"He's had a real good year, all-star consideration-type starting pitcher, and he was really good." -- Jim Riggleman, tipping his cap to Mat Latos.

Padres' Mat Latos dominated in front of two dozen family
and friends in 7-1 win over Nationals.
(Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

THE RESULT:  Tonight was a battle of snubbed All-Stars, featuring rookie San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mat Latos and the triumvirate of Washington Nationals middle of the order sluggers, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham.

On this night, the pitcher won.

Latos gave up just five hits and two walks over seven innings -- striking out eight -- and hit his first career home run, pacing the N.L. West leading Padres over the Nats 7-1, before 17,364 at Nationals Park.

Latos did get a little help from his friends, as the Padres hit four home runs in the contest.

Latos turns on an Atilano fastball for his first career home run.
(Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

The young right-hander was dominant, mixing a 95 MPH fastball with a sharp-breaking curveball.  

"He's got a really good curveball, but you've got to have so much respect for the fastball," Manager Jim Riggleman said in his post-game press conference. "He's a power pitcher with a classic downward breaking ball and good, hard fastball."

Latos only had two innings where more than one runner reached, including his last inning where the Nats loaded the bases with two outs.  Latos got Nyjer Morgan to bounce out to first to end the frame, and then truned things over to the league's best bullpen.

Nats starting pitcher Luis Atilano was nowhere near as sharp.  The right-hander, who has lost five of his last six decisions, was lifted with one out in the sixth.  He gave up four earned runs on eight hits and two walks, including two home runs -- both in the fourth -- to OF Chris Denorfia and Latos.

Luis Atilano struggled against the Padres.
(Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

Atilano was constantly batting with base runners throughout the event and it eventually caught up to him.  Manager Jim Riggleman went to Miguel Batista, and the rubber-armed reliever brought no relief tonight, giving up two more earned runs in 1 2/3 innings.

Washington scored in the bottom of the eighth off releiver Luke Gregerson, as Dunn knocked in Roger Bernadina (2-for-4) from second base, putting runners at first and second with no outs.  But Josh Willingham proceeded to ground into a double play, and Ivan Rodriguez flied out to end the Nats best chance to get back into the game.

Latos cooled off the Nationals' bats.  Click on photo for full-size
image, it's worth the effort. (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

THE GOOD:  Roger Bernadina and Adam Kennedy had two hits apiece.  Willie Harris singled in his only at bat.

THE BAD:  Nyjer Morgan had another 0-fer in the leadoff spot, going 0-for-4 with three left on base.

THE UGLY:  Dunn dropped a pop-up.  It was a relatively non-ugly game.

THE STATS:  The Nats went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position, leaving eight men on base.  They struck out nine times and walked three times. 

NEXT GAME:  The Nationals host the San Francisco Giants in a three-game set, starting Friday night at 7:05.  Stephen Strasburg (2-2, 2.45) takes on Matt Cain (6-7, 2.98) in the opener.

NATS NOTES:  3B Ryan Zimmerman lost to Joey Votto in the Internet ballot for the final spot on the N.L. All-Star team.

Jordan Zimmermann, rehabbing his surgically repaired elbow, made his second rehab start for Single-A Potomac.  He went three innings, giving up one hit and hit a batter.  He did not walk anyone and struck out five.  He threw 45 pitches, 30 for strikes.