Padres 7, Nationals 3

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—It was a tough night for the starting pitchers at Petco Park.

Matt Chico got a rude welcome home Wednesday night from the San Diego Padres, who beat the Washington Nationals 7-3 but lost Clay Hensley to a groin injury that probably has him headed for the disabled list.

Chico, a local lefty, couldn’t get out of the fourth inning after allowing five runs, which helped the Padres take two of three from the team that’s tied with Kansas City for the worst record in the majors.

Hensley left with a 1-2 count against Felipe Lopez leading off the third. The right-hander was hurt when he broke off the mound on a ball that was grounded foul. After being checked by the trainer, Hensley threw one warmup pitch and was in obvious pain.

“It doesn’t look good,” manager Bud Black said. “Right away the doctors felt as though this was going to be at least two weeks.”

Black said Hensley will have an MRI. It wasn’t clear whether Hensley will accompany the Padres on a six-game road trip that begins Friday at Florida.

Black wouldn’t say who would make Hensley’s scheduled start Tuesday at Atlanta, but one possibility is Justin Germano, who’s at Triple-A Portland.

Hensley wasn’t available for comment.

Hensley was replaced by Doug Brocail, with the Nationals leading 1-0. Brocail (2-0) struck out one in two perfect innings for the win.

Adrian Gonzalez homered off Ray King leading off the Padres’ eighth, his eighth, and Marcus Giles returned from a two-game injury layoff and had a two-run double in the five-run fourth.

Chico (2-3) went to high school in northern San Diego County and was facing the Padres for the first time. He allowed the five runs in the fourth inning on three hits and three walks.

Gonzalez drew a one-out walk and scored on Khalil Greene’s triple to center. Josh Bard and Mike Cameron walked to load the bases before rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter Geoff Blum followed with an RBI single and Giles with a two-run double that chased Chico.

“Just poor command,” manager Manny Acta said of Chico in the fourth. “You have to throw more strikes at this level. That inning, he was pitching away from contact. This is the wrong ballpark to be pitching that way. You actually want the guys to be hitting the ball here.”

Chico said he wasn’t nervous pitching at home.

“The thing that killed me was my walks,” he said. “You can’t have them. I was trying to throw my strikes. Once I got a couple of runners on base, it got harder to throw strikes.”

Giles said he felt good after missing the previous two games with a ribcage injury.

“I felt good,” Giles said. “Good win. We won another series.”

He also made a three-point landing when Ryan Zimmerman broke up a double play in the eighth.

“That was fun. It’s great getting taken out like that,” Giles said. “That’s the best part of playing second base is getting taken out like that. I love it.”

Chico gave up five runs and four hits in 3 2-3 innings, walked four and struck out two.

Hensley allowed one run and two hits, struck out two and walked one.

After Ryan Church hit an RBI single with one out in the first, four Padres pitchers combined to retire 17 straight Nationals batters before Church singled off Cla Meredith leading off the seventh, when the Nationals closed to 5-3.

Brian Schneider doubled into the left-field corner with one out, but Church was held up at third even though Jose Cruz Jr. was still trying to get a handle on the ball. Robert Fick followed with a two-run double into the right-field corner and Kory Casto doubled over center fielder Mike Cameron’s head.

Scott Linebrink relieved Meredith and retired pinch-hitter Dmitri Young and Felipe Lopez.

Meredith allowed his first runs in 15 1-3 innings this season.

Lopez opened the game with a double down the left-field line and scored on Church’s single.


The Nationals traded OF Chris Snelling to the Oakland A’s for OF Ryan Langerhans, who was dealt for the second time in a week. … The Nats also outrighted INF D’Angelo Jimenez to Triple-A Columbus. … Marcus Giles was back after missing two games with a ribcage injury. … The opener of the Padres-Marlins series Friday night features a great pitching matchup between Greg Maddux (2-2) and Dontrelle Willis (5-1).

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