The Washington Nationals aren’t going away.
The Nationals hope to remain perfect on their six-game road trip as they continue a three-game series with the NL West-leading San Diego Padres.
Washington appeared to be slipping out of the NL wild-card race after losing five of six games to close a 10-game homestand that ended Sunday. The Nationals were four games back of the wild-card lead before beginning this road trip.
But the resilient Nationals swept a three-game series from the New York Mets before traveling across the country to post a 5-1 victory Friday. John Patterson notched his second career complete game with a three-hitter to lead the way.
Washington remained 2 1/2 games behind NL wild-card leader Houston. The Nationals are two games behind Philadelphia and one behind Florida in the crowded race.
Hector Carrasco makes his second start of the season for Washington. Carrasco is pitching on three days’ rest after allowing two runs and three hits over four innings in an emergency start—the second of his career—in a 4-2 victory over the Mets on Tuesday.
The veteran right-hander became the 14th starter for Washington with Tuesday’s outing after making 59 appearances out of the bullpen. He is fourth on the team in appearances behind Chad Cordero, Gary Majewski and Luis Ayala.
Washington may have the better record, but San Diego remains in control of the mediocre NL West despite losing for the fifth time in six games. The Padres are 5 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles and San Francisco in the West.
The Padres were set to start Pedro Astacio on Saturday, but have opted to go with Adam Eaton instead. Astacio, who was activated off the disabled list on Tuesday, is being given an extra day to get ready.
“We wanted to keep Adam on his regular rest,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “Pedro is coming off the DL, so he’s already been out of his rotation. So for him to have an extra day is all right.
Eaton is 7-1 with a 2.74 ERA in eight home starts. The 27-year-old right-hander surrendered four runs and 10 hits over six innings in a 4-3 loss at San Francisco on Monday.