Nationals flex their muscles in 8-5 win over Padres
SAN DIEGO (AP) Bryce Harper is ready to do some damage.
Harper and Wilson Ramos hit back-to-back homers and Anthony Rendon added a solo shot as the Washington Nationals won for the ninth time in 11 games with an 8-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.
''I'm looking for balls that I can crush,'' Harper said. ''Swing at pitches that are down and over the plate and do some damage with them.''
Tanner Roark (6-4), who won his third straight against the Padres, worked six innings, surrendering four runs and seven hits. He walked two and struck out five.
''I didn't feel like I was aggressive enough early on,'' Roark said. ''I was getting behind the hitters and didn't make the pitches I needed to. But look at the way we swung it. That was a great team win.''
Shawn Kelley pitched the ninth for his second save in as many chances.
''He's showed us he wants the ball,'' Nationals manager Dusty Baker said, confirming that Kelley is the closer with Jonathan Papelbon on the disabled list.
Erik Johnson (0-2), who was acquired from the Chicago White Sox on June 4 in the deal for James Shields, struggled again. He was charged with five runs, seven hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out two in his second start with the Padres.
''If you give up seven hits and three of them leave the yard, that's not good baseball,'' Johnson said.
Washington stretched its lead to 8-4 in the ninth with Harper getting his third RBI on a single.
San Diego had the tying runs aboard against reliever Blake Treinen in the seventh, but Melvin Upton Jr. struck out.
The Nationals extended their lead to 6-4 in the seventh on Clint Robinson's sacrifice fly.
In the sixth, the Padres made it a one-run game on the speed of Upton. He singled to open the inning, then stole second and third. He came home on Christian Bethancourt's grounder, making it 5-4.
Rendon went deep in the sixth inning for his seventh homer of the season and a 5-3 lead.
Wil Myers, who has lobbied to be included in next month's Home Run Derby, smacked his career-high 15th homer in the fifth. His one-out laser off a 93 mph fastball pulled the Padres within 4-3.
The Nationals flexed their muscles in a three-run third inning as they forged ahead 4-2.
Harper went over the wall in left field for his 14th homer, a two-out, two-strike, two-run shot that brought in Jayson Werth, who had singled.
''It was nice to see him go the opposite way,'' Baker said. ''That was the most important thing for me.''
Ramos gave Washington its ninth set of back-to-back homers when he crushed Johnson's full-count fastball for his second hit.
Like the Padres did in his first start on Saturday in Colorado, they staked Johnson to a 2-0 lead. And just like Saturday, Johnson gave some of that right back with the Nationals pulling within 2-1 in the second.
''I thought he was better, though,'' Padres manager Andy Green said. ''I thought it was a better effort from him.''
Stephen Drew's sacrifice fly brought in Ramos, who reached via a single.
The Padres struck in the first, taking a 2-0 lead.
Travis Jankowski opened with a single, which preceded a walk to Myers. Matt Kemp slapped a low pitch up the middle for an RBI single and Myers scored on a single by Upton.
But singles weren't the story in this game. It was all about Harper and company going deep.
''I'm just trying to get it going and swing at good pitches,'' Harper said. ''Swing the bat, swing it hard and hopefully find some holes and hit some of them over the fence.''
Padres: RHP Andrew Cashner (sore right shoulder) could begin a throwing program on Friday.
Padres: LHP Christian Friedrich (3-1, 5.37) has made the most of his opportunity as injuries and trades upended the rotation. Friedrich threw six innings of one-run ball against the Rockies in his last start, but he didn't get a decision
Nationals: RHP Joe Ross (5-4, 3.01), a former Padres first-round draft pick, is seeking his third straight win. Ross is the brother of Tyson Ross, the Padres' Opening Day pitcher who is on the DL.