On the longest — and toughest — road trip of the year, every game is going to be magnified. With a chance to win the series and kick the road trip off to a 2-0 start Saturday night, the Washington Nationals blew a save, then fell in 11 innings to the bottom-feeding San Diego Padres 4-3.
Starters Blake Treinen and Andrew Cashner both threw well, but neither factored in the decision as Yonder Alonso’s homer in the ninth off Rafael Soriano tied it and Cameron Maybin’s bloop single in the 11th was the game-winner.
The only blemish against Treinen’s record came in the fourth inning. Seth Smith singled with one out and scored on Chase Headley’s line drive double to center. Yonder Alonso’s groundout moved Headley up a base, and he came in on Cameron Maybin’s two-out double.
Treinen allowed just the two runs on five hits and no walks. He struck out just one on the evening.
Meanwhile, Cashner was mowing down Nats left and right. Through six shut out innings. Cashner kept the Nats bats quiet, allowing just two hits while striking out five. But the big righty was making his first start off the disabled list and was therefore on a pitch count, so after 70 pitches, his night ended.
The Nats’ collective sigh of relief was almost audible.
In the seventh, against reliever Nick Vincent, the Nats went to work. With one out, Adam LaRoche blooped a double to left field. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a double of his own down the right field line to make it 2-1 game. After Wilson Ramos lined out, Ian Desmond clobbered a 1-1 fastball to dead center which cleared the wall by 15 feet for his 15th homer of the season.
Just like that, the Nats led 3-2 after being completely shut down all night.
The Padres got a runner to third in the eighth against Tyler Clippard, but a nasty changeup to Carlos Quentin ended the inning without incident. It was Clippard’s 19th consecutive scoreless appearance, and 23rd straight without allowing an earned run.
Unfortunately, the ninth inning didn’t go easily for Rafael Soriano. With two outs, he missed his spot and Yonder Alonso punished the mistake, drilling it over the right field fence for his fifth home run of the season to tie it and force extra innings.
In the bottom of the 11th, Craig Stammen got the first two outs with no trouble. But Chase Headley reached on a single to left, then Stammen fed Alonso a steady diet of breaking balls until Alonso drewa base on balls. Cameron Maybin made Stammen pay, blooping a single in front of Jayson Werth that drove in Headley from third with the winning run.