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Erlin shaky in spot start as Friars fall in DC

Reyes belts first Major League home run in fourth inning
Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Coming out of the bullpen, Robbie Erlin has been lights-out. As a starter, he's been lit up.

Erlin hoped to give the Padres a boost in a spot start Monday at Nationals Park, but the southpaw ran into trouble early and often, giving up six runs in four innings as San Diego saw its season-high-tying three-game winning streak halted in a 10-2 defeat against Washington.

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WASHINGTON -- Coming out of the bullpen, Robbie Erlin has been lights-out. As a starter, he's been lit up.

Erlin hoped to give the Padres a boost in a spot start Monday at Nationals Park, but the southpaw ran into trouble early and often, giving up six runs in four innings as San Diego saw its season-high-tying three-game winning streak halted in a 10-2 defeat against Washington.

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"Bottom line, no matter what inning it is, the job is to get three outs and get back in the dugout," Erlin said. "Tonight, it didn't happen."

A solid outing may have solidified a spot in the rotation for Erlin as the Padres wait for Joey Lucchesi to recover from a hip injury, but San Diego manager Andy Green said things are not settled for Lucchesi's next turn Sunday.

"We looked at it as a spot start," Green said. "We think [Erlin] has done a very good job in the bullpen -- you can separate his numbers as a starter and a reliever -- but I will sit down and evaluate where we go for the next start if Joey's not able to make it. I'm doubtful that he is, at this point in time. So we'll check and see what our options are and try to make a determination where we go next start."

The Padres were hoping Erlin could apply his stellar bullpen numbers and lessons learned from his first start, on April 16, to this assignment. But after a solid first inning, in which he retired the Nationals in order, the wheels quickly fell off. Erlin gave up four consecutive hits in the second, the most damaging of which was a three-run homer to rookie Juan Soto that put San Diego in a 3-0 hole. Erlin also allowed back-to-back RBI doubles later in the frame to make it a 5-0 deficit.

"Soto was a fastball up and if I remember correctly, it was down the middle and didn't get to an edge. The pitches need to be more competitive, plain and simple," Erlin said. "Poor fastball command makes it difficult to get by with your off-speed."

Combined with the five earned runs he allowed in his first start this season, Erlin's ERA as a starter is now 14.14, a far cry from his 1.96 ERA in relief. Green suggested that perhaps teams get more time to prepare for Erlin as a starter and create a different plan of attack.

"The other team has a day to prepare for him and see his stuff and set a lineup to face him, rather than he comes in and is on the attack right away where guys aren't prepared as much," Green said. "Robbie's done a great job for us in the bullpen. The two starts haven't gone well. We'll re-evaluate kind of what we do going forward with him as far as a role goes."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Right fielder Franmil Reyes provided the lone offensive bright spot for the Padres, connecting for his first career home run in the fourth inning, a two-run shot that traveled 398 feet with an exit velocity of 108 mph, according to Statcast™.

Video: SD@WSH: Reyes launches his first career home run

Reyes' homer didn't put much of a dent in the scoreboard, but the 22-year-old certainly showed his power potential, going opposite field on the 1-0 pitch from lefty Gio Gonzalez. Reyes had 14 homers this season at Triple-A El Paso before being promoted on May 14, though he had been just 2-for-17 in the Majors.

Reyes showed off his souvenir in the clubhouse after trading a bat and taking a picture with the fan who caught the ball. He said his mother would get the ball and his wife and daughters would receive the lineup card. More >

SOUND SMART
Monday marked the first time that Eric Hosmer played a game at Nationals Park, making Washington the last MLB city that Hosmer has visited during his career.

Hosmer singled in the eighth to give him at least one hit in 29 of the 30 current ballparks. The first baseman has yet to play at Atlanta's SunTrust Park, which opened last season.

HE SAID IT
"I don't know. Good question. I'd say maybe just those three days I wasn't very sharp. You have to keep the ball down and keep it moving, and I didn't do that tonight, and I probably didn't do that the last couple of times." -- Erlin, who now has a 15.92 ERA in three career starts at Nationals Park, the second-highest ERA at the ballpark all time, only behind Matt Garza's 19.85

UP NEXT
Eric Lauer (1-2, 8.14 ERA) makes his sixth career start in a 4:05 p.m. PT contest against the Nationals' Jeremy Hellickson on Tuesday. The 22-year-old Lauer is looking for some consistency after not making it out of the fifth inning in his last two starts.

Elliott Smith is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington D.C.

San Diego Padres, Robbie Erlin, Franmil Reyes