Padres look to keep bats going against Nationals

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego bats — struggling to get going all season — may be coming alive as the Padres enter the second game of a three-game series against the host Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

San Diego smacked four homers in a 7-4 win in the series opener on Tuesday and has won two straight games for the first time since May 3-5. The Padres blanked the Boston Red Sox 7-0 on Sunday.

Outfielder Juan Soto, playing his second series back in Washington after being traded away to San Diego last August, spoke with some of his former teammates before the game, told them he was going to hit a home run and did.

Soto finished 3-for-4 with his ninth home run of the season while finishing with an RBI, a walk, a stolen base and two runs. He received a standing ovation from the Nationals Park crowd before his first at-bat.

“Definitely last year was a little bit more emotional,” Soto said. “This year was emotional. But it was more like happy. I feel more happy instead of being sad about being traded.”

Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Dixon and Jake Cronenworth also homered for the Padres, who can clinch a series win Wednesday after losing their past five. Yu Darvish went six innings for the win and Josh Hader worked the ninth for his 12th save.

“We know we’re capable of doing these things,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “Good to see us backing up two games in a row.”

Padres left-hander Ryan Weathers (1-2, 3.42 ERA) opposes right-hander Trevor Williams (1-2, 4.26) on Wednesday.

Weathers, who was recalled last week from Triple-A El Paso to take the rotation spot of Seth Lugo (right calf strain), has pitched in six games with four starts. In his most recent start on May 14, Weathers gave up four runs on three hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings in a loss to the Dodgers.

Weathers won his only previous start against Washington, in 2021, despite allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Williams worked six innings, allowing three runs on five hits, in a loss to the Marlins last Thursday. He walked one, struck out five and allowed one home run.

“He threw the ball well,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “This whole year he’s been keeping us in the ballgame. They got a couple of hits there and gave up a couple of runs. But other than that, man, he threw the ball really well.”

Williams, a San Diego native, is 0-1 with a 4.96 ERA in four games (three starts) versus the Padres. San Diego designated hitter Matt Carpenter is hitting .286 with three homers and six RBIs in his career against Williams.

On Tuesday, Washington rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie the score in the fifth inning, but the bullpen allowed four runs.

Lane Thomas and former Padre CJ Abrams — acquired in the Soto trade — hit back-to-back homers for the Nationals.

“It’s exciting,” said the 22-year-old Abrams. “It’s fun just playing against your former teammates and friends. It didn’t go our way, but we’ll get them (Wednesday).”

Thomas extended his on-base streak to a career-high 19 games. During the streak, Thomas is hitting .346 (27-for-78) with three doubles, a triple, six homers, 13 RBIs, four walks, and 17 runs.

Another player who was part of the Soto trade — left-hander MacKenzie Gore — started for the Nationals and went 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits in a no-decision.

–Field Level Media

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