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Nationals' Tracy comes through in pinch with 10th-inning HR

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO - Huston Street made a mistake and Chad Tracy made him pay for it.

Tracy's pinch-home run with two outs in the 10th inning lifted the Washington Nationals to a 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Friday night at Petco Park.

Tracy homered for the first time this season, sending a 1-1 pitch from Street (0-3) into the right-field seats.

"I was trying to hit something hard," Tracy said. "Trying not to think too much. First pitch change-up for a ball. Second pitch heater black away. Then he threw the change-up away and left it up a little bit."

It was Tracy's seventh career pinch-homer, with five of those coming against the Padres, the most by an opposing player. Tracy, though, was more pleased with the win.

"Anytime you win a ballgame you feel great, but when you do something to win it in that fashion, especially after they came back and had a guy on third with less than two outs in the ninth, I think everybody was a little bit more fired up," Tracy said.

Street said, "I felt like I hit pretty close to my spot and he put a pretty good swing on it. Sometimes you are not surprised when they hit a homer because it feels horrible coming out of your hand."

The Padres forced the extra inning by scoring two unearned runs on three hits in the ninth off closer Rafael Soriano (1-1).

Chase Headley singled home Chris Denorfia, who reached on a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman, before Kyle Blanks' RBI single to right scored Headley to tie it at 5 with two outs in the ninth.

Drew Storen got the save, his first of the season.

Adam LaRoche homered twice, including consecutive shots with Zimmerman in the sixth, and drove in four runs for the Nationals.

Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez recovered from a shaky start and kept the Padres in check for much of his outing. After allowing two runs in the first inning, one of them on a throwing error, Gonzalez retired 12 of 13 batters from the second inning until the sixth when San Diego rookie Jedd Gyorko took him deep for a solo home run to center.

Gonzalez, who went 6 2/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned) and six hits with five strikeouts and three walks, said catcher Kurt Suzuki helped him adjust after the first inning.

"(Suzuki) came out there and slowed things down," Gonzalez said. "I've known 'Zuk' for quite a while. He just picks up little things, which is cool. He knows how to see when I'm going wild. He'll kind of make a joke about it to like 'hey, let's just go back in there and pound the strike zone.'

"I didn't want to let these guys down. The guys in the pen did a great job. All in all it was a great win."

Padres starter Burch Smith got knocked around again. Though effective early, Smith, who was chased in the second inning at Tampa last weekend, ran into trouble in the fourth when LaRoche, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games, tagged him for a three-run homer into the sand box in right center that allowed the Nationals to wipe out a two-run lead.

Smith, who was making his second major-league start after being called up from Double-A San Antonio last Saturday, gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out eight, including the side in the second, and walked one.

"I feel like I made some improvement and I was able to mix up some pitches and work in difficult counts," Smith said.

The Nationals (23-19) have won eight of the last 10 against the Padres (18-23) and seven of the past eight at Petco.

NOTES: RHP Tim Stauffer, who pitched a hitless 1 2/3 innings in Friday's loss, was called up by the Padres from Triple-A Tucson on Friday. Stauffer, who had season-ending surgery in August on his right elbow to repair a flexor tendon, was 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA and 38 strikeouts in eight starts for Tucson. ... LF Carlos Quentin was placed on paternity leave Friday. Quentin also missed Thursday's game against the Nationals after the birth of his first child, a boy named Clark. Quentin, who is hitting .181 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 28 games, will return Saturday. ... OF Jayson Werth was temporarily shut down after experiencing tightness in his injured right hamstring during a rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac. Werth has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 11 (retroactive to May 3). ... With Friday's "80's Night" celebration, the Padres wore their white throwback uniforms with orange, mustard and brown trim with the brown and mustard-colored caps.
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