Apr 24, 2014, 3:15 PM EST
Today the Nationals host the San Diego Padres in the first of a four-game series at Nationals Park, the final series of this season-long homestand. The Nats were victorious last night in a walk-off thriller, and will look to keep it going today.
Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 3.92) is set to pitch for Washington with lefty Eric Stults (1-2, 4.35) starting for the Padres. Zimmermann has made five career starts against San Diego before. He is 1-2 with a 1.95 ERA against them.
Stults, 34, has one start against the Nationals on his record. He faced them on May 18 of last year at Petco Park and went eight innings with just one run allowed on four hits and two walks. The Padres won that game 2-1, though the Nationals took the season series five games to two.
Updates to come, please check back…
SAN DIEGO PADRES VS. WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, 1500 AM, XM 183, MLB.com
Weather: Sunny, 62 degrees, Wind 6 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
3B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
LF Bryce Harper
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Jordan Zimmermann
SS Everth Cabrera
RF Chris Denorfia
LF Seth Smith
C Yasmani Grandal
3B Chase Headley
1B Yonder Alonso
2B Jedd Gyorko
CF Wil Venable
LHP Eric Stults
HP Cory Blaser
1B Jim Joyce (cc)
2B Doug Eddings
3B Marvin Hudson
7:06 p.m. — And we’re underway. Jordan Zimmermann fires ball one to Everth Cabrera.
7:09 p.m. — Wow, how many guys do you see give up a leadoff single but still get out of the inning on six total pitches? NIce job by Zimmermann getting a double-play grounder out of Chris Denorfia and then getting Seth Smith to tap a comebacker to wrap up a 1-2-3 top of the first.
7:19 p.m. — The good news: Denard Span and Adam LaRoche singled in the bottom of the first. The bad news: Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth each grounded to short and might have been doubled up if not for Jedd Gyorko’s weak arm, and then with runners on the corners and two outs Ian Desmond struck out looking, killing a potential rally. Scoreless after one.
7:25 p.m. — Make it two scoreless innings on 14 pitches for Zimmermann. And now the Padres have lost one of their few big bats. Chase Headley has been replaced at third base by Alexi Amarista for reasons yet unknown.
7:38 p.m. — Another quick inning for Zimmermann, who retired the side in the top of the third. He’s thrown 20-of-28 pitches for strikes so far and has faced the minimum, striking out three. The right-hander looks really sharp so far.
7:51 p.m. — An observation based on three innings of Padres baseball I’ve now seen in person this season: Jed Gyorko does not have Danny Espinosa’s arm at second base. Not even close. If he did, he might have turned three double plays already. Instead, his weak arm helped the Nats take the lead in the bottom of the third. Gyorko couldn’t get Denard Span doubled up on a grounder to short. That allowed Span to steal second, take third on Stults’ wild pickoff attempt and then score on Rendon’s sac fly to left. It’s 1-0 Nats after one.
8:02 p.m. — The Padres get the run right back in the top of the fourth. Chris Denorfia singled off Zimmermann, then scored on Seth Smith’s double to the right-field corner, just beating Espinosa’s strong relay throw to the plate. It was pretty close, just a tick too late. The Nats’ defense helped Zimmermann get out of the inning, with LaRoche making the rare throw across the diamond from first to third to get Smith into a rundown and prevent another run from scoring. But it’s now 1-1 in the middle of the fourth.
8:19 p.m. — Zimmermann gets back to business in the fifth, retiring the side. Espinosa, meanwhile notched his league-leading sixth bunt single in the bottom of the fourth. That’s particularly impressive when you consider how well Danny has been swinging the bat overall. It’s not like he’s forced to bunt because he’s not making solid contact otherwise. Still 1-1, middle of the fifth.
8:34 p.m. — Man, Desmond can’t buy a break right now. He just smoked a line drive to right field, but right at Denorfia to end the fifth and strand two men on base. Ian is now 0 for his last 11 and has seen his batting average drop to .205. It’s been a rough week for the shortstop. Still 1-1 heading to the sixth.
8:49 p.m. — (Chase taking over) The Padres took the lead in the top of the sixth thanks to a two-RBI double by Grandal. Stults, yes the pitcher, led off with an opposite field double. Smith walked two batters later. And Grandal then doubled to right field to score both runners. The Padres have already surpassed their MLB-worst average of 2.72 runs per game.
9:03 p.m. — The Nats notched another run in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run by Espinosa. He roped a line drive over the fence in left field to cut the lead to 3-2. Jerry Blevins will take over for Zimmermann.
9:16 p.m. — Not much to report from the top of the seventh. They got a man on with a two-out walk by Venable, but that was it. Right-hander Nick Vincent will take over as the Padres’ pitcher.
9:24 p.m. — Another solo home run for the Nationals, this one by LaRoche, his fourth of the season. The game is now tied 3-3 with Tyler Clippard coming in to pitch the top of the eighth.
9:38 p.m. — Whew, that was close. Clippard got into some trouble, but walked away with the game still tied. He gave up a one-out single to Denorfia, then walked Smith. Grandal then hit a sac fly to deep center to move Denorfia to third. With two outs, Clippard was able to retire Grandal and Amarista to fly out to deep center. Still 3-3.
9:51 p.m. — The Nats saw Espinosa lead off with a single, and him advance to second on a wild pitch, but no runs come across. Lobaton and McLouth both struck out swinging and Span flied out to the first baseman. Rafael Soriano will now take over.
10:03 p.m. — The ninth inning saw Matt Williams’ win his first challenge call of the 2014 season. Alonso led off with a walk and then stole second with zero outs. But a second look revealed Espinosa had tagged Alonso before the first baseman’s foot touched the bag. Soriano cleaned up the rest and we are on to the bottom of the eighth.
10:19 p.m. — The Nats loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but this one will take extra innings as they couldn’t bring home a run. Werth singled, Desmond walked and Harper was intentionally walked with two outs. Espinosa – who has three hits tonight – then popped up to Cabrera at short. Craig Stammen will pitch the tenth.
10:25 p.m. — That was quick. Stammen got Xavier Nady, Cabrera and Denorfia all to ground out. On to the bottom of the tenth.
10:38 p.m. – Lobaton led off with a double down down the foul line in left field, but three straight strikeouts by Walters, Span and Rendon ended the inning. On to the 11th.
10:46 p.m. — Another 1-2-3 inning for Stammen and Werth will come up in the bottom of the 11th looking to hit his second walk-off in as many days.
10:59 p.m. — Ready for the 12th inning? Three up, three down for the Nats in the bottom of the 11th, so that’s our reality. With the Padres having the worst offense in baseball, this could be a long one. Stammen will pitch his third inning up next.
11:13 p.m. — The Padres scored a run in the top of the 12th, a go-ahead score that the Nats will have to answer. Gyorko singled with one out and moved all the way to third with two outs after stealing second, and then taking another base on a Lobaton throwing error. Former Nats player Xavier Nady then singled up the middle to score Gyorko. Of course that happened, right? 4-3 Padres with Tyler Moore set to pinch-hit for Stammen. Harper leads off.
11:23 p.m. — 6-4 double play ends the game. Padres take the series opener 4-3 in 12 innings.
COUNTDOWN TO OPENING DAY
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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