Takeaways from the Padres’ 2-1 loss to the Nationals

WASHINGTON– Bryce Harper homered in the 5th and Michael A. Taylor hit a walk off double in the 9th, powering the Nationals to a 2-1 walkoff win over the Padres in D.C.

Washington improved to 26-21 while San Diego fell to 20-30.

Takeaways

Nationals walk it off in the 9th

With the Nationals and Padres tied at one in the ninth, manager Andy Green brought on lefty Matt Strahm in an attempt to get the game to extra innings. Strahm immediately walked Juan Soto on four pitches.

Wilmer Difo followed with a hard ground ball towards third baseman Cory Spangenberg, who was unable to field the ball cleanly and turn the double play. The only play Spangenberg could make was to first, which put a runner on second with one out.

The next batter, Michael A. Taylor, delivered the game winner. After working the count to 3-2, Taylor hit an 88 mile-per-hour changeup off the center field wall, scoring Soto and giving Washington their 26th win of the season.

Strahm, who was activated off the DL on May 7, was saddled with his second loss of the season. He has yet to find his command since returning to the big leagues. In 7 1/3 innings, the former Royal has walked eight hitters while only striking out three. Tonight, his fastball command was very spotty, ultimately leading to his team’s demise.

Michael A. Taylor does it defensively, too

Not only did Taylor provide the game-winning hit, he also made a big play to keep the game tied in the middle innings.

Following a Jose Pirela double in the sixth, Franmil Reyes smoked an 114.9 mph line drive single up the middle. With Pirela running, Padres third base coach Glenn Hoffman decided to send him home from second.

It turned out to be a bad decision. Taylor gunned down Pirela with the help of a slick tag by catcher Pedro Severino. The Padres’ second baseman was initially called safe, but a replay review determined otherwise.

The Nationals’ center fielder fired the ball home at 98.8 MPH, per MLB.com’s Statcast.

Lauer throws six strong

Perhaps the best part of the night for the young Padres was the outing by rookie Eric Lauer.

Facing a very good Nationals lineup, the Ohio native allowed only one run in six innings of work. He did allow six hits, but managed the traffic on the bases well and was able to work out of danger when needed.

The only run that the lefty gave up came with two outs in the fifth, when Bryce Harper hit his NL-leading 15th home run of the season.

“I thought hands down it was his best outing,” manager Andy Green said after the game. “Really encouraged, thought he got ahead well, thought the mix of pitches was good. Overall it was a really good outing and he did everything he could to help us win a baseball game.”

Lauer struck out seven. His six innings pitched matches the longest start of his career.

“It was definitely the most comfortable I have felt. I was more comfortable than the Dodgers game,” stated Lauer after the game. “As far as just being able to throw my pitches and hit spots. It was probably the best (outing) so far.”

Cordero ends HR drought

Franchy Cordero entered Tuesday’s game without a home run since April 28, a stretch of over 65 at-bats and 21 games played. He had also been battling an undisclosed injury, which had held him out of the two games prior.

In his second at-bat of the night off Nats starter Jeremy Hellickson, the left-handed hitting outfielder ended his home run drought with a big swing. Ahead 2-1 in the count, Cordero crushed an 86 mile-per-hour slider 449 feet into the second deck in right-center field. The ball left Cordero’s bat at 112 mph and was his seventh on the season.

“It’s a ton of power. When he gets a baseball, he really gets it,” said Green.

Cordero now leads all of baseball with four home runs over 440 feet.