WASHINGTON — The only thing the San Diego Padres are taking out of their East Coast road trip is a nine-game losing streak.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a grand slam, Bryce Harper added three hits and two stolen bases, and the Washington Nationals beat the Padres 11-7 on Sunday.
The Padres had numerous scoring opportunities against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg and relievers that followed, and they managed to score seven runs.
That just wasn’t nearly enough.
Robbie Erlin (1-2) gave up nine runs to the Nationals, including six in the third inning.
“That was a rough one. No doubt about it,” Padres manager Bud Black said.
Strasburg (5-6) allowed four runs in six innings and matched his season-high with nine strikeouts as the Nationals won their fourth straight, the last three against San Diego.
The Padres won the first game of their trip to Miami, Boston and Washington and lost the final nine.
“You’re finding different ways to lose each time,” catcher Nick Hundley said. “Some days we pitched great and didn’t hit. Other days, we swung great and didn’t pitch. You try to find a nice combination of both and go from there.”
San Diego outhit the Nationals 12-11 but finished 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Alexi Amarista had three hits, including a two-run homer off Strasburg, and drove in three runs.
Chase Headley had three hits, including two doubles, and an RBI for the Padres.
Zimmerman’s slam off Erlin put Washington ahead 5-1 in the third. Two batters later, Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer.
Making his fourth big league start, Erlin went four-plus innings, allowing nine runs, six hits and four walks. In his last two appearances, both on the trip, the 22-year-old Erlin has given up 12 earned runs in 7 2-3 innings.
“This is a tough one,” Erlin said. “It comes down to how you throw the ball. Today, everything was elevated and kind of pulling across some of those fastballs, too. Left them over the plate.”
Rendon and Strasburg had RBI singles during the Nationals’ four-run fifth inning. Harper, chosen a day earlier for the NL All-Star team, hit an RBI single in the first.
Zimmerman homered on the first pitch from Erlin after Harper reached on an infield single off the glove of first baseman Jesus Guzman.
Strasburg, who started the six-run third inning with a walk, lost his way in spots. He hit three batters, walked two, and yielded a two-run homer to Amarista in the fourth.
The right-hander allowed seven hits, his most since April 7, and never pitched a 1-2-3 inning. But the San Diego native overpowered the Padres when he needed to.
With Washington leading 7-3 in the fifth and two runners on with two outs, Strasburg struck out Kyle Blanks.
“I think it was a good series for us, obviously getting the sweep and gaining some ground,” Strasburg said. “Keep swinging like that, I think we’re going in the right direction.”
In Strasburg’s previous four starts, Washington scored four runs total.
Amarista had an RBI groundout in the seventh against Craig Stammen, who gave up three runs in one inning plus three batters.
Drew Storen replaced Stammen in the eighth with two runners on and Washington leading 11-7 and got three straight outs.
The Padres will now try to turn things around back at home.
“Any time you can change direction to change momentum, that’s a good thing,” Black said. “That’s what hopefully this does.”
NOTES: San Diego placed C Yasmani Grandal (right knee sprain) on the 60-day disabled list and called up C Rene Rivera from Triple-A Tucson. … Washington placed LHP Ross Detwiler (lower back strain) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 4. The Nationals are expected to activated RHP Dan Haren (shoulder) from the DL to replace Detwiler in the rotation for Monday’s series opener at Philadelphia. … Padres RHP Edinson Volquez (6-6, 5.26) opposes Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-2, 2.75) on Monday.
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