Nationals power past Padres
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[June 17, 2016]
SAN DIEGO -- Washington manager
Dusty Baker saw it as good hitting. Padres pitcher Erik Johnson
called them mistakes.
Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon all clubbed homers
on two-strike pitches Thursday night to lead the National
League-East leading Washington Nationals to an 8-5 win over the
struggling Padres at Petco Park.
Harper and Ramos hit back-to-back, opposite-field shots off Johnson
in a three-run third that overcame an early Padres' and carried the
Nationals to a second straight and ninth in 11 games. The loss was
the Padres fifth in their last six games.
"It was nice to see Bryce take that pitch to the opposite field,"
Washington manager Dusty Baker said of the two-run homer that put
the Nationals ahead to stay at 3-2.
Jayson Werth started the Nationals' decisive rally with a two-run
single. The left-handed-hitting Harper then drove a two-strike
fastball 359 feet into the corner seats in left. The
right-handed-hitting Ramos followed with a 393-foot drive into the
right-field seats ... again with two strikes.
Rendon hit the third homer off Johnson on a 0-and-2 pitch in the
"If you give up seven hits and three leave the yard, it's not good
said Johnson, who has given up five home runs over 10 2/3 innings in
his first two starts since joining the Padres in the June 4 trade
that sent right-hander James Shields to the Chicago White Sox.
"All three homers were on pitches with two strikes that were away."
"I think tonight was a step forward," Padres manager Andy Green said
of Johnson, whose earned run average as a Padre is 8.44. "But he was
living predominantly on one side of the plate. And he was stung by
the long ball."
The Nationals never trailed after Harper's 14th home run of the
"I'm looking for balls that I can crush," said Harper, who
apparently got one from Johnson. "I like swinging at pitches that
Ramos followed Harper with his 11th homer of the season giving the
Nationals their ninth set of back-to-back homers this season.
Right-hander Tanner Roark allowed four runs on seven hits and two
walks with five strikeouts over six innings to get the win and
improve to 6-4. Shawn Kelley, who was with the Padres last season,
came on in the ninth to get his second save.
"Kelley showed me he wants the ball," said Baker, who has lost
closer Jonathan Papelbon to the disabled list. "Tanner was good.
He's a fighter. He was always battling."
"I wasn't aggressive enough," said Roark, who spotted the Padres a
2-0 lead in the first. "Early on, I was falling behind and not
making the pitches I needed to."
[to top of second column]
Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) and left fielder Jayson
Werth (28) celebrate after Harper hit a two-run home run during the
third inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory
Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Travis Jankowski singled to center to open the Padres' first and
moved to second on a walk to Wil Myers. Matt Kemp singled to center
to score Jankowski. Myers scored on a one-out single by Melvin Upton
The Nationals got one run back in the top of the second after Ramos
and Clint Robinson opened the inning with back-to-back singles.
Ramos reached third on a force out and scored on a sacrifice fly to
center by Stephen Drew.
Then Harper and Ramos struck to make it 4-2 in the third. The Padres
pulled to within a run in both the fifth and the sixth. But the
Nationals responded each time with a run in the top of the following
Myers hit his 14th homer with one out in the fifth. The 357-foot
drive to left was the eighth homer run in the past 15 games for the
first baseman who said he'd participate in Home Run Derby at Petco
Park on the eve of the All-Star Game if invited. But Rendon answered
with his solo shot in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth, Upton singled, stole second as Ryan
Scimpf struck out, stole third and scored on Christian Bethancourt's
ground out to short to make it 5-4. Again, the Nationals countered
in the top of the next inning. An error by Padres second baseman
Yangervis Solarte and two walks -- one intentional -- issued by
left-handed reliever Brad Hand loaded the bases with one out. Ben
Revere scored on a sacrifice fly to left-center off the bat of
NOTES: The Padres rested three regulars Thursday night in the opener
of the four-game series. SS Alexei Ramirez had started 33 straight
games, CF Jon Jay had made 26 straight starts and C Derek Norris
also sat. ... RHP Tyson Ross, who has been on the disabled list
since the day after opening day, played catch from 150 feet and
threw from in front of the mound Thursday, and is expected to throw
from the mound within the next week.
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