San Diego, CA – Jordan Zimmermann was strong through six innings and added an RBI single to help the Nationals continue their best start since moving to Washington with a 7-2 victory over the Padres.
The Nationals, who have not finished better than third in the National League East since 2002, are riding a four-game winning streak and improved to a NL- best 14-4 on the young season.
The only costly mistake Zimmermann (1-1) made resulted in a solo home run by Orlando Hudson. The right-hander was otherwise solid in picking up his first win, allowing just four hits while striking out six and not issuing a walk.
Adam LaRoche led Washington's offense with three hits, two runs scored and an RBI, while Wilson Ramos went 2-for-5 and capped a four-run seventh inning with a two-run single.
Joe Wieland (0-3) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on five hits and three walks over six innings for the Padres, who had won two straight before dropping the first two meetings of this three-game series.
Wieland was touched for two runs in the second inning, as Rick Ankiel doubled down the first-base line to plate LaRoche and later scored on Zimmermann's two-out base hit up the middle.
"It's pretty nice going out there when you have a two-run lead in a big ballpark like this," Zimmermann said of spacious Petco Park. "If you get behind on someone you can groove them something over the middle and try to let them put it in play."
Zimmermann did just that in the fifth, leaving a breaking ball over the plate to Hudson, who smacked it over the right-field fence to cut San Diego's deficit in half.
Washington broke the game open with a four-spot against the Padres' bullpen in the seventh.
Josh Spence was pulled after yielding a bases-loaded, RBI single to LaRoche, and Micah Owings couldn't limit the damage as he walked Jayson Werth to force in a run and gave up Ramos' two-run base hit to right.
"They had some well-placed hits in the seventh," Padres manager Bud Black said.
In between tossing two scoreless innings on the hill, Tom Gorzelanny tacked on an RBI single in the away eighth.
Gorzelanny stayed on in the ninth and gave up a run-scoring groundout to Cameron Maybin before striking out Hudson and picking up a rare three-inning save.
Hudson's home run snapped a string of 26 straight scoreless innings by Washington starters...Zimmermann has issued just two walks in 27 innings this season...Ryan Zimmerman sat out due to a shoulder injury. The Nationals reported on their website that an MRI on the third baseman's shoulder did not show any structural damage...Gorzelanny's only other save came in 2010 when he was with the Cubs...The Nationals will go for their second straight three-game sweep in San Diego with Edwin Jackson facing the Padres' Edinson Volquez.