Nationals fall 4-3 to San Diego in extra innings
- Washington Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton, left, is late with the tag on San Diego Padres' Chris Denorfia who is safe at home on a double hit by Seth Smith. (Photo: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) - By the time the 12th inning rolled around, the San Diego Padres were without third baseman Chase Headley - his strained calf could send him to the disabled list - and left fielder Seth Smith, who hurt a groin muscle.
The Padres were on their way to using a total of 20 players, including seven pitchers. Well, seven on the mound, and one in left field. Andrew Cashner briefly filled in for Smith before manager Bud Black made a double-switch.
So it was quite a relief when Xavier Nady delivered a tiebreaking RBI single off Craig Stammen in the top of the 12th to give San Diego a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday night.
"This was an interesting one, for sure," Black said. "This was one where you really had to be creative as it went along."
Nady, who entered the game in right field in the ninth, bounced a 2-0 fastball up the middle off Stammen (0-1), who was working his third inning.
"I'm the last man standing. Whatever happens, happens. I've got to live with it," Stammen said. "I left it up a little bit, but he put it in a good spot."
Jedd Gyorko singled, stole second and got to third when catcher Jose Lobaton's throw sailed into the outfield for an error, then scored on Nady's hit.
"As soon as I threw the ball," Lobaton said, gritting his teeth, "I was like, 'Ah, that was a bad throw.'"
Alex Torres (1-0) got two outs in the 11th for the win, and Houston Street worked around Bryce Harper's leadoff double in the 12th for his eighth save. The game ended when Lobaton lined out to shortstop Everth Cabrera, who flipped the ball to second base to double off Harper.
"It was sort of ironic that we were sort of worried about Harper stealing third," Black explained, "and so we tried to keep Cabby a little bit tighter to Harper, and sure enough the ball was hit in the hole."
The Nationals went 0 for 16 with runners in scoring position and left 14 men on base. The only 1-2-3 innings for Padres pitching were the second and 11th.
"There's just something in you, when your back's against the wall a little bit, you've got to reach back and really give your best shot and throw your best pitches," said Tim Stauffer, who threw 2 1-3 scoreless innings in relief of Eric Stults. "I think as a whole we were able to do that today."
Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa said: "It's easy to press. You want to come through for your team."
He hit a solo homer in the sixth, and Adam LaRoche added one in the seventh to help Washington pull even after trailing 3-1.
But the Padres never did let the Nationals go ahead from there.
Headley left in the middle of the second inning, and Black said: "That looks as though that's probably going to be a DL."
Smith departed in the 11th but the manager didn't think his problem will send him to the disabled list.
In the top of the ninth, San Diego's Yonder Alonso walked, then tried to steal second and initially was ruled safe. But Nationals manager Matt Williams challenged the call, which was overruled on review; replays showed that Alonso's front leg was in the air as he slid and his foot didn't touch the bag before he was tagged.
Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed three runs and five hits in six innings.
Stults gave up 10 hits but only two runs in his 5 1-3 innings.
"When I was done," Stults said, "it seemed like I kind of pitched yesterday."
NOTES: Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez felt "normal, after-a-start soreness" Thursday and would get plenty of treatment, Williams said. Gonzalez was pulled in the sixth inning after only 83 pitches Wednesday because his left shoulder felt tight. "I'm not concerned about it. I don't think he is, either, really," Williams said. "We want to be careful, but we don't think there's any major concern there." ... Washington RHP Doug Fister, on the 15-day DL with a back muscle problem, threw 40 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday and is scheduled to make his first minor league rehab start Sunday, probably at Class-A Potomac. ... Padres LF Carlos Quentin, on the 15-day DL with a bone bruise in his left knee, is expected to report to extended spring training in Arizona this weekend. ... On Friday, Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2, 5.33) will face Padres LHP Robbie Erlin (1-2, 4.15).