Padres Postgame (8/12): Offense shines in Soto’s return to D.C.
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On a relatively normal day, up until five minutes before the San Diego Padres’ game in Washington, the baseball world was caught by surprise with shocking news: Fernando Tatis Jr. had been issued an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. We broke this down more in a recent article, which you can find by clicking here.
Moving away from the Tatis news, however, the Padres had an important contest against the Nationals that, aside from Juan Soto’s return to Washington, began an integral six-game stretch on the east coast for the Friars. They’ll play two more games against the Nationals before heading to Miami to square off against the Marlins.
San Diego threatened early, putting a runner in scoring position from the first at-bat after Jurickson Profar doubled. The Padres failed to plate their leadoff man, however, and didn’t scratch a run across until the fourth inning. There, Brandon Drury ripped a double down the left field line and came around to score on Ha-Seong Kim’s two-out single to left field.
The top of the Padres’ lineup manufactured offense again in the top half of the fifth. Profar kicked things off with a leadoff walk and Soto followed up by ripping a loud double off the right field wall, missing a home run by a few feet. That chased starter Cory Abbott from the game, who had actually effectively limited the Padres’ deep lineup throughout his starting. Victor Arano entered and Manny Machado greeted him nicely, clobbering the first pitch he saw to deep left-center field for a two-run double.
San Diego capitalized on a defensive miscue by the Nationals to plate another run. Jake Cronenworth stung what appeared to be a routine double play to the shortstop, but beat it out down the line and forced an early throw to avoid an out and bring Machado home. This mistake proved to be more costly than just one run, however, as Trent Grisham clobbered a lower-half fastball 442 feet at 110.4 mph for a three-run blast. After singles by Austin Nola and Profar, Soto peppered an outer-half fastball to right field for another run, finishing the inning up 8-0.
Washington pushed a run home in the fifth inning of Padres’ starter Mike Clevinger on an infield groundout from Nelson Cruz. That was all for Clevinger, who covered five innings on 94 pitches, scattering three hits and punching out three. Though he only allowed one run, Clevinger clearly didn’t have his best stuff in this outing. He had to overcome a bases-loaded jam in the first and struggled to miss bats, working deep into counts with Nationals’ hitters while walking four. Either way, he kept his opposition off the board until his team’s offense exploded, which is absolutely a positive.
The Nationals scored a run in the bottom half of the sixth inning on a two-out RBI single by Ildemaro Vargas off reliever Nabil Crismatt. Washington threatened again in the seventh, but Crismatt completed his two-inning stint by escaping out of a first-and-third jam. The Padres wasted no time adding that run back, and then some, in the top of the eighth on a two-run shot to left field by Drury. Drury, who’s homered three times since the trade deadline and has had two more robbed from him, has 23 blasts and 73 RBIs on the season.
Despite a ninth-inning rally effort by the Nationals, the Padres held on to win this game 10-5 and improved to 64-51 on the season, while the Nationals dropped to 37-77.
+ Brandon Drury: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 3 RS, BB
+ Trent Grisham: 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, RS, BB
+ Mike Clevinger: 5 IP, ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 3 K, W
+ Juan Soto: 2-for-6, 2B, RBI, RS
+ Manny Machado: 2-for-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 RS
+ Ha-Seong Kim: 2-for-5, 2B, RBI
+ Jurickson Profar: 2-for-4, 2B, BB, RS
These two teams square off again tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. PST. San Diego trots out staff-ace Yu Darvish (10-5), while Anibal Sanchez (0-5) opposes for the Nationals.