Villanueva’s two-run double lifts Padres past Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) — The San Diego Padres have come to count on Tyson Ross to deliver long, effective outings early in his second go-round with the franchise.
Wednesday was no different.
Ross (4-3) struck out nine and allowed one run while pitching 6 2/3 innings, and the Padres beat the Washington Nationals 3-1 to salvage the finale of a three-game series.
“He was outstanding,” manager Andy Green said. “I’ve said that over and over, almost every time he takes the mound right now. It’s like a broken record. He just continues to execute.”
Brad Hand recorded the final five outs for his 15th save, escaping a two-on, none-out jam in the ninth by striking out Michael A. Taylor and then inducing Spencer Kieboom to ground into a game-ending double play.
Ross, an All-Star selection in 2014 in his first stint with the Padres, missed much of the last two seasons after undergoing surgery to remove a rib and relieve pressure on his nerves. He played for the Texas Rangers last year and was signed by San Diego in the offseason, and he’s re-emerged as an anchor for the Padres’ rotation, pitching at least six innings in all but one of his 10 starts.
With an effective slider almost from the start, he encountered little trouble against Washington. Only one National reached second base in the first six innings.
“That’s the old Tyson Ross right there, really commanding everything he had,” Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper said.
Ross was especially sharp after San Diego staked him to a 1-0 lead on Manuel Margot’s RBI single in the fifth, setting down Washington in order in both the fifth and sixth.
“Pitching with a lead is awesome,” Ross said. “Guys are grinding and got that first run right there, and I just knew I had to shut it down right there.”
Ross nearly gave himself a greater cushion right after Margot’s single, but Bryce Harper’s diving catch robbed him of a hit.
Harper wasn’t so fortunate an inning later. Christian Villanueva lofted a two-out fly to right that glanced off Harper’s glove in a play originally scored an error but later changed to a double. It allowed two runs to score and ended Washington starter Erick Fedde’s season debut.
“That sun was tough,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “It’s just one of those plays. If he catches it, it was a great play. He happened not to catch it. He gave it his all to catch. Just didn’t go our way.”
It was a largely promising outing for Fedde (0-1), who had a 9.39 ERA in three starts last season. Washington recalled Fedde from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday to fill a spot in the rotation created when the Nationals played a doubleheader Saturday.
Fedde allowed three runs and five hits while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings.
“My stuff felt really good,” Fedde said. “This was by far the most comfortable I felt and it was definitely the start I was looking for, just not the finish.”
Matt Adams had three of Washington’s seven hits, including a solo homer to lead off the seventh.
San Diego has won seven of 11 since falling a season-worst 12 games under .500 on May 11.
“Offensively, we did enough,” Green said. “You look back at this road trip, and I know we continue in (Los Angeles) but we’re heading back to the West Coast with an off day. It’s a good 4-3 East Coast swing for us.”
Padres: OF Hunter Renfroe (elbow) homered twice and drove in three runs Wednesday for Triple-A El Paso. Renfroe is hitting .276 (8 for 29) in seven games on his rehabilitation assignment. ... Colin Rea allowed six hits and four runs in 3 1/3 innings Tuesday for Double-A San Antonio in his first rehab start since undergoing Tommy John surgery in November 2016.
Nationals: To make room for Fedde on the roster, Washington designated RHP Carlos Torres for assignment. Torres was 0-0 with a 6.52 ERA in 10 relief appearances.
Padres: San Diego’s trip continues in Los Angeles on Friday as LHP Clayton Richard (3-5, 4.87 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game set against the Dodgers.
Nationals: After a day off, Washington begins a three-city trip in Miami on Friday. RHP Max Scherzer (7-1, 1.78) will start on five days of rest.
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