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The Washington Nationals needed a win on Sunday to end their losing streak.
For manager Dave Martinez, this walk-off win was more significant.
Alcides Escobar homered in the eighth inning and scored an end-of-game single on Sunday ninth as the Washington Nationals closed a disturbing weekend with an 8-7 win over the San Diego Padres.
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The day after play was suspended in the sixth inning due to a shootout outside Nationals Park, the Padres scored a 10-4 win. Washington then returned to end a six-game losing streak.
“I think it means more to me and the players to know that the fans have come back after yesterday,” said Martinez of the 27,221 spectators on Sunday. “They came to support us and it was great. It was great. Our players feed on it and it was a good day for Nats fans and the Nationals.”
Tres Barrera defended Mark Melancon (2-2) with an out in the ninth and after he failed in a Bunt attempt, Victor Robles was hit with bad luck. Escobar hit a flyball midfielder Trent Grisham couldn’t lock up near the warning lane, and Barrera scored a goal.
“Melancon is throwing a lot of cutters and curveballs and I was actually on the breaking pitch,” Escobar said through an interpreter. “And when he progressed, I was just looking for a place in the zone that I could establish permanent contact with, and I was lucky enough to establish permanent contact in that place.”
Escobar was acquired by the Royals on July 2nd. It was his first homer since 2018 when he was with Kansas City.
San Diego leveled it off in ninth place with 7 when pinch runner Jorge Mateo stole second and third without a throw and scored Grisham’s two-out bloops singles against Brad Hand (5-2).
Escobar led eighth with a homer and Juan Sotos Drive two runs later in the inning gave Washington a 7-6 lead.
“We just couldn’t hold onto the lead today, and that didn’t happen often,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “We’ll take our chances with the back of our bullpen every day and we just couldn’t keep the lead today.”
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It was Soto’s third homer since participating in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game. Soto and Josh Harrison each had three hits for Washington.
Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Jackson Profar homered for the Padres.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer allowed four runs on four hits in seven innings. He deleted eight.
Padres starter Joe Musgrove went five innings and gave up four runs on eight hits. He went two and hit three thugs.
Saturday’s game was suspended when the Padres led 8-4 in the middle of the sixth inning.
“I think last night was obviously something none of us had ever seen,” said longtime Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman. “Finishing a game in these circumstances was a bit strange for all of us, but you have to go ahead and play the game. But it was definitely different.”
When the gunshots were heard, it was not immediately clear where they were coming from. Star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was one of several padres who helped shepherd fans from the stands into the San Diego dugout to shelter in a chaotic scene as the crowd battled for safety.
Three people were injured in the shooting, an exchange of fire between people in two cars, said Ashan Benedict, deputy chief of police for the Metropolitan Police Department, on Saturday evening.
“That doesn’t make things any better, but someone shooting with a gun in the stadium would have been a very different situation,” said Zimmerman. “Not that this situation isn’t bad. I’m not trying to say that this situation is not bad, but hopefully it shows you that the stadium is safe.”
Tatis had his third four-hit game of the season, scoring twice for the Padres, and Tommy Pham had three hits and two walks.
Pham singled out in a run in the seventh after the game was resumed and a second scored on the throwing error of right fielder Soto in the game.
Four Padres reliefs combined for four scoreless innings in completion.
Zimmerman, who put the shortened 2020 season on hold, reached his 10th season homer for the Nationals.
Reliever Craig Stammen (4-2) threw a goalless fifth inning to victory. Starter Blake Snell, who missed his last start due to a digestive problem, was put back on the injured list on Saturday and was allowed to run four runs with six hits and four walks in four innings.
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Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (6-8) gave up six runs in 10 hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.