Nationals Fall In Finale For Series Split With Padres

Posted on April 27, 2014 by David Driver

Series recap: Padres at Nationals

Series dates: April 24-27

Series location: Washington, D.C.

Results: The Nationals lost, 4-3, in 12 innings April 24; won, 11-1, April 25; won, 4-0, April 26; and lost, 4-2, April 27

Nationals' record: 14-12

Best performance by Washington players: Right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark threw a three-hit shutout during the win April 26. He has won nine of his first 10 major league decisions, and has allowed one earned run in 35 innings at Nationals Park.

Shortstop Ian Desmond had three hits during the April 26 game. It was the third game in a row that Washington had at least one player with three hits; during the previous two games, the Nats had a trio of players with three hits.

Danny Espinosa had three hits, including a home run, during the April 24 game. Center fielder Denard Span also had three hits during the game.

LaRoche drew a walk and later scored in the first inning of the April 25 game as the Nationals took a rare early lead. LaRoche is now hitting .307 going into the April 28 off day.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE NATIONALS: Washington got some strong hitting during the middle two games of the series. Anthony Rendon continues to rank among the league leaders in hits, RBIs and total bases. Rendon is hitting .298 during games through April 27.

Drew Storen continues to shine out of the bullpen. He threw another scoreless inning April 27 to lower his ERA to 0.93.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE NATIONALS: The Nationals continue to have bad luck with health. Left fielder Bryce Harper went on the 15-day disabled list before the April 27 game, two days after he hurt his left thumb on a slide into third on a triple. Also on April 27, second baseman Danny Espinosa was hit by a pitch in the second inning and came out of the game to start the fifth. He said he would take off April 28 (an off day anyway) and see how he felt April 29.

Taylor Jordan, the starter April 27, pitched four innings and said after the game he nearly hadn't made the start because of the flu.

"I wasn't feeling the best," he said.

Nate McLouth hit his first homer with Washington to lead off the eighth April 27. That cut the lead, 4-2, but the Nats did not score again as starter Ian Kennedy (three hits, one run in seven innings) got the win, while Huston Street got the save.

Did McLouth feel his home run may lead another late-inning rally?

"You always hope that," McLouth said. "But Ian Kennedy pitched a phenomenal game. He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes. He was really good today."

Washington left 14 runners on base and was hitless in 16 at bats with runners in scoring position during the April 24 game. The Padres had lost 11 of the previous 15 games to Washington.

"There were opportunities," Washington manager Matt Williams said. "If we give ourselves that many opportunities, we are going to [be fine]."

Craig Stammen picked up his first loss of the season as he was forced to go three innings, after closer Rafael Soriano was used in the ninth inning during a tie game April 24.

Stammen gave up the game-winning hit in the top of the 12th to former Washington outfielder Xavier Nady, who managed to get a ground ball past Stammen and into center field.

"Two weak contact hits that I can't do anything about," Stammen said of the 12th inning. "I got behind Nady 2-0, so he kind of knew a fastball was coming, but I left it up a little bit. He just put it in a good spot."

The M*A*S*H* Watch: Washington ended the series without starting pitcher Doug Fister (15-day DL), third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Harper (15-day DL) and catcher Wilson Ramos (15-day DL).

Other Roster Moves: Steve Souza Jr. was called up from Triple-A Syracuse April 27 to take the place of Harper.

What We Learned: The Nationals are starting to tread water. Washington seemed to have energy after a four-game split with St. Louis, and then lost two of three to the Angels. A split against San Diego looks even worse when comparing the two lineups, especially when San Diego lost regulars Seth Smith and Chase Headley to injuries during the series.

What Is Next: The Nationals will begin a two-game series at Houston April 29. Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 3.00) is slated to start against the Astros and right-handed pitcher Jarred Cosart (1-2, 6.12).

The Houston roster includes pitcher Paul Clemens, from Robinson High in Fairfax, Va; former Nationals pitcher Brad Peacock; and outfielder L.J. Hoes (St. John's High in Washington, D.C.), who grew up in Bowie, Md., and made his big league debut for the Orioles in 2012.

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