Wednesday night, the Washington Nationals won in their final ups. Thursday night, they could not duplicate the feat.
The San Diego Padres scratched out a run in the top of the 12th inning off reliever Craig Stammen on a single, stolen base, throwing error, and RBI single by a former National, and fell 4-3 as they went 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 14 men on base.
The Nats (12-11) broke on top in the third inning. Jordan Zimmermann (6 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 5 K) singled to lead off, but was erased on Span’s infield grounder. Span then stole second and took third on Stults’ wild pick-off throw to first. Anthony Rendon followed with a high fly ball to medium deep left field, and Span walked home on the sacrifice fly.
The Padres answered in the top of the fourth. With one out, Chris Denorfia singled off Ian Desmond’s glove as the shortstop ranged to his right. Seth Smith followed with a double to the right field corner, which scored Denorfia all the way from first as the relay didn’t quite catch him at the plate.
San Diego got two more in the sixth. Stults led off with a double to the left center gap that Bryce Harper took a bad route on, allowing to go to the wall. Zimmermann got the next two batters, but a walk to Seth Smith allowed Yasmani Grandal to deliver a two-run double to right center.
Danny Espinosa cut the lead in half with one swing in the bottom half. He lined a 3-1 offering from Stults into the third row in straightaway left for his second home run of the season. The Nats put two more on in the inning, but couldn’t push across the tying run.
They did in the seventh.
With one out, Adam LaRoche unloaded on a fastball from Nick Vincent, delivering the ball to the Nats bullpen for his fourth home run of the season, tying the game at three.
The Nats loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, but Espinosa popped up to short to end the threat.
Jedd Gyorko singled with one out in the top of the 12th. He stole second, then went to third as Lobaton air mailed his throw down. Predictably, he scored when very-briefly-a Nats Xavier Nady singled back through the box off Stammen (L, 0-1, 4.40).
The Nats got leadoff doubles in both the 10th and 12th innings, but manager Matt Williams elected to not sacrifice bunt them to third. In the 10th, Tim Stauffer struck out three straight to quash the rally. In the 12th, Huston Street (S, 8) struck out Tyler Moore, then got Jose Lobaton to line out to short, and Harper was picked off behind the play to end the game.
The Nats play game the second of the four-game series with the Padres Friday at 7:05. Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 5.33) faces LHP Robbie Erlin (1-2, 4.15).