WASHINGTON (AP) — Hunter Renfroe delivered at a key moment against a tough left-hander.
No big surprise for San Diego manager Andy Green.
Renfroe hit a tiebreaking solo drive off Sean Doolittle in the ninth inning, and the Padres topped Washington 4-3 on Friday night after Carter Kieboom went deep for the Nationals in his major league debut.
“He can do that,” Green said. “He crushes left-handed pitching. We’ve known that about Hunter for a really long time.”
Renfroe, who entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, drove Doolittle’s 1-2 pitch over the wall in left-center for his fifth homer. It was only the second run allowed by Doolittle (3-1) in 12 appearances.
Craig Stammen (3-1) got the win despite allowing Kieboom’s solo homer in the eighth. The shot to left-center was the first hit for Kieboom, who was promoted from Triple-A Fresno on Friday.
Kieboom, the 28th pick in the 2016 draft, also batted with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth. But Kirby Yates struck him out for his major league-best 13th save.
“At the end of the day, it’s still just a game,” Kieboom said. “It’s a game of baseball and there’s just more people watching, that’s all. There was no need for me to change anything I was trying to do out there. I definitely had jitters in the beginning of the game but by the end of the game I felt very comfortable. I felt like I belonged.”
Kieboom, who will get an extended look while shortstop Trea Turner recovers from a broken right index finger, took a curtain call after his homer.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever even dreamed that,” Kieboom said. “That was unbelievable. That’s like the cherry on top of anybody’s call-up moment.”
San Diego improved to 12-3 in games decided by two runs or less.
Washington ace Max Scherzer struck out 10 while allowing two runs over seven innings. He retired his first 13 batters before Eric Hosmer homered in the fifth.
Scherzer became the 35th player in major league history to record 2,500 strikeouts when Manuel Margot was caught looking in the sixth. Scherzer ended the night at 2,503 Ks.
“It’s a good win, especially against a guy like Scherzer,” Renfroe said. “That guy is, and always is, nasty.”
San Diego starter Matt Strahm struck out eight over six innings. He surrendered two runs on Yan Gomes’ homer in the fourth that clanked off the railing in front of the left-field seats.
After Hosmer connected, the Padres tied it on Manny Machado’s RBI single in the seventh.
Washington outfielder Adam Eaton extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single to lead off the first.
San Diego infielder Ty France reached on a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning in his major league debut, two days after the Padres recalled him from Triple-A El Paso.
“I’m not going to lie: I was shaking a little bit,” France said. “Down early and I battled back and got a good pitch to swing at. … It means a lot.”
Nationals: RHP Justin Miller was activated from the injured list and RHP Trevor Rosenthal was placed on the 10-day IL. Miller, who is 0-0 with a 5.68 ERA, missed 10 games with a lower back strain. Rosenthal, who is dealing with a viral infection, is 0-1 with a 36.00 ERA over seven appearances. … 3B Anthony Rendon returned to the lineup after missing four games with a left elbow contusion.
Padres: LHP Eric Lauer (2-3, 4.67 ERA) gave up one run in six innings while striking out seven last May 22 in his only previous start against Washington.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-1, 4.11 ERA) is 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA in his career against the Padres, including a 15-strikeout game in his last home start against them in 2017.
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