Nationals lose to Padres to split four-game series
SAN DIEGO -- Nearly a quarter of the way into the season, the Washington Nationals are hovering just two games above .500.
It's not exactly where the Nationals or their fans thought they'd be after winning the NL East last year at 98-64, the best record in baseball.
"We have not been very consistent," third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said after the Nationals lost 13-4 to San Diego on Sunday as the Padres salvaged a split of their four-game series.
"Part of that has been injuries, but you have to get past that. We just have to do a little bit more and collectively lift our games up."
Andrew Cashner pitched 62Ú3 strong innings, and Kyle Blanks and Will Venable homered off Dan Haren to lead the Padres.
Cashner (3-2) allowed three runs and seven hits, struck out six and walked one. The Padres tied their season high in runs and their 15 hits off four Nationals pitchers were two short of their season high.
San Diego's Yonder Alonso homered off Drew Storen leading off the eighth to finish 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. It was his sixth homer.
The Nationals have lost six of nine.
"We've been hovering around .500. Win a few, lose a few," Haren said. "We're not healthy; that's one thing. Guys are banged up. We haven't hit our stride. Yet we have too much talent to just be playing this mediocre."
Haren (4-5) got off to a rough start by allowing three runs in the first inning and was gone after the fourth-run fifth. Haren allowed nine hits while striking out five and walking two.
"You have to have a lot of patience sometimes on this job," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "The lineup is not swinging the bats very good. I like the way the pitching has been. Sometimes, it just takes time to jell."
With the Padres leading 3-2, Venable opened the fifth with a shot deep into the stands in right field, his sixth. Haren retired the next two batters before Alonso doubled to left-center and scored on rookie Jedd Gyorko's single to left.
Blanks then lined Haren's next pitch an estimated 383 feet off the side of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner for a 7-2 lead. It was his third.
The Padres jumped on Haren for three runs in the first on three hits and a walk. Carlos Quentin and rookie Jedd Gyorko had RBI doubles and Alonso a sacrifice fly.
The Nationals pulled to 3-2 in the fourth on Zimmerman's two-run homer that went an estimated 414 feet into the second deck in left, his third. Steve Lombardozzi was aboard on a leadoff infield single after his hard smash went off Cashner's glove. Cashner was knocked backward by the impact. He stayed in the game.
The Padres scored five runs on four hits, two walks and a sacrifice fly off Ryan Mattheus in the seventh. Cabrera had a two-run single.
Everth Cabrera and Gyorko each had two hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.