The Washington Nationals rebounded nicely from Sunday's ninth inning walk-off loss to the Reds with an 8-5 win over the San Diego Padres in the opener of their short two-game series. Washington took the San Diego staff deep on three different occasions, including rookie Bryce Harper's first major league homer in the bottom of the third. Harper caught a low Tim Stauffer breaking ball on the sweet spot and took it to straight away center.
The Harper homer gave Ross Detwiler an early 4-1 lead, but the Nats' starter was not particularly sharp. Detwiler gave the lead up in the bottom of the third as the Padres, who do not have a muderers' row of bats, put a three-spot on the board to make it 4-4. Washington lost rookie catcher Sandy Leon during the Pads' rally, after Chase Headley barreled into him at home plate leading to a sprained right ankle and trip to the DL.
Ian Desmond put the Nats back in front in the sixth, doubling home Rick Ankiel and Jesus Flores. The Nats would then add some insurance for Henry Rodriguez in the 8th inning. Pinch hitter Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady both took Luke Gregorson pitches into the right field bleachers. Tracy turned on one to hit a high shot into the first row, while Nady went the other way to make it 8-5.
The insurance came in handy, as Davey Johnson was forced to pull Rodriguez after he loaded the bases for the second straight game. He gave up a walk-off grand slam to Joey Votto on Sunday, and Johnson yanked him on Monday after three walks. Sean Burnett came on and quickly induced a game-ending double play back to the mound to save the 8-5 win.
Stephen Strasburg will make his first career start against his hometown team in a Tuesday matinee at 1:00 p.m. ET. Anthony Bass will take the mound for the Padres.
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