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Nats hope to build momentum in opener with Padres
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Nationals try to build some momentum when they start a four-game series versus the San Diego Padres Thursday.
The Nationals salvaged the finale of a three-game series versus the L.A. Angels of Anaheim with Wednesday's thrilling 5-4 win. The Nats posted four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, as Jose Lobaton led off with a home run and Jayson Werth later stroked a two-run double before scoring the game- winning run on an Adam LaRoche base hit.
LaRoche's third hit of the evening off Angels reliever Ernesto Frieri was a big one and lifted Washington to a 3-4 mark on its current 11-game homestand.
"He left a fastball up over the plate," LaRoche said. "In that situation, just trying to hit something hard."
Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez was credited with an RBI and did not record a decision after he was reached for two runs in five innings. He left the game in the sixth inning because of tightness in his left shoulder, but it's not supposed to be serious.
The late-game heroics made a winner out of Drew Storen, who recorded the final out of the game.
Jordan Zimmermann will take the ball at Nationals Park and is coming off a loss to St. Louis last Saturday. Zimmermann allowed four runs -- one earned -- in seven innings for Washington, which dropped a 4-3 decision and is 2-2 in the right-hander's starts this season.
Zimmermann threw seven innings of two-run ball in a win at Miami on April 14. He is 1-2 with a solid 1.95 ERA in five career starts against San Diego.
The Padres lost two of three at Milwaukee to begin a 10-game road trip and are coming off Wednesday's 5-2 loss at Miller Park. Tyson Ross was banged around for five runs and nine hits, including two homers, over six innings in the start for San Diego, which has lost three of four overall.
San Diego was down 5-1 early on and never recovered.
"He just couldn't get ahead of hitters and put them away," Padres manager Bud Black said of Ross. "They jumped out on some balls that were out of over the plate. The big blow was the home run."
Seth Smith and Nick Hundley each drove in a run in the loss.
Eric Stults aims for back-to-back wins when he takes the mound for San Diego at Nationals Park. Stults threw six innings of one-run ball and scattered three hits in a 3-1 win over San Francisco last Saturday.
Stults lowered his earned run average from 5.52 to 4.35 and is 1-2 in four starts. The left-hander won his only appearance against the Nationals last May 18, holding them to a run and four hits in eight innings of a 2-1 victory.
The Padres, will also visit the Giants on this lengthy trip, lost five of seven matchups with Washington last season and are only 4-11 in the previous 15 meetings between the teams.
Washington swept a three-game set at home versus the Padres last July 5-7.
04/24 10:21:27 ET