LaRoche’s two homers, Tracy’s pinch-hit homer highlight 6-5 extra-inning win at San Diego

Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez got behind hitters early, and San Diego was able to get two runs in the first inning.

Gonzalez allowed two walks in the first and both came around and scored on a Kyle Blanks single and a two-base throwing error by right fielder Bryce Harper. San Diego led 2-0 after one inning.

San Diego fireballer Burch Smith was elusive early with a difficult to catch up with mid-90s fastball. Smith struck out the side in the second inning.

Gonzalez surrendered a hit and a walk in the second frame, but pitched out of it.

Padres lead 2-0 after three innings.

Update: But in the fourth, the middle of the order got its second look at Smith and took advantage. Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman led off with singles. Adam LaRoche followed with a three-run homer, his sixth of the year, to give the Nationals their first lead, 3-2.

LaRoche has now hit home runs in three consecutive games.

Update II: Zimmerman continues to hit well, adding a solo shot in the sixth, stretching the lead to 4-2. Not to be outdone, LaRoche crushed his second homer of the game and fourth in the past three games, this one over the center field wall, to make it 5-2 Nats. Smith was pulled and Tim Stauffer came on to pitch for the Padres. An amazing run for LaRoche at the plate.

Check that, LaRoche has now hit four home runs in the past three games.

Update III: Gonzalez did not want his last hitter to be a hit-by-pitch. But he still hung in there for 6 2/3 innings and 115 pitches. After a difficult time locating early, Gonzalez allowed only one run over the next 5 2/3 innings. He had a stretch of nine straight outs from the end of the second to the fifth inning. And he got the bullpen within seven outs of completing the game.

Tyler Clippard notched the final out of the seventh. Considering Gonzalez served up six hits, three walks, a homer and a hit by pitch, not too shabby that he allowed just two earned runs. Several times, he was able to pitch out of jams.

Rafael Soriano was not as fortunate. In the ninth, Soriano blew the save opportunity by allowing two runs, none earned. After another Zimmerman error and then three straight singles, the Padres tied the game at 5-5.

But pinch hitter Chad Tracy changed all those uncomfortable feelings with a two-out solo shot over the right field fence versus the Padres’ Huston Street in the 10th, and the Nationals regained the lead, 6-5. It was the Nats’ fourth homer of the game.

The Tracy homer was also the Nats first pinch-hit RBI of the season.

Reliever Drew Storen came on in the 10th and recorded his first save of the season, despite allowing two base hits. With two outs, Zimmerman initially bobbled a grounder from Everth Cabrera, but threw out the speedy runner at first to end the game. Soriano (1-1) notched the win.

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