Ross faces Padres club that traded him (Nats win 7-5)

The Padres knew they were giving up a lot when they sent Trea Turner to the Nationals as part of a December 2014 three-team trade that also brought prized prospect Wil Myers from Tampa Bay to San Diego.

They just didn't know long before Turner makes any real impact in the big leagues, they'd be watching Joe Ross do just that.

Ross, widely considered a secondary piece of that blockbuster trade, has proven a revelation for the Nationals, a highly promising young right-hander who has become a key part of one of baseball's best rotations and figures to remain part of it for some time.

Ross-Throws-Gray.jpgTonight, Ross faces the organization that dealt him away, starting the second game of the Nationals' weekend series at Petco Park, perhaps rubbing his success in the Padres' faces once again.

This isn't Ross' first-ever appearance against San Diego. He dominated in a start at Petco Park last August, allowing just one unearned run on two hits over six innings. But since then, he has further established himself as one of the sports' most promising young hurlers, owner of a 3.34 ERA in 28 career games (25 of them starts).

Turner remains a highly coveted prospect as well, but the infielder's timeline to join the Nationals roster on a permanent basis may be getting pushed back while starting shortstop Danny Espinosa continues to provide power and consistently strong defense.

As for Myers, he is finally blossoming himself after an injury-plagued 2015 season. Now playing almost exclusively first base instead of the outfield, he enters tonight's game hitting .286 with 15 homers, 40 RBIs and an .851 OPS. Major League Baseball earlier today named Myers an official ambassador for next month's All-Star Game in San Diego.

Update: Just as Tanner Roark did last night, Ross was scored upon in the first inning tonight. But just as they did last night to support Roark, the Nationals have given Ross plenty of run support early on in this one. They tied the game 1-1 in the second on Anthony Rendon's sacrifice fly. Then they blasted out four more runs in the third inning thanks to a two-run double by Daniel Murphy and a two-run homer by Ryan Zimmerman. This lineup is at it again, and so after three innings, Ross and the Nats lead 5-1.

Update II: Ross has been cruising for the better part of the evening, but he hit a little bump in the road in the bottom of the fifth via a walk and two singles (the latter by Jon Jay to bring home a run). Ross got out of it without suffering any more damage, and then Murphy made sure he gave the run right back to his starter with an opposite-field blast in the top of the sixth. Murphy's 12th homer of the season gives him three RBIs on the night and gives the Nats a 6-2 lead in the sixth.

Update III: Make it 7-3 Nats, who keep finding ways to bounce back when they allow a run. Despite Derek Norris' solo homer off Ross in the bottom of the sixth, they rallied to retake a four-run lead in the top of the seventh on a laser of an RBI by Bryce Harper, who continues to hit the ball hard with some regularity.

Update IV: The Padres aren't going down quietly, and the Nats middle relief is still a work in progress. Oliver Perez and Blake Treinen combined to give two runs back in the bottom of the seventh, so it's now 7-5. And there are still six outs that must be recorded before this one's over.

Update V: This game is over, and the Nats have won yet again, 7-5. It's their 10th win in 12 games, and it leaves them a season-best 18 games over .500 and a season-best six games up in the NL East. Sammy Solis pitched the eighth, and with Shawn Kelley unavailable after pitching the last two nights, it was Yusmeiro Petit pitching the ninth for his second career save.

Nats ride early offense, late bullpen work to beat...
Game 68 lineups: Nats at Padres

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