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Rookie HR leader Villanueva hits 2 to sink LA

MLB.com @AJCassavell

LOS ANGELES -- Christian Villanueva, welcome to the National League home run race. Nearly two months into the 2018 season, the rookie third baseman has yet to stop mashing.

Villanueva launched his 13th and 14th home runs this season, as San Diego rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday night. He trails NL leader Bryce Harper by one and leads all MLB rookies.

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LOS ANGELES -- Christian Villanueva, welcome to the National League home run race. Nearly two months into the 2018 season, the rookie third baseman has yet to stop mashing.

Villanueva launched his 13th and 14th home runs this season, as San Diego rallied for a 7-5 victory over the Dodgers on Saturday night. He trails NL leader Bryce Harper by one and leads all MLB rookies.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's something I always dreamed of," Villanueva said. "To be up there on the board with those big names, it's pretty cool. It's awesome, especially after all the time it took me to get here, to be under the radar and knowing the work that I put in."

In other words: Those eight seasons spent toiling in the farm systems of the Rangers, Cubs and Padres? Worth it.

Saturday's effort put Villanueva's name in the Mexican baseball record books. He passed Geronimo Gil for the most home runs by a Mexico-born rookie in Major League history.

"It's really amazing," Villanueva said. "My son, I'm going to have things to tell him, stories to tell. So it's definitely special."

The first of Villanueva's blasts negated a two-run deficit in the top of the sixth. He turned around an 0-1 changeup from Dodgers starter Alex Wood and sent it into the left-field pavilion, tying the game at 5.

Video: SD@LAD: Andy Green on offensive breakout in 7-5 win

The Padres took the lead in the seventh on Jose Pirela's RBI single, before Villanueva gave them a measure of insurance when Josh Fields hung a curveball with his first pitch of the eighth.

"He's dangerous every time he steps in the box," said Padres catcher A.J. Ellis.

Ellis' first Padres homer comes vs. former club

Ellis and shortstop Freddy Galvis also went deep, giving the Padres a season-high four home runs. That was plenty of offense for the relief corps. Manager Andy Green gambled a bit, using all of his top arms ahead of Sunday's planned bullpen day. It paid off, as Tyler Webb, Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates and Brad Hand combined for 4 1/3 scoreless frames.

Video: SD@LAD: Hand strikes out Kemp to earn his 16th save

Starter Jordan Lyles allowed five runs over 4 2/3. He was hit hard in the fourth, when the Dodgers opened the frame with three consecutive hits -- including the first home run of the season for Justin Turner, who missed the first eight weeks with a broken left wrist.

In the fifth, Lyles lost any semblance of control. He allowed a one-out single, then walked three of the next four hitters as the Dodgers took a 5-3 lead.

Villanueva turned that around promptly. And his second homer came a half-inning after the third baseman committed two errors on the same Turner ground ball. After the game, Villanueva drew praise from his skipper for putting the blunder behind him so quickly.

"He regroups, hits another big home run for us," Green said. "When he gets pitches he can handle, he really does damage. That's the kind of mental makeup we really love seeing from our guys."

Video: SD@LAD: Villanueva, Ellis on power output in 7-5 win

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Webb gem: When Lyles' night ended with consecutive walks in the fifth, Green made a curious decision to call upon Webb to face righty Logan Forsythe. Webb made the most of a rare opportunity in a high-leverage spot. With the bases loaded and two outs, he ran the count to 3-1 before blowing a pair of fastballs by Forsythe to end the threat. It was an impressive showing from the left-hander who hadn't pitched since being recalled to the big league club on Monday.

"That's why we won this baseball game today, because he kept us close," Green said. "A lot of times that game slips away."

Matchup advantage: The Padres inserted Pirela in the No. 2 spot, splitting Travis Jankowski and Eric Hosmer in the batting order in the hopes that they'd gain a matchup advantage late in the ballgame. They got exactly that. The Dodgers called on left-hander Scott Alexander to face Jankowski, who was plunked on the wrist. That brought up the righty-hitting Pirela, who capitalized by bouncing his go-ahead single up the middle.

Video: SD@LAD: Pirela gives Padres lead with single in 7th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Yates' split-finger fastball has developed into one of the sport's nastiest pitches. He put it on full display with pinch-hitter Yasiel Puig at the plate as the tying run in the eighth. Yates' 3-2 splitter started at the bottom of the strike zone, then dipped to Puig's toes. The Dodgers slugger swung and missed for strike three. It was Yates' 13th strikeout this season in 26 at-bats that have ended with the pitch. He's allowed four hits -- all singles.

Tweet from @AJCassavell: Kirby Yates' splitter is the best pitch you aren't paying attention to yet. Opposing hitters are 4-for-26 (all singles) with 13 Ks on ABs ending with the split this year. pic.twitter.com/7l8L8DFWFk

HE SAID IT
"He's growing. You go through a down like that, and you can get your dauber down sometimes. ... He got his head down for a little bit when that 0-for streak happened. Now he's more resilient for having gone through that." -- Green, on Villanueva's 0-for-37 drought earlier this month

UP NEXT
The Padres are slated for a bullpen game on Sunday, as they await the return of left-hander Joey Lucchesi from a right hip strain. Matt Strahm will start things off against Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, who pitched the first six innings of their combined no-hitter against the Padres earlier this month. First pitch is slated for 1:10 p.m. PT.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Christian Villanueva

Padres need Renfroe healthy and productive

MLB.com @AJCassavell

LOS ANGELES -- The Padres are going to weigh two factors when they mull a potential return for ailing outfielder Hunter Renfroe: the health of his elbow and the health of his bat.

Renfroe is eight games into his rehab stint with Triple-A El Paso, as he looks to return from inflammation in his throwing elbow. For the most part, the injury has subsided. The Padres right fielder is approaching an entirely clean bill of health.

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LOS ANGELES -- The Padres are going to weigh two factors when they mull a potential return for ailing outfielder Hunter Renfroe: the health of his elbow and the health of his bat.

Renfroe is eight games into his rehab stint with Triple-A El Paso, as he looks to return from inflammation in his throwing elbow. For the most part, the injury has subsided. The Padres right fielder is approaching an entirely clean bill of health.

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But the club isn't eager to rush Renfroe back to the big leagues until he can find some consistency at the plate. He was batting .242/.286/.455 at El Paso entering play Saturday night.

"Health is a big part of it, making sure he feels good enough day in, day out," said Padres manager Andy Green. "Then you also want to find him in a rhythm as well. You want to bring somebody back here that's in a rhythm and swinging the bat well."

In the meantime, Franmil Reyes will remain as part of the Padres' outfield rotation. He's the likeliest candidate to be optioned when Renfroe is activated, given their similar skill sets and the club's desire to give regular playing time to both.

For now, the Padres are committed to seeing what they have in Reyes, a power-hitting outfield prospect who torched Triple-A pitching for the season's first month and a half.

"As long as he's here, he's playing pretty consistently," Green said. "The advantage of the timing is we've gotten an opportunity to look. How long we choose to look depends on a lot of other factors -- how Hunter feels, if he's in rhythm, and then what we choose to do as an organization."

Reyes has struggled early, hitting .208 with one extra-base hit through eight games entering play Saturday. It's a small sample, and Reyes is still learning to counter Major League-caliber pitching.

"The pitchers here just have better command with their pitches," Reyes said. "They locate their pitches more. I just need to prepare the same way for my pitch, because at some point and at some time, they're going to throw it. I can't miss."

Bullpen day set for Sunday
The Padres are planning to piece together nine innings from their relievers on Sunday as they await the return of left-hander Joey Lucchesi from a right hip strain. Lucchesi isn't expected to be ready by his next turn on Friday either, but don't expect a repeat of the bullpen strategy.

"We've got about five games before then to navigate and figure out where we'll go," Green said. " But, ideally, we'd have a guy lined up to start that game that's a guy we view as a starting option."

It's unclear who that "starting option" might be. Walker Lockett and Miguel Diaz are both in the Triple-A rotation and on the 40-man roster. The Padres could also dip into their bullpen and hand a temporary starting job to Bryan Mitchell or Robbie Erlin.

Perdomo hits DL
Right-hander Luis Perdomo was placed on the Minor League disabled list with shoulder inflammation on Saturday. The move is retroactive to May 23, his last appearance.

In four big league starts this season, Perdomo posted an 8.36 ERA before being sent to El Paso. The 25-year-old seemed to find a groove there, with a 2.81 ERA over six outings.

A year ago, Perdomo missed two weeks with shoulder inflammation. Green is hopeful for another quick recovery.

"Last year wasn't severe at all, so I'm hoping it's very similar to last year," Green said. "But I don't have enough context to paint a picture for you yet."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Hunter Renfroe

Hedges' rehab hits snag as elbow flares up

MLB.com @AJCassavell

LOS ANGELES -- Padres catcher Austin Hedges pulled himself from a rehab game with Triple-A El Paso on Thursday night as he experienced a recurrence of the right elbow soreness that landed him on the disabled list earlier this month.

Hedges' rehab stint has been temporarily shelved, though he'll remain with El Paso for now. The Padres are hopeful it's only a minor setback and Hedges can resume his progression next week.

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LOS ANGELES -- Padres catcher Austin Hedges pulled himself from a rehab game with Triple-A El Paso on Thursday night as he experienced a recurrence of the right elbow soreness that landed him on the disabled list earlier this month.

Hedges' rehab stint has been temporarily shelved, though he'll remain with El Paso for now. The Padres are hopeful it's only a minor setback and Hedges can resume his progression next week.

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"He's still not feeling right, so he's going to halt his rehab for a few days here, and hopefully we can begin it again in just a few days," said Padres manager Andy Green before Friday's series opener at Dodger Stadium. "They don't think it's serious, but it's disappointing to know he's feeling that way and can't get going."

Hedges played through elbow tendinitis for a couple of weeks in April, before a flareup caused him to be placed on the DL May 1.

Multiple tests have revealed no structural damage, and until Thursday's setback, the Padres were optimistic Hedges was close to a return.

"He had pretty much every test imaginable done and went up and saw a doctor here in L.A.," said Green. "... Everybody gave him a clean bill and expected him to be fine. We'll circle back around to see what it is that's causing this."

Hedges is batting .173/.235/.293 in 81 plate appearances this season.

Perdomo bound for Minors DL
On the whole, it was a rough injury day at the Padres' Triple-A affiliate. Right-hander Luis Perdomo is expected to be placed on the DL with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

Perdomo, who was sent to Triple-A after struggling for three weeks in April, was a candidate to be recalled for a start Sunday. That's no longer a possibility.

Perdomo's shoulder ailment flared up during his bullpen session earlier this week. The Padres didn't offer a timetable for his return. Perdomo dealt with a similar injury last April and returned within two weeks.

Still, it's another unfortunate setback for the 25-year-old who offered so much promise as a Rule 5 rookie two seasons ago. In four big league starts this year, Perdomo allowed 15 runs and 26 hits over 14 innings.

Bullpen game slated for Sunday
With Perdomo no longer an option, Green indicated the Padres will "probably use the whole staff" for Sunday's series finale. He added that no starter will be announced until after Saturday's game, when his available arms become clearer.

"We're going to try to win today and tomorrow," Green said. "We'll use every single piece we think will give us the best opportunity to win. If we need to make a roster move on Saturday night to get us fresh arms for Sunday, we'll make one or two or multiple roster moves. We won't hold anybody back if we think it's got the possibility of helping us win a game today or tomorrow."

Lefty reliever Robbie Erlin has made two spot starts this season, but Green said it's unlikely Erlin starts Sunday. (He cited Erlin's splits -- a 1.96 ERA as a reliever and a 14.14 mark as a starter.) Green named Adam Cimber and Matt Strahm -- both of whom have experience working multiple innings -- as candidates. But he added that he wouldn't limit himself to those two.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Austin Hedges

Richard burned by Kemp's first-inning homer

MLB.com @AJCassavell

LOS ANGELES -- From the time he recorded his first out on Friday night, Clayton Richard did what Clayton Richard does. He gobbled up innings -- allowing his share of baserunners, but keeping the Padres within striking distance. In the process, he worked his fourth straight start of at least six innings.

The difference in the 4-1 loss at Dodger Stadium? Richard labored quite a bit for that first out. In his previous three starts, the veteran left-hander walked a total of one hitter. He walked the first two batters he faced in this one, setting the stage for a familiar foe in Matt Kemp.

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LOS ANGELES -- From the time he recorded his first out on Friday night, Clayton Richard did what Clayton Richard does. He gobbled up innings -- allowing his share of baserunners, but keeping the Padres within striking distance. In the process, he worked his fourth straight start of at least six innings.

The difference in the 4-1 loss at Dodger Stadium? Richard labored quite a bit for that first out. In his previous three starts, the veteran left-hander walked a total of one hitter. He walked the first two batters he faced in this one, setting the stage for a familiar foe in Matt Kemp.

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The former Padres outfielder demolished a 1-2 fastball from Richard into the left-center-field seats, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. The slumping San Diego offense never recovered.

"I have a unique opportunity to set a tone for a game and a series, and the first two at-bats were not executed," Richard said. "That's pretty disappointing to put a team in a hole right out of the gate."

Video: SD@LAD: Kemp cranks a 3-run homer to left-center

Kemp has crushed Padres pitching this season. He's 15-for-26 with four of his six homers coming against San Diego.

Perhaps a slider at Kemp's feet would've been a better pitch selection. Still, Richard threw his fastball letter-high, precisely where he wanted it. After the game, Richard was clearly more perturbed by the two walks than the first-inning blast.

"You have to tip your cap every now and then," Richard said. "He put a pretty good swing on a pretty good pitch. If that's a solo home run, that's a different game. Where I look at what I can do better is those first two at-bats."

Video: SD@LAD: Green on Richard's outing, Pirela's nice game

Opposite Richard, Ross Stripling recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts, using his offspeed pitches to entice San Diego hitters into routinely chasing outside the strike zone.

The Padres put two men on base with one out in the first, before Franchy Cordero bounced into an inning-ending double play. The rest of the night, the Padres wouldn't put two runners on base in the same frame.

Video: SD@LAD: Stripling induces a double play to escape jam

As for Richard, he was mostly effective aside from his rocky first inning. He allowed four runs on four hits while striking out four.

"After he got past those first three batters, he was good," said Padres manager Andy Green. "The damage was already done. But we didn't do enough offensively against Stripling to win a baseball game anyway."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Movin' Manny: With one out in the third inning, Manuel Margot hit a chopper down the first-base line. Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig initially appeared to have a play on Margot, who was hustling toward second. But he bobbled the ball, then, in a moment of frustration, allowed it to sit on the warning track untouched. Margot capitalized, taking third base easily and scoring two batters later on Travis Jankowski's RBI groundout.

Video: SD@LAD: Margot reaches third on Puig's fielding error

Hernandez responds: The Padres had clawed one run closer thanks to Margot's hustle. Enrique Hernandez negated that run in no time. With two outs in the bottom of the frame, Richard grooved a 3-1 fastball, and Hernandez took it the other way into the right-field pavilion. Richard hadn't allowed a homer in any of his last three starts. He allowed two in the first three innings on Friday.

Video: SD@LAD: Hernandez launches a solo homer to right

SOUND SMART
Richard's success this season has been limited to games against teams outside his division. In six starts against National League West opposition, he owns a 7.80 ERA, and the Padres have won only once. Meanwhile, Richard has quality starts in all five outings against teams from the East and Central, and he owns a 2.68 ERA in those games.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Christian Villanueva's defense has come under some scrutiny this season, but the Padres remain bullish on his future as a third baseman. They're especially optimistic about his range, and the rookie slugger showed it off in the sixth inning on Friday. Villanueva made an all-out dive to his right, snaring a Hernandez chopper. He sprang to his feet and fired to first for the out -- arguably his best play as a Padre.

I'M YELLING CIMBER
For the season's first month and a half, Padres right-hander Adam Cimber found himself among the NL leaders in appearances. Entering Friday, however, he hadn't pitched in eight days and had made just one appearance in 13.

"Mentally, it's better to be out there in a game situation as often as possible," Cimber said. "But we've been in situations the last week where our starters are going six or seven innings and we've got our dudes at the back of our bullpen getting us wins. But it definitely felt good to get in there."

Cimber made quick work of the Dodgers in the seventh inning, needing only six pitches to retire the side in order. The Padres are slated for a bullpen game Sunday, and Cimber remains a candidate to start. In fact, his six-pitch tuneup on Friday might make him the favorite to start -- barring more work for him on Saturday.

UP NEXT
Seemingly out of nowhere, Jordan Lyles has become one of the Padres' most reliable starters, helping to solidify the back end of their rotation. He followed his perfect-game bid last week with 5 2/3 solid innings in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Lyles takes the ball Saturday against the Dodgers, with first pitch slated for 7:10 p.m. PT. Los Angeles counters with lefty Alex Wood, a San Diego nemesis since his accusations of sign-stealing sparked a benches-clearing incident last June.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Clayton Richard

Urias a prospect to watch in NL West

MLB.com @matthewhleach

The National League West race has already been plenty surprising, but it also feels ... incomplete. The Dodgers and Giants are both without their aces. The D-backs are down their best everyday player. The standings seem a bit topsy-turvy right now, but it's also easy to remind yourself that these teams are sure to change over the coming months.

And that's not just a matter of injuries. Every team in the division has at least one prospect knocking on the door, players who could shape the race in their own ways if given the opportunity.

The National League West race has already been plenty surprising, but it also feels ... incomplete. The Dodgers and Giants are both without their aces. The D-backs are down their best everyday player. The standings seem a bit topsy-turvy right now, but it's also easy to remind yourself that these teams are sure to change over the coming months.

And that's not just a matter of injuries. Every team in the division has at least one prospect knocking on the door, players who could shape the race in their own ways if given the opportunity.

Here's a look at one prospect to watch for each club.

Video: Top Prospects: Jon Duplantier, RHP, D-backs

D-backs
Prospect:
Jon Duplantier, RHP
MLB Pipeline rankings: D-backs' No. 1 prospect, overall No. 68
Why you should keep an eye on him: A year after starring in the notoriously hitter-friendly California League, Duplantier has handled the jump to Double-A with ease. And he's done it while keeping his strikeout rate high and slashing his walk rate. The problem, of course, is that Arizona has plenty of pitching, even with Taijuan Walker out. What the Snakes need is a bat. Still, Duplantier has risen rapidly -- he's at his fourth level after just 30 professional starts -- so he could be putting himself in position to help if there's a need down the road sometime.
ETA: It will most likely be 2019, but Duplantier is doing everything he can to force the issue.

Video: LAD@SD: Verdugo plates Utley with a single to right

Dodgers
Prospect:
Alex Verdugo, OF
MLB Pipeline rankings: Dodgers' No. 2 prospect, overall No. 30
Why you should keep an eye on him: We could have gone with Walker Buehler here, but it seems likely he'll be losing his prospect status sooner than later. He's up, and it seems he's up to stay. Verdugo appears to have a tougher fight for a spot on the big league roster. He has the ability, though. Verdugo has excellent bat-to-ball skills, and he's using them to hit .300 yet again. He also has an exceptional arm and is at least a big league-caliber right fielder, if not a potential center fielder. It's a bit of an unusual package -- Verdugo is not really a leadoff man since he doesn't walk much, and he's not really a middle-of-the-order hitter since he doesn't hit for power. But he hits, he catches, he throws and he held his own in an audition earlier this year. Verdugo will help the Dodgers again before the year is out.
ETA: September at the latest, but it will be surprising if it's not sooner.

Giants
Prospect:
Austin Slater, OF
MLB Pipeline rankings: Giants' No. 5 prospect
Why you should keep an eye on him: In short, because Slater is raking. And one of baseball's oldest truths is, if you hit, they'll find a spot for you. In classic Giants fashion, Slater is not a highly touted tool box. He's just a guy who's producing. Slater has refined his strike zone over the years and he's torching the PCL to the tune of .396/.472/.679. He is 25 and in his fifth year of pro ball, so he may not have a ton of growth remaining in his game. But Slater is hitting, and that's the surest ticket to The Show.
ETA: It's kind of now or never; if Slater can't force his way into the mix before the year is out, it's hard to see when he will.

Video: Top Prospects: Luis Urias, 2B, Padres

Padres
Prospect:
Luis Urias, IF
MLB Pipeline rankings: Padres' No. 3 prospect, overall No. 32
Why you should keep an eye on him: Urias doesn't have quite the hype, or the famous name, of fellow future Friar Fernando Tatis Jr. But he is closer to the Majors than Tatis, and at least arguably having a better year. Urias is the more polished of the two prized infield prospects, with an advanced approach that has produced a .407 OBP at Triple-A. He looks like he'll play a solid second base in the big leagues. Urias may never be a basher, but he's shown some improved pop this year, which will help him keep drawing walks at the top level.
ETA: It could very well come after the non-waiver Trade Deadline, once San Diego clears some space for him.

Video: COL@PIT: McMahon doubles the lead with RBI single

Rockies
Prospect:
Ryan McMahon, 1B
MLB Pipeline rankings: Rockies' No. 2 prospect, overall No. 38
Why you should keep an eye on him: You may not have heard, but the Rockies haven't gotten an awful lot of production out of first base this year. And McMahon can hit, posting a .355 average in the Minors last year. He's scuffled some this year, including in a 60 plate-appearance look with the big club, but he's come on since he was sent back down to Triple-A. Meanwhile Ian Desmond is hitting .180 with a .233 OBP, and has a .671 OPS since joining the Rockies last year. There's also been talk of giving McMahon a look at second base, but that seems like a tough ask. Still, it's an indication that he's on the big club's radar.
ETA: Like Verdugo, McMahon is certain to get a September callup, and likely to get another before then.

Matthew Leach is the National League executive editor for MLB.com.

San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Jon Duplantier, Ryan McMahon, Austin Slater, Luis Urias, Alex Verdugo

Ross K's 9 in impressive win against Nationals

Right-hander earning reputation as stopper, workhorse
Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Tyson Ross hasn't really thought of himself as a stopper, but if the Padres keep responding they way they do in his starts, he'll have to get comfortable with the label.

Ross was in command Wednesday, helping the Padres erase a two-game skid and salvage the finale against the Nationals in a 3-1 triumph at Nationals Park. Ross now has a team-high seven quality starts on the season, all resulting in Padres wins.

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WASHINGTON -- Tyson Ross hasn't really thought of himself as a stopper, but if the Padres keep responding they way they do in his starts, he'll have to get comfortable with the label.

Ross was in command Wednesday, helping the Padres erase a two-game skid and salvage the finale against the Nationals in a 3-1 triumph at Nationals Park. Ross now has a team-high seven quality starts on the season, all resulting in Padres wins.

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"That's the mindset every starter has got to have," Ross said. "When it's your turn to take the ball, you have to believe that you're an ace. It was my turn today. It's a rotation of five, but when it's your turn to go, you have to give the team a chance."

The right-hander was on cruise control for most of the afternoon, keeping the Nationals off-balance with a mix of fastballs and sliders. Ross (4-3) registered nine strikeouts, most of which came courtesy of his slider.

Video: SD@WSH: Ross gets Harper swinging, escapes jam in 3rd

"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. The fastball's cutting, the cutter's cutting more and the slider is -- it's just three pitches kind of going the same direction. You could tell today, they were having trouble with the spin, in general."

With the exception of Matt Adams, who was 3-for-3 with a seventh-inning home run against him, Ross had little trouble with the Nationals' lineup, scattering five singles in his 6 2/3 innings of work.

"I felt good out there today," Ross said. "I was making sure to finish [my slider]. Last time I faced them a few starts ago, I left a few up with two strikes, and that's where they did all their damage. I was just trying to get through that pitch and keep it down."

In addition, Ross continues to be a workhorse, tossing 110 pitches in the victory, his fifth straight 100-plus pitch outing.

"You do all the preparation in the offseason to get yourself built up so you can take the ball 35 times and throw 100 pitches [and] six, seven innings, whatever it may be," Ross said. "That was the mindset I had in the offseason. I was finally healthy after a few years of injuries and that was my goal -- to get back to where I was before. Every five days, I'm taking the hill and going 100-plus [pitches] and hopefully six-plus innings."

Ross' record isn't better because hasn't gotten much help from his offense, with just 19 runs of support in his prior nine starts, but the Friars were able to break through to get him the victory. Brad Hand recorded the final five outs for his 15th save, ending a two-on, no-out rally by striking out Michael A. Taylor and inducing a game-ending double play from Spencer Kieboom.

Video: SD@WSH: Hand gets game-ending DP to record 15th save

"We did enough," Green said. "You look back at this road trip … and it's a good 4-3 East Coast swing for us."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Margot comes through: In a game where runs were at a premium, Manuel Margot picked an opportune time to break out of a 5-for-31 skid and put the Padres on the board first. In the fifth inning, with Freddy Galvis on second and two outs, Margot was able to shoot a ball through the right side of the infield and Galvis hustled home to beat the throw from Bryce Harper.

Video: SD@WSH: Margot opens the scoring with an RBI single

"It's been tough for Manny," Green said. "That's a big at-bat. I know they were over there debating whether to walk him or not, and he got an opportunity to get a pitch to hit, and he drove in the run and kind of broke the seal for us."

Insurance from Villanueva: The Padres put up a crooked number in the sixth when Eric Hosmer beat the shift for a single to left and Franchy Cordero drew a two-out walk. Christian Villanueva followed with a deep drive to the right-field corner that clanged off Bryce Harper's glove, allowing both runs to score and give the Padres some breathing room at 3-0. Originally ruled a two-base error, the scoring was later changed, giving Villanueva a double and two RBIs.

Video: SD@WSH: Villanueva plates 2 on hit off Harper's glove

"In those situations, you're always trying to put the ball in play and for me, personally, I love hitting in those situations," Villanueva said through interpreter David Longley. "My teammates did a good job of getting on base and we were able to come through in those important situations."

HE SAID IT
"Just being tall. That's about it." -- Eric Hosmer, on his snag of an errant throw by Hand in the eighth, preventing Harper from coming to the plate as the potential tying run

Video: SD@WSH: Hosmer stretches to record out in the 8th

UP NEXT
The Padres have an off-day Thursday, which might be a good thing, since they are 0-5 on that particular day of the week. The 10-day road trip continues Friday with a 7:10 p.m. PT start against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, where Clayton Richard (3-5, 4.87) faces off against Los Angeles' Ross Stripling (1-1, 2.08).

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

San Diego Padres, Tyson Ross

Rest of lineup must step up with key players out

Hosmer leads young group as they learn on fly
Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Thanks to a combination of injuries, inexperience and ineffectiveness, the Padres are putting up lackluster numbers in several offensive categories, leaving them desperately searching for any kind of spark.

Going into Wednesday's 3-1 win against the Nationals at Nationals Park, San Diego ranked 29th in the Majors in on-base percentage (.295) and slugging percentage (.364), and 28th in batting average (.227), numbers that explain why the Padres have scored three runs or fewer 25 times this season.

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WASHINGTON -- Thanks to a combination of injuries, inexperience and ineffectiveness, the Padres are putting up lackluster numbers in several offensive categories, leaving them desperately searching for any kind of spark.

Going into Wednesday's 3-1 win against the Nationals at Nationals Park, San Diego ranked 29th in the Majors in on-base percentage (.295) and slugging percentage (.364), and 28th in batting average (.227), numbers that explain why the Padres have scored three runs or fewer 25 times this season.

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With Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe out, manager Andy Green has had to juggle his lineup to try and get the most he can out of what he's working with.

"Without Wil in the lineup, it forces a lot of guys into spots that probably -- they're best not suited for," Green said. "We've gotten the bulk of our offense out of [Travis Jankowski] and [Eric Hosmer] at the top, and Eric could probably profile at the two, three, four or five-spot very nicely. We're trying to get him into a spot where he gets a lot of at-bats."

Hosmer, who leads the Padres with 27 walks and is third on the team in on-base percentage (.361), said that while the team needs baserunners, every at-bat brings a new challenge, which can change a hitter's approach.

"I think each at-bat brings a different situation," Hosmer said. "There are certain times where you are leading off an inning or when you have a certain pitcher on the mound, your plan really adjusts from count to count. And there are certain situations where maybe it is better to be less aggressive, but at the end of the day, you're trying to do whatever you can to get on base. Some guys like to be aggressive and some guys like to see some pitches."

The Padres' lineup also features young hitters like Franmil Reyes and Franchy Cordero, who are finding the balance between an aggressive approach and working the count to get on and create traffic on the bases. San Diego is second in the Majors with 483 strikeouts.

"When you come up to the big leagues, you're seeing pitches you didn't see in the minors," Hosmer said. "Cutters that are thrown at 97 mph, breaking balls in any counts, splitters and changeups that guys in the minors don't have. You don't adjust and learn to hit that until you see it for the first time."

Still, Green doesn't accept any excuses for the Padres' offensive struggles, feeling no matter who's in, they should be able to produce.

"When we look at Travis and Eric, they've gotten on base for us," Green said. "They've done a very nice job doing that. There's been opportunities. We've had chances."

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

San Diego Padres, Eric Hosmer

Urias posts another multihit effort

MLB.com

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

Cubs fans were offered a promising glimpse of the future during Wednesday's Minor League contests. Four pitchers ranked in Chicago's Top 30 prospects -- Alex Lange (No. 5), Brendon Little (6), Trevor Clifton (27) and Duane Underwood Jr. (29) -- turned in strong performances for their respective teams.

Here's MLB Pipeline's roundup of the top prospect performances in the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

Cubs fans were offered a promising glimpse of the future during Wednesday's Minor League contests. Four pitchers ranked in Chicago's Top 30 prospects -- Alex Lange (No. 5), Brendon Little (6), Trevor Clifton (27) and Duane Underwood Jr. (29) -- turned in strong performances for their respective teams.

:: Complete prospect coverage ::

Lange pitched six scoreless innings for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach in its 5-0 win over Lynchburg. The right-hander held the Hillcats to just six hits, didn't issue a walk and struck out a career-best 10 batters.

Little bounced back from giving up five runs in his last start to toss seven scoreless frames for Class A South Bend, lowering his ERA to 4.50. He allowed three hits with no walks and struck out five vs. the Lansing Lugnuts. With Double-A Tennessee, Clifton pitched four scoreless innings and allowed two hits and two walks with three strikeouts before rain suspended play. And at Triple-A Iowa, Underwood held Round Rock to one run over six innings while striking out six.

Other top prospect performances from Wednesday's action:
• The Minors' hottest hitter, No. 2 overall prospect (Blue Jays' No. 1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr., continued his tear through the Eastern League. Guerrero went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a walk for Double-A New Hampshire, stretching his on-base streak to 31 games. His .425 batting average is also the best in the Minors.

The Jays' No. 19 prospect Cavan Biggio also impressed by going 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs for Double-A New Hampshire. It marked his first three-hit game of 2018 and the 10th of his professional career.

Watch: Biggio rips 2-run double

• No. 32 overall prospect (Padres' No. 3) Luis Urias collected his third multi-hit game in the last four days, batting 3-for-5 with an RBI for Triple-A El Paso.

Watch: Urias doubles in a run

• In his return from the disabled list, No. 44 overall prospect (Yankees' No. 3) Justus Sheffield held his opponent without a run. The 22-year-old southpaw pitched four scoreless innings with three hits, a walk and five strikeouts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Astros' No. 24 prospect J.J. Matijevic went deep twice for Class A Advanced Buies Creek. He was 3-for-4 with a pair of solo homers, giving him six long balls on the season as well as two multi-homer games. Ronnie Dawson (Houston's No. 14) also left the yard in that game as part of a four-RBI performance.

Braves' No. 18 prospect Drew Waters was a catalyst for Class A Rome on Wednesday, batting 3-for-3 with an RBI, two doubles, a triple, two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base from the leadoff spot. His seven total bases tied his career-high.

Orioles' No. 15 prospect Zac Lowther held Hickory to one hit and three runs over six innings in a gem for Class A Delmarva. He struck out 10 batters, reaching double digits for the third time this season. It was his best performance since he pitched six hitless frames and struck out 13 in his season debut on April 9. The left-hander has allowed just four runs through 31 innings in 2018 (1.16 ERA).

Phillies' No. 13 prospect Thomas Eshelman turned in his best performance of the season, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning -- Rochester's Nick Gordon (Twins' No. 4), brother of Mariners outfielder Dee Gordon, broke up the no-no bid with a leadoff single -- for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Eshelman completed a season-high seven innings and allowed one run on four hits.

Jonathan Hernandez, the Rangers' No. 14 prospect, followed up last week's 11-strikeout performance by fanning 10 over six scoreless innings for Class A Advanced Down East. He took a no-decision, however, as the Wood Ducks lost, 2-1, in extras.

Hernandez's 10th strikeout

Tigers' No. 9 prospect Daz Cameron extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-4, two-homer performance for Class A Advanced Lakeland. He drove in three runs and posted his third multi-hit effort in his last six games.

White Sox No. 11 prospect Gavin Sheets finished a double shy of the cycle in Class A Advanced Winston-Salem's 3-1 win in the opener of a doubleheader against Buies Creek. Sheets homered for a second consecutive day, hit his second career triple and had a hand in all three of Winston-Salem's runs.

Sheets homers to right

Sheets' teammate, Luis Alexander Basabe (Chicago's No. 13 prospect) impressed in the nightcap, batting 3-for-4 with a solo homer.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Richard's struggles vs. Dodgers, NL West continue

Notes on Pirela, Margot, Lopez, Jankowski
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Two worrisome trends continued for Clayton Richard on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Two worrisome trends continued for Clayton Richard on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.

The left-hander gave up four runs on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts over six innings in his 11th start of the year. Two of the hits -- and all of the runs -- scored on homers by Matt Kemp and Enrique Hernandez.

In his last six starts against the Dodgers, Richard is 0-4 with a 7.79 earned run average (28 earned runs in 32 1/3 innings), allowing batters to hit .338, while striking out 28 batters against 23 walks.

The game also marked a continuation of struggles against National League West teams in comparison to his results against teams from outside the division.

In five starts against teams from outside the National League West this season, Richard has allowed 11 runs on 31 hits and five walks with 28 strikeouts in 37 innings, posting a 2.68 ERA and 0.97 WHIP.

In six starts against National League West teams this season, Richard has given up 27 runs (26 earned) on 37 hits and 19 walks with 28 strikeouts in 30 innings, posting a 7.80 ERA and 1.87 WHIP.

Richard has given up eight home runs this season. All have come against National League West teams.

NOTEBOOK:

Jose Pirela equaled his season-high of three hits for the seventh time Friday night. He was the only member of the Padres starting lineup to not strike out. He was 3-for-4 Friday with his 13th double. In his last 18 games since May 5, Pirela has gone 21-for-67 (.313) with nine runs scored, six doubles and five RBIs along with a .361 OBP. Pirela is still looking for his first home run of the season.

Manuel Margot was 1-for-3 with his seventh double Friday to cross to the positive-side of the Mendoza line for the first time since May 15. In 25 career games against the Dodgers, Margot has batted .279 (24-for-86) with 12 runs, seven doubles, three homers and six RBI along with a .337 OBP.

Raffy Lopez struck out in all three of his at-bats Friday night and is 1-for-16 in his last five starts with one walk and eight strikeouts with his batting average falling to .167.

Travis Jankowski is also in his first slump of the season, going 2-for-18 since May 19 to drop his batting average from .390 to .325.

San Diego Padres

Padres are 7-3 when Ross starts

Hand 9-for-9 in save chances in May; notes on Villanueva, Hosmer
MLB.com

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Tyson Ross has a modest 4-3 win-loss record after 10 starts.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Tyson Ross has a modest 4-3 win-loss record after 10 starts.

But the Padres are 7-3 when Ross starts, including wins in each of his last three starts.

Ross is 2-0 on the Padres' current 10-game road trip, allowing three runs on 10 hits and five walks with 11 strikeouts over 12 2/3 innings for a 2.13 ERA. His season ERA is down to 3.13.

Wednesday marked the fifth straight start that Ross worked six or more innings. He also allowed two or fewer runs in a start for the sixth time this season -- and for the third straight start and for the sixth time in the last eight starts.

Ross threw 110 pitches Wednesday, eclipsing 100 pitches for the fifth straight game -- setting a new career-long streak for most consecutive starts with 100 pitches or more. His nine strikeouts Wednesday equaled his second-highest total in a game this season.

NOTEBOOK

• Wednesday marked the fourth time this season that Hand went beyond a one-inning save. It was his first five-out save of the season. The only other time he sought a five-out save this season resulted in his second and most recent blown save on April 30. Hand has converted nine straight saves in May to give him 15 for the season and 37 for his Padres career - or one shy of tying Randy Myers for 10th on the Padres' all-time list of saves leaders. In 10 appearances this month, Hand has allowed one run on six hits and six walks with 18 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings for a 0.73 ERA.

Manuel Margot's RBI single in the fifth inning Wednesday gave the Padres a 1-0 lead and raised his team-leading batting average with runners in scoring position to .385 (10-for-26) with a triple, nine RBIs and three walks. His .290 (9-for-31) career batting average against Washington is the second-highest among active Padres players, trailing only 2B Jose Pirela at .317 (13-for-41).

Eric Hosmer was hitting .056 (1-for-18) against the Nationals this season before he went 2-for-4 Wednesday. The two hits extended Hosmer's on-base streak to 12 straight games. He has hit safely in 10 of those games.

Christian Villanueva's two-run double Wednesday continued his strong run since his franchise-record 0-for-37 streak was snapped. Since then, Villanueva is 8-for-24 (.333) with two doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs and three runs scored.

• Jose Pirela was 0-for-4 Wednesday, ending a five-game hitting streak.

San Diego Padres

Padres' young hitters navigating info upgrade

Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- When Franmil Reyes arrived in the Majors after his impressive stint at Triple-A, the Padres outfielder received all the trappings of a big leaguer, including more information about hitting and pitching than he knew what do with.

"It's just amazing," Reyes said. "All of us now watch videos, and I really didn't know about that when I was in Triple-A. It's just incredible how the guys here study the pitchers."

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WASHINGTON -- When Franmil Reyes arrived in the Majors after his impressive stint at Triple-A, the Padres outfielder received all the trappings of a big leaguer, including more information about hitting and pitching than he knew what do with.

"It's just amazing," Reyes said. "All of us now watch videos, and I really didn't know about that when I was in Triple-A. It's just incredible how the guys here study the pitchers."

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Reyes isn't alone in his information overload -- the Padres have several young hitters who are trying to grasp the increased statistical analysis and breakdown of opposing pitchers. Fortunately, the veterans on the team have stepped in to provide some relief and advice.

"They are trying to get us ready," Reyes said. "We were talking about this the other day. It started with [Eric Hosmer], A.J. Ellis and Freddy Galvis. One of them said, 'We can't win with only two guys.' So, if everyone starts studying, all of us are going to be ready. I know that we will get there."

Ellis said the way he's tried to help the Friars' newcomers is to find out what works for each of them on an individual basis.

"There's a lot of information, and it's just trying to personalize it for each guy," Ellis said. "You ask them a lot of questions: What's important to them? What are some things they want to know? So much of it is not about what is there but eliminating things that aren't going to be there. So, trying to narrow the focus so you don't have to worry about the entire package of a pitcher."

Manager Andy Green said all young players try to find the balance between information and instinct in the early days of their careers and that Reyes is no different.

"There's not a kid that doesn't come to the big leagues that doesn't get overwhelmed by the amount of information," Green said. "You let them navigate their way through it. I can look back when I got to the big leagues, and they told me, 'It's 66 percent slider in this count,' and I'm thinking about percentages in my head and I can't pull the trigger.

"Everybody's gone through that, and then you get used to utilizing that information and then you're not crippled or paralyzed by it. [Reyes] is at the start of that process. Some guys just come up and swing for a while, but we have veterans here who value that information and try to get it to the young guys to accelerate that process."

For Reyes, who hit his first career home run Monday, the statistics and reports are helping him gain a foothold at the game's highest level.

"Back in Triple-A I knew most of the pitchers, but here I don't know anybody," he said. "But now, with the information, I go out there like I know those guys and I feel really comfortable at the plate."

Perdomo a rotation candidate?
With Joey Lucchesi's status in the rotation doubtful, the Padres will have to come up with a plan for this weekend's series against the Dodgers. One option could be former starter Luis Perdomo, who is 3-2 at Triple-A El Paso and coming off a solid start Monday.

"I think overall, people have been pleased with: one, the way he's gone about his work, and two, his execution," Green said. "I think we look at him and he's very much in consideration for what we're going to do in the coming weeks. But we haven't made a determination."

Video: LAD@SD: Perdomo opens the game with a strikeout

Green said the team would take into consideration how much time Lucchesi might miss before deciding.

"You don't want to bring [Perdomo] back for one start if you feel Joey is going to be back," Green said. "We'd probably just find a way to plug that hole without disrupting his development time in Triple-A."

Injury report
• Right-hander Colin Rea, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, started a rehab assignment with Double-A San Antonio.

• Lucchesi (hip) is still unable to throw more than 75 feet, which has slowed his recovery time. Green is aiming for the pitcher to hit 120 feet.

Wil Myers (oblique) has yet to take part in any baseball-related activities. Green said it "was not part of the equation right now."

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

San Diego Padres, Franmil Reyes

RIP Dave Garcia, one of the best baseball men

Long-time San Diegan coached for Padres from 1970-73
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

At a group lunch one day some years back, Dave Garcia was spinning stories to an audience that revered the man.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

At a group lunch one day some years back, Dave Garcia was spinning stories to an audience that revered the man.

Dave was quite the storyteller. And when the subject of windy conditions in baseball came up, Dave was more than ready.

"I'm managing in El Paso," he said. "Wind is blowing straight out. I don't know the force, but I got stung by a hot dog wrapper that appeared out of a sandstorm. Anyway, we scored 21 runs that day. And lost. And it wasn't close."

The great thing about Dave is that he had stories about the game's greats and players you've never heard of.

He could recall the deeds of members of our group like Tom Whelan and Bob Cluck because he scouted them four and five decades earlier when they played high-school ball and later for San Diego State. Then he'd blend in stories of the All-Stars he managed with the California Angels and Cleveland Indians.

Dave Garcia was a baseball man.

Even well into his 90s, he'd hold court at Petco Park ... sitting in "his seat" alongside the visiting dugout watching batting practice. As he sat there, coaches and players would visit with the man, who was a legend inside the game he loved. It was like having an audience with the Pope ... of baseball.

Dave passed away Tuesday at the age of 97. I'm told he went peacefully from natural causes -- a fitting end to a life so richly lived.

I first met Dave Garcia in 1962 when he was scouting for the San Francisco Giants and I was at Crawford High. The Eastern League at the time was the hotbed of prep baseball and Dave was a frequent visitor to games involving San Diego, Hoover and Crawford highs. He told stories even back then, holding court with other scouts, coaches and teenaged players.

At the time, Dave had been in professional baseball for almost 25 years and never held a Major League job. He was a Minor League player for almost 20 seasons, then a Minor League coach and manager who also scouted.

His first Major League job came with the Padres in 1970 -- after he did the Padres a major favor in 1969. The Padres held their first amateur drafts in 1969 (there were two annually at that time), and Dave managed the best of the inaugural class at Salt Lake City in the Pioneer League.

In 1970, Dave replaced Sparky Anderson as the Padres' third-base coach. He was nearly 50. And it was his first Major League job. He served the Padres for four seasons. Later he managed the Angels and Indians. He was still a coach with the Colorado Rockies from 2000-2002 working under Buddy Bell.

Dave wore a uniform until he was 82. And long after that, he'd share his knowledge as a consultant. He had the rare ability to distill knowledge and captivate audiences at all levels and age groups.

Dave Garcia was part of professional baseball for more than 65 years. He is one of four men to have spent parts of eight decades in the game. The other three are Vin Scully, Don Zimmer and Tommy Lasorda.

Born in 1920 in East St. Louis, Ill., Garcia called San Diego home for most of his life. His son played professional baseball. So did two of his grandsons. Greg is an infielder with the St. Louis Cardinals.

I've never known another "baseball man" quite like Dave Garcia. Never will.

NOTEBOOK
• 2B Jose Pirela is 6-for-19 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored in a five-game hitting streak. He has 12 doubles on the season, but no homers in 192 at-bats after hitting 10 in 312 at-bats last season.

• Speaking of homers, Franchy Cordero's 449-foot blast in Washington on Tuesday night was his seventh of the season, but his first since April 28. During the homerless run, however, Cordero raised his batting average 15 points while drawing 10 walks in 21 games.

• C Austin Hedges hit a game-winning, three-run homer Tuesday night in his second rehab game with Triple-A El Paso.

San Diego Padres

Lauer shows promise before Padres fall in 9th

Lefty's 6 IP, 7 K's match career highs; Franchy hits 449-foot HR
Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- A small physical adjustment led to a major confidence boost for Eric Lauer, and the result was the best start of his young career. Lauer tossed six strong innings to bounce back from consecutive subpar efforts to keep the Padres in a nip-and-tuck affair with the Nationals on Tuesday night.

Even though San Diego dropped a 2-1 decision in the ninth inning at Nationals Park, the left-hander's effort is something for the team and the pitcher on which to build.

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WASHINGTON -- A small physical adjustment led to a major confidence boost for Eric Lauer, and the result was the best start of his young career. Lauer tossed six strong innings to bounce back from consecutive subpar efforts to keep the Padres in a nip-and-tuck affair with the Nationals on Tuesday night.

Even though San Diego dropped a 2-1 decision in the ninth inning at Nationals Park, the left-hander's effort is something for the team and the pitcher on which to build.

View Full Game Coverage

"I thought, hands down, it was his best outing," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I was really encouraged. I thought he got ahead well, the mix was good, located his fastball better and had a little bit more zip to it than he's had when he had to reach back and reach for more. It's good to see that. Overall, a very encouraging outing and he did absolutely everything he could to help us win a baseball game."

After laboring through his previous two starts -- giving up 10 runs on 13 hits in seven innings combined -- Lauer tinkered with his mechanics and was pleased with the results.

"I think from the get-go, making those physical changes -- the slight adjustment to my front side -- allowed me to settle in a little better and be confident behind every pitch," Lauer said. "Execution-wise, I think it helped too, and that only played up the confidence factor."

Lauer matched a career high in both innings pitched (six) and strikeouts (seven), and stayed out of trouble by getting ahead of hitters. Lauer posted nine 0-2 counts against the Nationals.

"It definitely helps being ahead of batters and being more on the attack than on the defense," he said.

Lauer made just one mistake -- a first-pitch slider to Bryce Harper in the fifth, who clubbed it to straightaway center to tie the score at 1.

Video: SD@WSH: Harper crushes a 433-ft. homer vs. Padres

"I didn't think he'd be looking for it, but apparently he was, and he was ready to hit it and he hit it a long way," Lauer said.

Lauer turned it over to the bullpen, and after solid innings from Craig Stammen and Kirby Yates in the seventh and eighth, respectively, Michael A. Taylor's double to deep center off Matt Strahm in the ninth scored Juan Soto -- who reached base in all four of his plate appearances -- to send the Padres to a tough loss.

Green was disappointed Strahm didn't attack Taylor, who had struck out twice against Lauer and seemed overmatched by fastballs, instead of opting for a changeup.

"Wrong pitch," Green said. "He shook the catcher three times to get to that pitch. [Taylor] hasn't been on a fastball all day. Lauer blew fastballs by him and Strahm has more fastball than that. Went to the changeup and it gave [Taylor] an opportunity to win a baseball game. I like the fact that [Lauer] has conviction in one of his pitches, but he gave the hitter a chance there."

Video: SD@WSH: Taylor hits walk-off double against Padres

San Diego is 6-6 in one-run games.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Franchy goes deep: Franchy Cordero continued to display his prodigious power, connecting in the fourth inning on another monster home run, this time a blast to the second deck in right-center that left the yard at 111.6 mph and was projected to travel 449 feet, according to Statcast™.

Cordero's seventh home run of the season was his first since April 28 and provided the Padres with their only run. Cordero has hit four homers that have traveled more than 440 feet, leading the Majors in that category.

"It's a ton of power," Green said. "And when he gets a baseball, he really gets it."

Video: SD@WSH: Cordero belts a 449-ft. homer to right-center

Spangenberg's tough hop: With no outs and a runner on first in the ninth, Nationals second baseman Wilmer Difo hit a sharp grounder to Cory Spangenberg at third base that was potentially hard enough for the Padres to turn a double play.

But the ball took a funny hop, and Spangenberg couldn't field it cleanly. He was able to recover enough to throw Difo out, but Soto advanced to second and would score when the next batter, Taylor, connected for the game-winning double.

"That last one, obviously it took a hop on him and came up and got him in the chest," Green said. "You'd love it if he could flip the glove over and turn a double play right there, but he kept it in front and got us an out. In that situation, you're still in good shape. We still had plenty of opportunity to hang on and play another inning."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the second inning, Lauer showed off his devastating pickoff move again, nabbing Soto with ease on a quick throw to first, erasing the runner after a walk. Lauer has three pickoffs on the season, and the Padres lead the Majors in that category with eight.

Video: SD@WSH: Lauer picks Soto off of first base

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the sixth inning, Jose Pirela tried to score from second base on a single from Franmil Reyes, but Taylor unleashed a rocket from center field, measured at 98.8 mph by Statcast™, right to catcher Pedro Severino, who applied the tag. The initial call on the field ruled Pirela safe at the plate, but the Nationals challenged.

The call on the field was overturned and Pirela was ruled out, keeping the game tied and showing off another aspect of Taylor's game.

Video: SD@WSH: Taylor nabs Pirela at the plate after review

"He knew what he had to do," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "He knew it was a big moment. He came, gathered himself, went through the ball and made a perfect throw…. For a second there I thought, 'well if we need someone to pitch, it might be Michael'."

UP NEXT
Tyson Ross (3-3, 3.15 ERA) takes the hill Wednesday in a 1:05 PT start as the Padres finish the series against Washington. Ross faced the Nationals on May 7 and took the loss after giving up five runs in six innings. The Nationals had not announced their starter after rainouts last week shook up their rotation.

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

San Diego Padres, Franchy Cordero, Eric Lauer