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Washington at San Diego

Venue: Petco Park
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Adam LaRoche seems to enjoy visiting Petco Park.

Bryce Harper just seems to like facing the San Diego Padres.

LaRoche and Harper look to continue their success against the Padres and help the Washington Nationals beat them again on the road Friday night.

LaRoche has a .322 career average at pitcher-friendly Petco Park, going 9 for 23 with five doubles, one homer and four RBIs in the past six visits.

The first baseman connected for a two-run shot in a 6-2 win in the opener of this four-game series Thursday.

LaRoche homered for the second straight day and extended his hitting streak to 13 games, during which he's batting .386 with seven RBIs.

Harper leads the Nationals (22-19) with a .298 average, 11 homers, 22 RBIs and 20 walks on the season. He hit a mammoth solo homer in his return to the lineup after running full-on into the scoreboard in right field during Monday's 6-2 win at Los Angeles.

The 20-year-old slugger has three career hits against the Padres - all home runs.

Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.20 ERA) may not mind some help from his teammates after his dazzling performance was wasted in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Chicago. He carried a perfect game into the sixth, but gave up two singles and left after the seventh only to watch the bullpen give up all of the Cubs runs over the next two frames.

Still, the left-hander wasn't blaming his teammates.

"I feel like we have a great bullpen," said Gonzalez, who was pulled after throwing a season-low 86 pitches.

Washington's relievers have allowed one run and four hits in 8 1-3 innings over four games since Gonzalez's last appearance.

The entire staff seems to thrive in San Diego (18-22), where it has a 1.02 ERA while helping the Nationals win six of the past seven games there.

One of those victories belongs to Gonzalez, who yielded two hits with six strikeouts in six innings of a 3-1 win in his only meeting with the Padres on April 24, 2012.

Thursday's defeat was only the Padres' second loss in the last 11 home games.

Chase Headley is hitting .370 over his last 13 games at Petco after collecting two hits for a fourth consecutive home game Thursday. However, the third baseman is 0 for 3 versus Gonzalez.

Rookie Burch Smith is scheduled to get a second turn in the rotation with Clayton Richard on the disabled list recovering from an intestinal virus.

Smith's major league debut started well Saturday, tossing a perfect first inning with two strikeouts. However, it was all downhill from there as he was pulled before getting an out in the second, getting charged for six runs and five hits - one homer - with two walks while not getting a decision in an 8-7 loss at Tampa Bay.

The 23-year-old right-hander is confident he can show improvement.

"I think the side session went well, and I tried to absorb as much information as I could," Smith told the team's official website. "We discussed the differences between a fastball-dominant pitcher in the minor leagues and one in the big leagues.

"I'm learning when it's a good time to throw a curveball or changeup. I'm going to try and incorporate that in my next start."

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Probable Starters

Gio Gonzalez, LHP
2013 stats
45.0 Innings Pitched 1.0
3-2 Wins-Losses 0-0
4.20 Earned Run Average 54.00
21 Walks 2
47 Strikeouts 2
97 Pitches Per Start 42
Career vs. opponent
6.0 Innings Pitched -
1-0 Wins-Losses ---
0.00 Earned Run Average -

Burch Smith, RHP
Weather
weather image  Cloudy. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
69°F62°F9mph/SW62%4%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Washington1st NL East4941.544-7-3 L 1
San Diego3rd NL West4052.435115-5 L 3
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Burch Smith
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Clippard000000
Desmond000000
Detwiler000000
Duke000000
Espinosa000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Gio Gonzalez
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Quentin115141.455
Denorfia31000.333
Venable31000.333
Baker000000
Bass000000
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Washington -140 San Diego 130
Injuries
Washington
PlayerInjury
I. DesmondHand
J. KobernusHand
R. OhlendorfBack
E. PerezToe
San Diego
PlayerInjury
Y. AlonsoHand
E. CabreraHamstring
A. CashnerShoulder
R. ErlinElbow
J. GyorkoFoot
J. JohnsonElbow
C. KellyElbow
C. LuebkeElbow
T. MedicaGroin
T. PattonShoulder
N. VincentShoulder
J. WielandElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Mar 30SDSD 3-1Thayer Wilson 
Apr 1SDLAD 3-2Greinke Kennedy 
Apr 2SDLAD 5-1Haren Ross 
Jun 20SDSD 6-5Thayer Jansen 
Jun 21SDLAD 4-2Beckett Ross 
Jun 22SDLAD 2-1Ryu Stults 
Jul 10LADLAD 2-1Kershaw Despaigne 
Jul 11LAD10:10 PM EDT  
Jul 12LAD10:10 PM EDT  
Jul 13LAD 4:10 PM EDT  
Aug 19LAD10:10 PM EDT  
Aug 20LAD10:10 PM EDT  
Aug 21LAD10:10 PM EDT  
Aug 29SD10:10 PM EDT  
Aug 30SD 8:40 PM EDT  
Aug 31SD 4:10 PM EDT  
Sep 8LAD10:10 PM EDT  
Sep 9LAD10:10 PM EDT  
Sep 10LAD10:10 PM EDT