WASHINGTON – Stephen Strasburg left after only four innings Tuesday, matching the second-shortest appearance of his 25-start career, and San Diego's Will Venable had four hits, while John Baker delivered three hits and three RBIs, leading the Padres to a 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Anthony Bass (2-4) — making his 10th start in the majors — tied his longest outing by going eight innings. He allowed five hits and one run — on Bryce Harper's homer to right-center, the 19-year-old outfielder's second consecutive game with a solo shot. Bass didn't allow a hit until Ian Desmond's single in the fourth.
Bass struck out seven and walked one before giving way to reliever Andrew Cashner for the ninth. Cashner struck out Harper swinging at a 101 mph pitch to end it.
Venable led off the game with a seemingly harmless blooper off Strasburg (3-1) that dropped in for a double as left fielder Roger Bernadina, center fielder Rick Ankiel and shortstop Ian Desmond all watched it fall. After a walk, Yonder Alonso delivered an RBI single, and later, on Strasburg's first pitch after an 8-minute rain delay, Baker's single brought home two more runs to make it 3-0.
All told, it was a slog of an opening inning for Strasburg, who needed 39 pitches to get three outs. Including the rain delay and a visit from pitching coach Steve McCatty, that half-inning alone lasted about 25 minutes from start to finish.
James Darnell's first homer of the season, a solo shot in the third, made it 4-0, and Strasburg only stuck around for one more inning.
Strasburg gave up four runs and seven hits, leaving after 81 pitches, 55 for strikes. He walked two batters and struck out five, and his ERA rose from 1.64 to 2.25.
When he was coming back late last season from reconstructive elbow surgery, Strasburg lasted only three innings on Sept. 11, in his second appearance of 2011, and then went four innings on Sept. 23. The right-hander had gone at least six innings in all previous seven starts this season.
NOTES: Baker's third hit was a double awarded in the eighth when the ball girl down the right-field line moved over and tried to glove the baseball. For the record: She missed it. ... Venable hit two singles, a double and a triple. ... San Diego had lost four of its past five games, Washington had won four of its previous five. ... Padres OF Mark Kotsay (back injury) was unavailable to play Tuesday "but getting better," manager Bud Black said before the game. ... Padres OF Jeremy Hermida had surgery for a sports hernia on Tuesday in Philadelphia, and he's expected to head to San Diego on Thursday, Black said. Hermida could miss "anywhere from three weeks to eight weeks, I've heard," Black said. ... Before the game, Nationals selected C Carlos Maldonado from Triple-A Syracuse and put C Sandy Leon on the 15-day disabled list with a high right ankle sprain. Leon was injured on a play at the plate in the fourth inning Monday night — his major league debut. The Nationals also moved C Wilson Ramos to the 60-day DL. ... Harper's homer landed roughly 40 feet to the right of where his first career homer went Monday. ... The Padres open a two-game series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, while the Nationals host the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-game set.