Strasburg beats hometown Padres again, Harper homers in Nationals' 10-5 win



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SAN DIEGO — Bryce Harper slid into third base with the Washington Nationals' first hit, popped up and pumped his first.

Four batters later in the fifth inning, Danny Espinosa drove a three-run home run to right field, and the Nationals and Stephen Strasburg were on their way to a 10-5 victory against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

Harper also had a three-run homer, an opposite-field shot in the seventh that capped a 3-for-3 day. Harper also had an infield RBI single, a triple and a walk. Needing a double for the cycle, he grounded to first, ending the ninth.

The big beneficiary was Strasburg, who rebounded from a rough start to beat his hometown Padres for the fourth straight time.

"It's progress," Strasburg said. "You've got to keep plugging along. My command of the fastball was a little bit better today. The curveball was a little bit better today. That big three-run home homer by Espy, I mean, what's not to like? It was pretty cool being in the on-deck circle and seeing it go out."

Strasburg (3-4), who went to West Hills High in suburban Santee and pitched for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, improved to 4-1 against the Padres, including 2-0 at Petco Park.to 4-1 against the Padres, including 2-0 at Petco Park.

He was coming off a start he called embarrassing, when he allowed career-high eight runs in only 3 1-3 innings in a 14-6 loss at Arizona. In his outing before that, he left early because of a tight back and later visited a chiropractor.

Given a 7-2 lead, Strasburg pitched into the sixth for the first time in three starts. He allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings, struck out seven and walked one. He was chased after allowing a double and single opening the sixth.

"He was OK today," manager Matt Williams said. "He had a little stress early. He had a high pitch count early but settled in enough to get into the sixth inning anyway. If he didn't have any issues there then we would have let him go through that inning, too. He was much better than last time for sure. Something to build on."

The Nationals won the final three of the four-game series and for the 15th time in 19 games.

"Everybody swung well in the later innings and it was a lot of fun to see Stras do what he did," Harper said.

Justin Upton homered twice for the Padres, raising his season total to 10, and Jedd Gyorko hit his second. San Diego's revamped roster has scored only six runs in its last three games.

Given a 7-2 lead, Strasburg pitched into the sixth for the first time in three starts. He allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings, struck out seven and walked one. He was chased after allowing a double and single opening the sixth.

Strasburg fell behind 2-0 after allowing Matt Kemp's RBI infield hit in the first and Upton's home run to left with two outs in the third. Upton hit another solo shot in the eighth, off Tanner Roark.

Ian Kennedy (2-3) held Washington hitless for four innings before running into trouble in the fifth and falling apart in the sixth.

Harper tripled into the right-field corner leading off the fifth and Ryan Zimmerman followed with an infield single to third. Kennedy retired Tyler Moore and Jose Lobaton before Espinosa drove an 0-1 pitch an estimated 383 feet into the Jack Daniel's party deck atop the right-field wall for a 3-2 lead.

Kennedy walked the bases loaded opening the sixth. Lefty Frank Garces came on to face Harper, who hit a nubber down the third-base line for an RBI infield single. Zimmerman hit a sacrifice fly and Moore hit a two-run double for a 7-2 lead.

"I almost pitched out of it," Kennedy said. "I was one out away, one pitch away, from closing the fifth inning out, and it was a big blow but I was trying to go out and throw the sixth inning and missed them by a little bit, off on fastballs. It's pretty frustrating because it was such a good start. I thought it was going to be another good day."

Kennedy allowed six runs, three hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out six.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: OF Jayson Werth missed his second straight game after getting hit on the left wrist by a pitch Friday night.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Washington is off Monday before opening a two-game series against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, when LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.25 ERA) is scheduled to oppose RHP Nathan Eovaldi (3-1, 4.14).

Padres: San Diego is off Monday before welcoming Kris Bryant and the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night for the opener of a three-game series. Bryant starred at the University of San Diego. The scheduled starters are RHP Jason Hammel (3-1, 3.11) for the Cubs and RHP James Shields (5-0, 3.91) for the Padres.

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