SAN DIEGO -- After a long first inning, Travis Wood settled in Saturday. The same can be said of how he's feeling with the Padres.
Making his fifth start for San Diego, Wood pitched a season-high seven innings, holding the Nationals to one unearned run in a 3-1 victory. After needing 36 pitches to work around a pair of walks in the first inning, he needed only 65 to make it through the next six. Wood, a struggling left-hander when he was acquired by the Padres in a late-July trade with Kansas City, has a 2.00 ERA at Petco Park since joining the team.
"It was a battle," Wood said. "They fouled off a lot of good pitches, had a couple walks there. I felt good during that inning. They just fouled off some good pitches, so I just kind of stayed locked in. They were swinging early, and I was getting some weak contact, and the defense tonight was unbelievable."
The game's first batter, Andrew Stevenson, popped out on eight pitches against Wood, who then struck out Adrian Sanchez on five pitches.
With two outs and nobody on, Anthony Rendon tussled with Wood, fouling off eight pitches and drawing a 13-pitch walk.
"That was a long one. Might be one of my longest," Wood said. "He ended up looking out at me and smiling and shrugging his shoulders like he didn't know, and I was like, 'I got nothing, either.' It was a tough at-bat, and he ended up winning that one."
Ryan Zimmerman's turn at the plate produced the same result, but in five fewer pitches. Wood found himself having thrown 34 pitches and getting only two outs, while manager Andy Green questioned how long he could allow his starter to work.
"I've never seen that," Green said. "He wasn't struggling. It wasn't getting the bullpen up because you're nervous about it. It was just, at some point in time, the guy's not going to throw 50 pitches in the inning."
But on two pitches, Howie Kendrick flied out to right, beginning a run through the Nationals' lineup where Wood did not allow a baserunner.
Washington did its only damage in the fifth, with Wood providing help. On opposing starter Stephen Strasburg's bunt attempt, Wood's throw to first pulled Carlos Asuaje off the bag. Sanchez's two-out double later in the frame produced a run that wouldn't have scored if not for Wood's error.
Afforded a longer leash partially because the trade that brought him to San Diego sent a pair of the Padres' back-end relievers in Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer to the Royals, Wood thrived. After the double, Wood retired the next seven men he faced, each possibly being his last batter had they reached.
Primarily a reliever the past three seasons, Wood pitched his longest outing since April 28, 2015.
"He's a gamer," Green said. "Just wants to pitch. Just wants to be on the mound. Shows up with his spikes on every single day. If he's not pitching, wants to pinch-run, wants to pinch-hit. I think, overall, he's fit in pretty nicely."