Nats Weekend Round-up: Lose Pair to Padres

Posted by Dave Nichols | Monday, September 22, 2008 | , , , , | 0 comments »

Washington -- The Washington Nationals continued their limp to the finish line of the baseball season over the weekend, dropping a pair of games to the Padres by scores of 6-1 and 6-2. Combined with Friday night's 14-inning 11-6 loss, the Nats were swept by a team that had been equally bad in the standing as they had over 154 games. The Nats now stand one-half game ahead of Seattle to avoid the worst record in the major leagues for 2008. The Mariners have played one fewer game and have on fewer victory that the Nats. Washington has lost five straight and eight of their last ten. Seattle is working on an eleven game losing streak of their own.

Saturday night the Nationals were dominated by 6-foot, 10-inch right-hander Chris Young. Young (W, 6-6, 4.11) was masterful in keeping down the Nats offense, pitching seven innings and allowing no runs on just two hits and four walks, striking out five. He threw 66 of his 111 pitches for strikes. Young battled injury all season long, and won for just the second time since May 16. He even added a home run, the first of his major league career, against Nats starter John Lannan in the seventh inning. Lannan (L, 9-14, 3.68) didn't pitch poorly, allowing just one earned run over his seven innings, but three unearned runs led to his demise. Lannan allowed four hits and three walks, striking out five. He surrendered two home runs, Young's and 2B Edgar Gonzalez', his seventh.

Two errors led directly to runs, as Will Venable reached ahead of Gonzalez' homer, and Ryan Zimmerman threw one away with a runner on in the eighth, allowing both base-runners to move up and eventually score on an infield single by Chase Headley. The lone Nats run came courtesy of an Aaron Boone ground-rule double in the eighth inning, scoring Emilio Bonifacio from second base.

San Diego completed the sweep Sunday afternoon, on a perfect day weather-wise for baseball. Cha Seung Baek (W, 6-10, 4.87) threw seven innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits, to defeat the Nats 6-2. Baek, who pinch-hit in Friday night's marathon, struck out five and did not walk a batter. His counter, Nats' starter Odalis Perez (L, 7-11, 4.27), gave up three earned over six innings on five hits and one walk. He struck out eleven Padres in the brilliant sunshine. 29,608 fans saw the last Sunday home game of the season.

Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres budding superstar first baseman, went 2-for-3 with a home run and three runs scored and 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff added two hits and three RBIs. Ryan Zimmerman homered -- his thirteenth of the season, driving in two, and finished 2-for-4 on the day. Willie Harris also contributed two hits.

San Diego outscored the Nats 23-9 in the sweep, their first on the road since July 2006. Washington needs to go 5-1 in their last six games to avoid the franchise's first 100-loss season since 1976 as the Montreal Expos.

The Nats are off on Monday, and begin a three-game series with the Florida Marlins Tuesday night, their last home games of the season, before concluding the 2008 season on the road at Philadelphia.

Photo (c) C. Nichols 2008.