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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, May 14th (All times Eastern)

San Diego Padres (12-23) at Washington Nationals (21-13), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Tim Stauffer (0-0, 0.00) Washington - Ross Detwiler (3-2, 2.10)

(Sports Network) - A late-game collapse on Mother's Day cost the Washington Nationals a chance for a three-game sweep and first place in the NL East.

Washington is hoping a return to the nation's capital to start a seven-game homestand will get them back to the top of the division. Sitting one-half game behind Atlanta in the standings, the Nationals will open a brief two-game set versus the San Diego Padres tonight.

The Nationals blew a 6-3 advantage over the final two innings in Sunday's 9-6 loss at Cincinnati in the finale of a three-game series from Great American Ball Park. Jay Bruce pulled the Reds within one at 6-5 with a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning and Joey Votto cracked a game-winning grand slam with two outs in the ninth off Nats closer Henry Rodriguez.

"That's a tough loss," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said on the team's website. "Rodriguez has done such a great job. You just can't walk guys like that. You don't want Votto up there ever. He walked the guys he should have gotten out. It was a tough night, the conditions and everything, but we gave them some cheap runs and you can't do that."

Danny Espinosa had two hits and a pair of RBI, while Jesus Flores, Adam LaRoche and Roger Bernadina all finished with two hits and drove in a run for the Nationals, who pounded out 16 hits to Cincinnati's nine and had a three- game winning streak come to an end. The Nats have lost four of seven games.

Rookie phenom Bryce Harper had two hits and two runs scored in defeat. The Nationals will also host Pittsburgh and Baltimore on their homestand and are scheduled to hand Ross Detwiler the ball Monday night. Detwiler has dropped two of his previous three starts since opening the campaign 2-0 in his first three, and is coming off Wednesday's 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Pirates.

Detwiler gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings, falling to 3-2 in six starts and raising his earned run average from 1.59 to 2.10. The lefty, who has lasted at least six frames in four straight starts, has never faced the Padres in his career and is 2-0 in three starts at Nationals Park in 2012.

San Diego lost two of three in Philadelphia to open a five-game road trip and suffered a 3-2 loss in Sunday's series finale.

Jeff Suppan got the start for the Padres and was dealt his first loss of the season (2-1) after he allowed three runs -- two earned -- and six hits in six innings of work. Jesus Guzman had two hits and drove in a run, while Cameron Maybin went 2-for-5 at the plate for the Padres, losers in six of nine games.

"Jeff pitched well. Six solid innings ... like we talk about, he did his job. We just didn't generate enough offense against the Phillies," said Padres manager Bud Black.

Yonder Alonso's hitting streak ended at nine games for San Diego, which will send Tim Stauffer to the hill today for his season debut. Stauffer suffered a right elbow injury near the end of Spring Training and feels confident to be back in action.

"I'm definitely excited to get back out there," Stauffer said Sunday on the team's website. "It's been a long time in coming. But I feel ready to go."

Stauffer went 9-12 with a 3.73 ERA in a career-high 31 starts last season and made three minor league appearances with Class A Lake Elsinore and Triple-A Tucson. The righty will make his fifth career start against the Nationals and is 2-1 to go along with a 1.66 ERA through the initial four starts. Stauffer is entering his seventh season in the majors -- all with the Friars.

San Diego lost two of three meetings to Washington at home from April 24-26 and has dropped five of the past six matchups in this series. It could get worse for the Padres since the Nationals are 12-4 in D.C. this season.

05/14 10:36:23 ET