courtesy of philliefan99
The Washington Nationals’ offense jumped all over San Diego Padres starter, right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner, for an early lead on Friday night before going on to win the contest 8-5. Cashner lasted just two innings plus two batters and gave up six runs and five hits while walking three and hitting one on 65 pitches, 42 strikes.
It was only day two of manager Davey Johnson’s line-up switch-a-roo with Ian Desmond batting second and Jayson Werth batting sixth but the results from the experiment continue yield a positive response. Though Werth (3-for-4) had a stronger day than Desmond (1-for-4, with a walk) at the plate, the line-up as a whole is shaping up to be the cohesive unit Johnson’s been searching for all season.
A five run rally in the second inning was proof of Johnson’s success with the changes and despite the small sample-size of two games, this may in fact be what ends up working for the Nationals’ offense this season. With a full line-up that can hit and score runs, that’s less pressure for sophomore outfielder Bryce Harper as he still works to find his timing back at the plate.
Since his return from the disabled list and homering in his first at-bat back, Harper is 0-for-19 with three walk and an RBI. Harper’s RBI came as a sacrifice fly in the second inning of the game when Nats starter, left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez, scored the fifth run of the inning.
Gonzalez struggled to find his command in the first two innings of Friday’s game and threw fifty pitches in those two frames. San Diego only managed one run off Gonzalez in that time span which came on a RBI-double hit by Padres third baseman Chase Headley in the first inning.
San Diego got eight hits and three runs off Gonazalez in six and two-thirds innings of work. He walked one batter, gave up one homerun (Headley went long to left field in the third inning with two out), and tallied five strikeouts on 110 pitches, 70 strikes.
The Nats continued to tack on runs in the fourth and fifth innings with first baseman Adam LaRoche, Desmond, and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman all scoring one each. But their 8-2 lead wasn’t quite safe against San Diego as the Padres fought back against right-handed reliever Craig Stammen when he entered the game in the seventh inning.
Stammen went on to give up a three-run homerun to Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin making it an 8-5 ballgame. Right-handed relievers Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano proceeded to hold the Padres in the 8th and 9th innings respectively, though, making sure Gonzalez got his sixth win of the season along with Soriano’s 23 save.
The Nats go into the weekend two games above five hundred and five games back on the first place Atlanta Braves.