Nats score early to down Padres

The Washington Nationals ambushed Andrew Cashner to win the opener of a three-game set, 8-5.

Gio Gonzalez (6-3) survived the early innings to earn the Nats' fourth win in six games. He went 6 2/3 and gave up three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.

Wilson Ramos remained hot in his second game off the disabled list for a strained left hamstring. Ramos had two hits and knocked in three runs. Ramos had a go-ahead, three-run home run on Thursday and collected eight total RBI between the two games.

"I feel comfortable at the plate right now," Ramos said. "Same approach tonight, same approach last night, too -- just get a good pitch to hit. [I'm] happy right now because I'm back and we won."

Cashner (5-4) lost for the first time since May 30. He had only allowed 11 earned runs in his previous five starts, but gave up six in only two-plus innings. The Nats battered him for five hits and three walks.

"I felt like I couldn't catch a break," Cashner said. "The biggest thing was I didn't locate my fastball down and away. That's been a big pitch for me."

Chase Headley had a double and a home run in San Diego's seventh straight loss.

San Diego jumped ahead to an early lead after Chris Denorfia doubled and scored on Headley's two-bagger.

The Padres had men on second and third with no outs in the second , but Gonzalez struck out the next three hitters to escape the jam unscathed.

Washington carried the momentum into the bottom half of the frame and struck for five runs. Ryan Zimmerman singled and moved to third on Jayson Werth's base knock. After Anthony Rendon walked to load the bases, Ramos bounced a ground ball through the left side to plate two runs and give the Nats a 2-1 lead.

Cashner plunked Gonzalez to fill up the bases again, and Denard Span made him pay. Span roped a double into the right-field corner to score two more runs. Gonzalez later came home on Bryce Harper's sacrifice fly to cap the five-run outburst.

Headley blasted a solo home run in the third, but the Nationals quickly got the run back in the bottom half of the frame.

Adam LaRoche worked a leadoff walk, moved to second of Werth's single and scored on Ramos' base hit through the right side against Tim Stauffer to take a 6-2 lead.

Washington tagged Stauffer for two more runs in the fourth inning. Ian Desmond started the inning with a double. After Zimmerman walked, Desmond scored on LaRoche's single up the middle. Zimmerman later scored on a Werth ground out, giving the Nationals an 8-2 edge.

San Diego got back into the game in the seventh inning. Pedro Ciriaco picked up a one-out single. After he retired Everth Cabrera, Gonzalez was pulled for Craig Stammen. Denorfia greeted Stammen with a bloop double down the right- field line, and Carlos Quentin followed with a three-run blast, cutting the lead to 8-5.

The Nationals' bullpen clamped down, though. Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano, who earned his 23rd save, tossed a perfect eighth and ninth, respectively, to close out the win.

Game Notes

Desmond leads all major league shortstops with 40 extra-base hits ... Washington has won nine of its last 13 games against San Diego ... Gonzalez won his third straight start ... Headley is hitting .377 (23-for-51) with seven doubles and two home runs at Nationals Park ... Prior to the game, the Padres activated Cabrera from the 15-day disabled list and optioned pitcher Burch Smith to Triple-A Tucson. Cabrera went 0-for-5 ... The Nationals went 4- for-13 with runners in scoring position and left seven on base while the Padres went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left five on base.