Gio Gonzalez, Nationals send Padres to 7th straight loss

WASHINGTON -- Washington manager Davey Johnson has seen these kinds of games from the Nationals offense.

This time he thinks they'll sustain it.

Wilson Ramos drove in three runs, Gio Gonzalez won his third straight start and the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 8-5 Friday night.

Jayson Werth had three hits and Denard Span added a two-run double for Washington, which has won two straight, scoring eight runs and getting at least 10 hits in each game.

"I like the way the lineup is swinging the bat really. They're good at-bats, quality at-bats," Johnson said. "That's what I've been looking for. It takes the pressure off everybody in the lineup. They feel like they can stay within themselves and not try to do too much."

Ramos has driven in eight runs in two games since coming off the disabled list on Thursday.

"He kind of got us going early today and he's been a big impact so far these last two games," Span said of Ramos.

One hitter not thriving is Bryce Harper. The left fielder went 0 for 4 with a sacrifice fly Friday night and is 1 for 19 since his return.

Johnson said he'll probably give Harper a couple of days off this weekend.

"He expects a lot of himself and I think coming back from that long layoff he's just not as relaxed as he likes," Johnson said. "He's probably not at 100 percent physically either. It's a good time (to rest him) before we go on the road trip."

Chase Headley homered, doubled and drove in two runs, and Carlos Quentin had a three-run homer for the Padres, who've lost seven straight, but scored more than two runs for the first time in that stretch.

Gonzalez (6-3) went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out five and walking one. He allowed a first-inning run and pitched out of a jam in the second when he struck out three straight with runners on second and third.

"It was just one of those days you have to battle through, but defense came through and offense was as wonderful as it gets," Gonzalez said. "They were up there getting runs and producing them and my job was just trying to keep them in the game as much as possible."

He went through a six-game stretch during which the Nationals scored two runs or fewer, but is now getting good run support. Washington has scored 25 runs in his past three starts.

Gonzalez left with an 8-2 lead and a runner on first with two outs in the seventh. Chris Denorfia (3 for 4) singled off reliever Craig Stammen and Quentin hit Stammen's first pitch into the seats beyond the visitor's bullpen to make it 8-5.

Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth and Rafael Soriano the ninth for his 23rd save.

Padres starter Andrew Cashner (5-4) had his worst outing of this season, lasting just two innings while giving up six runs and five hits. He had three walks and no strikeouts.

The Nationals trailed 1-0 when Ryan Zimmerman singled to lead off the second inning. With one out and a 3-2 count, Werth fouled off four pitches before singling to left. Werth is 6 for 7 in two games hitting in the No. 6 spot in the lineup with Ian Desmond moving to the second spot.

"I think he likes that," Johnson said when asked if Werth likes having an inning to watch the opposing pitcher. "I think he also likes the fact that at five or six, you're generally going to have a lot of guys on and he's more aggressive when he's in that spot. And I like that about him."

After Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases, Ramos grounded a single to left, scoring Zimmerman and Werth. Gonzalez was hit by a pitch and Span doubled down the right-field line scoring two more runs.

"The inning just snowballed on (Cashner). Just didn't make many good pitches," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Tonight every good pitch that he did throw, they fought it off or took it. Every borderline pitch they took for ball. They had some really good at bats."

Harper drove in the fifth run with a sacrifice fly.

"We have a deep lineup and it definitely puts pressure on opposing pitchers," Span said of the big inning. "We should be able to do that. It was definitely fun. I love getting up five or six times a game."

Headley homered in the third to make it 5-2.

Ramos singled home LaRoche in the bottom of the third.

In the fourth, Desmond scored on a LaRoche single and Zimmerman scored on a Werth groundout to make it 8-2.

The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the first when Denorfia doubled and scored on a two-out double by Headley.

Game notes

Headley is hitting .377 for his career at Nationals Park. ... The Padres activated Cabrera (strained left hamstring) from the 15-day DL Friday. He started and went 0 for 5. To make room for him, the Padres optioned RHP Burch Smith to Triple A Tucson. ... Washington RHP Ryan Mattheus (broken right hand) threw from the mound for the first time since going on the DL May 22. ... Padres RHP Jason Marquis (9-4, 3.74) opposes Jordan Zimmermann (12-3, 2.46) Saturday.

MLB News