Padres squash Nationals

Padres squash Nationals
May 15, 2012, 8:09 pm
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Game in a nutshell: What looked like an advantageous matchup for the Nationals -- Stephen Strasburg against one of the majors' least-productive lineups -- turned sour right from the get-go. Strasburg surrendered three runs during a rain-delayed top of the first, gave up a homer in the third and never got on track. The Nationals' lineup, meanwhile, was shut down by the heretofore unheralded Anthony Bass. Only Bryce Harper, who connected for his second homer in as many days, managed to deliver for the Nationals.

Hitting highlight: There sure wasn't much to choose from in this category, so the gold star has to go to the kid. Less than 24 hours after clubbing his first career home run, Harper did it again, sending a 1-0 pitch from Bass into the center field bleachers. There was no curtain call this time for the rookie, but Harper did become the first teenager to hit big-league homers on consecutive days since Ken Griffey Jr. did it for the Mariners on May 20-21, 1989.
Pitching lowlight: You had a feeling this might not be Strasburg's day when the game's first batter lofted what looked like a routine fly ball to shallow left-center ... and then wound up on second base with a double after Roger Bernadina, Rick Ankiel and Ian Desmond watched it fall into the Bermuda Triangle. Things only got worse for Strasburg after that, especially after a cloudburst soaked everyone during that torturous first inning, resulting in an 8-minute delay. By the time it finally ended, Strasburg had allowed three runs and thrown a whopping 39 pitches. And because of that, the right-hander lasted only four innings, getting pulled with his pitch count at 81. It matched the second-shortest start of Strasburg's career.

Key stat: After giving up more than three earned runs only three times in their first 34 games this season, the Nationals rotation has now done it twice in as many days.
Up next: After wrapping up a rare, two-game series, the Nationals open another Wednesday night against the Pirates. Left-handers Gio Gonzalez and Erik Bedard square off at 7:05 p.m