped his own cause on a play at the plate, when Ildemaro Vargas, who got hit to start the inning tried to score from third base on a safety squeeze by César Hernández, but the pitcher got to the ball and tossed it to the plate in time for the out, then fielded a ground ball back to the mound and threw over to first to end the threat. Still 1-0 Nats.

It was a 1-1 game when he came back out for the sixth, and Musgrove retired the Nationals in order in his final inning of work.

Joe Musgrove’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 71 S, 6/4 GO/FO.

Nats Stats:

Via the Nationals’ pregame notes for tonight’s game:

“The last two nights, the Nationals have been tied after eight innings, have scored in the ninth inning and have gone on to win both games on the road...

According to Elias Sports Bureau, that has never happened in Nationals’ history (2005-pres.).”

Bullpen Action:

Jake McGee was the first pitcher out of the pen tonight, with the score tied at 1-1 in the 6th in Petco Park, and he retired the side in order in an 11-pitch frame.

Ildemaro Vargas singled with one out, and stole second with lefty Adrian Morejon on the hill for the Padres in the top of the seventh, but he was stranded two outs later.

Steve Cishek took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh, and hit a 2-0 sinker a long way to center field for a solo home run which put the Padres up 2-1. A 429-foot shot for the former National.

Morejon came back out for the eighth with a one-run lead, and worked around a one-out hit to keep it 2-1 on the Padres’ favor.

Tyler Clippard hit Wil Myers, and walked Austin Nola, in the bottom of the eighth, but both of them were stranded.

Luís García got the save opportunity, with the Padres backing off Josh Hader for now as he’s struggled in the closer’s role. García gave up a one-out single by Lane Thomas (2 for 4, HR), then hit Ildemaro Vargas in the right thigh with a 99 MPH heater, but Maikel Franco hit a soft pop toward first base Brandon Drury let drop before getting the force at second, and the third out of the inning on Lane Thomas in a rundown between second and third. That’s it.

Nationals now 41-81