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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, May 15th (All times Eastern)

San Diego Padres (12-24) at Washington Nationals (22-13), 1:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Anthony Bass (1-4, 3.23) Washington - Stephen Strasburg (3-0, 1.64)

(Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals are back in first place in the National League East and look to remain there when they wrap up a two-game series today with the San Diego Padres.

Washington took the opener of this set with Monday's 8-5 victory behind homers from rookie phenom Bryce Harper, Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy. Ian Desmond had three hits, two RBI and two runs scored, as the Nationals recorded their fourth win in five tries and improved to 8-4 in the past 12 contests.

Harper went deep for the first time in his young career.

"I was trying to go up there and get a knock. That's all I was worried about. I was trying to get something I could drive and go out of the ballpark," said Harper, who became the youngest player at 19 years, 211 days to hit a home run since Adrian Beltre circled the bases at 19 years, 171 days on Sept. 25, 1998.

Craig Stammen earned the win with two scoreless innings in relief of starter Ross Detwiler, while Sean Burnett got struggling closer Henry Rodriguez out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to record his first save of the year. Detwiler gave up five runs -- four earned -- in five innings.

The Nationals are one-half game ahead of Atlanta in the NL East and opened a seven-game homestand last night in winning fashion.

Washington pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg aims to stay unbeaten on the season when he makes his eighth start today. The hard-throwing right-hander last toed the rubber in Thursday's 4-2 win at Pittsburgh and held the hosts to two runs -- one earned -- on five hits and three walks in six innings.

Strasburg struck out a season-high 13 batters to improve to 3-0 in seven starts and lowered his ERA to 1.64. He has lasted at least six innings in every start this season and owns a 1-0 mark in three starts at National Park. Strasburg has never faced the Padres in his career.

San Diego lost for the seventh time in 10 tries last night. Tim Stauffer made his first start of the season and did not record a decision after he gave up four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in five innings. Miles Mikolas was saddled with the loss for surrendering a pair of runs in the sixth.

"Unfortunately, I put us in a little bit of a hole," Stauffer said. "It was a battle from the get-go. Obviously, there are some pitches I'd like to have back."

Orlando Hudson had two runs batted in, Yonder Alonso ended 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and Chase Headley posted two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Padres, who lost two of three in Philadelphia over the weekend. The Padres will return to Petco Park for a five-game homestand following Tuesday's game.

Anthony Bass gets the pitching call for the Padres Tuesday and has lost two of his last three appearances. In last Wednesday's 6-2 loss to Colorado, Bass allowed five runs -- one earned -- and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. The righty fell to 1-4 in eight games (6 starts) this season with a 3.23 ERA.

Bass has never faced Washington and is 0-2 in two road starts in 2012.

San Diego lost two of three meetings to Washington at home from April 24-26 and has dropped six of the past seven matchups in this series. It could get worse for the Padres since the Nationals are 13-4 in D.C. this season.

05/15 10:39:34 ET