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Padres' rally falls short in 8-5 loss to Nationals

Saturday - 7/6/2013, 12:12am  ET

San Diego Padres' Everth Cabrera taps his helmet as he walks to the batter's box during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Friday, July 5, 2013, in Washington. Cabrera made the final out and the Nationals won 8-5. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

HARVEY VALENTINE
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- After a week of struggles, the Padres offense showed some positive signs Friday night against the Nationals.

But it wasn't enough to overcome a big early deficit.

Wilson Ramos drove in three runs, Gio Gonzalez won his third straight start and the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 8-5 Friday night.

Chase Headley homered, doubled and drove in two runs, and Carlos Quentin had a three-run homer for the Padres, who've lost seven straight. It was the first time in seven games San Diego had scored more than two runs.

"Some good signs offensively from a few guys but there's still a couple of guys that aren't swinging well, so we got to get those guys going," manager Bud Black said.

San Diego trailed 8-2 after four innings, but pulled within 8-5 on Quentin's homer in the seventh.

"After Carlos hit that home run -- we had five runs on the board -- I think for a second there, it was almost like we were winning," Chris Denorfia (3 for 4) said.

"Obviously we weren't, but it's a feeling that we haven't had in the dugout for a while -- that there were some dangerous bats in the lineup."

Jayson Werth had three hits and Denard Span added a two-run double for Washington, which has won two straight.

Ramos has driven in eight runs in two games since coming off the disabled list on Thursday.

Gonzalez (6-3) went 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while striking out five and walking one.

"It was just one of those days you have to battle through, but defense came through and offense was as wonderful as it gets," Gonzalez said. "They were up there getting runs and producing them and my job was just trying to keep them in the game as much as possible."

Gonzalez left with an 8-2 lead and a runner on first with two outs in the seventh. Denorfia singled off reliever Craig Stammen and Quentin hit Stammen's first pitch into the seats beyond the visitor's bullpen to make it 8-5.

Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth and Rafael Soriano the ninth for his 23rd save.

Padres starter Andrew Cashner (5-4) had his worst start of this season, lasting just two innings while giving up six runs and five hits. He had three walks and no strikeouts.

The Nationals trailed 1-0 when Ryan Zimmerman singled to lead off the second inning. With one out and a 3-2 count, Werth fouled off four pitches before singling to left. Werth is 6 for 7 in two games hitting in the No. 6 spot in the lineup.

After Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases, Ramos grounded a single to left, scoring Zimmerman and Werth. Gonzalez was hit by a pitch and Span doubled down the right-field line scoring two more runs. Bryce Harper drove in the fifth run with a sacrifice fly.

"The inning just snowballed on (Cashner). Just didn't make many good pitches," Black said. "Tonight every good pitch that he did throw, they fought it off or took it. Every borderline pitch they took for ball. They had some really good at-bats."

Headley homered in the third to make it 5-2.

Ramos singled home LaRoche in the bottom of the third.

In the fourth against Padres reliever Tim Stauffer, Ian Desmond scored on a LaRoche single and Zimmerman scored on a groundout by Werth to make it 8-2.

The Padres took a 1-0 lead in the first. With one out, Denorfia doubled and scored on a two-out double by Headley.

San Diego had a chance in the second when Logan Forsythe singled and Jesus Guzman doubled, but Gonzalez fanned Yasmani Grandal, Cashner, and Everth Cabrera to end the threat.

"The story tonight was that we couldn't hold them down early in the game," Black said. "They got the big lead. Second half of the game we beat them the second half, they clobbered us the first half."

NOTES: Headley is hitting .377 for his career at Nationals Park. ... The Padres activated Cabrera (strained left hamstring) from the 15-day DL Friday. He started and went 0 for 5. To make room for him, the Padres optioned RHP Burch Smith to Triple A Tucson. ... Padres RHP Jason Marquis (9-4, 3.74) opposes Jordan Zimmermann (12-3, 2.46) Saturday.


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