Adam Laroche and Bryce Harper lead the Nationals over the Padres 5-4

WP – R. Ohlendorf (2-0) LP – N. Vincent (2-1)

S – R. Soriano (24)

Adam Laroche got the scoring started with a solo homerun in the bottom of the third inning for the Washington Nationals.  Laroche went 2-for-4 for the day but arguably made a much more important contribution with his glove, robbing All-Star Everth Cabrera of a game-tying hit to get the last out with a great diving stop in the top of the ninth.  Bryce Harper, announced as a starter for the All Star game today, also came up big at the plate going 1-for-2, with an RBI in three different at-bats on a walk with the bases loaded in the fourth, a single in the bottom of the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh. Harper also had a great diving catch in the outfield that saved a run from scoring.

Denard Span continues to improve his OBP as he went 2-for-3 with a walk. He also stole a base and scored two runs beginning to show what the Nationals expected when they obtained him from the Minnesota Twins before the season.

Jordan Zimmermann was attempting to be the first 13 game winner in the National League and went five and a third innings before being lifted for Ross Ohlendorf. Zimmermann (12-3) gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with four strikeouts on the day.  The rumor is that Zimmermann is dealing with tightness in his neck, first noticed in his last start, both of which have been his shortest of the year thus far.  Hopefully it’s nothing serious and Zimmermann can make his next scheduled start before the All Star game.

Ohlendorf had what is probably his worst outing as a National to date, allowing a three run homerun to Jesus Guzman in his first batter.  He clamped down after that and closed out the inning with no more damage and would also pitch the seventh allowing no one else to score.  The Nationals would score two runs in the bottom of the seventh to give Ohlendorf the win.  This is the second time in three games where a reliever gave up a three run homerun to cost a starter a win, only to end up the winning pitcher.

The Padres starter was Jason Marquis, a former National, who pitched six innings giving up three runs on eight hits, three walks and three strikeouts.  He escaped several jams early on, especially in the bottom of the third when the Nationals had the bases loaded with two outs but only managed one run.

Drew Storen had a great outing, retiring the Padres in order on five pitches which had to feel good after two consecutive challenging outings.  Rafael Soriano had to overcome some interesting drama to get his 24th save. Soriano allowed two base runners to advance to second and third with two outs before getting Cabrera to ground out to Laroche.

The Nationals improve to three games over .500 at 45-42, and are now 40-10 in games that they score more than three runs.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005.

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