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Nats use four-run sixth to deny struggling Padres

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Alfonso Soriano has come a long way since that
night in March when he refused to take his spot in left field in a
spring training game.

The converted second baseman had his 17th outfield assist -- tops
in the majors -- in the Washington Nationals' 6-2 victory Friday
night when he threw out Dave Roberts trying to score from second
base to blunt a rally by San Diego Padres.

Soriano also had an RBI double, and rookie Ryan Zimmerman hit a
two-run homer.

"I think they're trying to run on me because that hasn't been
my place here, playing left field," Soriano said. "But like I
said before, I'm feeling more comfortable in the second half now."

With the Nationals leading 2-0, Ramon Ortiz walked Roberts and
Brian Giles to open the fifth. After Mike Cameron struck out,
Adrian Gonzalez singled to left.

Soriano fielded the ball and saw third-base coach Glenn Hoffman
waving Roberts home.

"I say, 'Oh, man, I got a chance, let me throw the ball to the
home plate.' I let it go, a one-bounce throw," Soriano said. "I'm
working hard every day trying to get better."

Roberts was out by several feet.

Josh Bard followed with an RBI single up the middle, but that's
all the Padres got that inning.

"I don't think they believe it is what it is," Nationals
manager Frank Robinson said. "They hear about the assists, but
they haven't seen it. I don't think they believe he throws that
well. He's got an unorthodox type delivery, but he's been very
accurate with his throws and has something on it when he has to
throw."

Zimmerman, the third baseman, said Soriano has become a
consistent fielder.

"He's obviously proven he can throw," he said. "I hope they
keep running on him because he'll just keep throwing them out."

The last-place Nationals, who have won three of four, also got a
solo homer from Felipe Lopez.

San Diego, which left 11 men on base, continues to lead the NL
West despite losing 10 of 16.

The Nationals put it away with a four-run sixth inning that
chased Padres starter Chris Young and helped Ortiz win his second
straight decision. Ortiz (8-9) lost to the Padres at Washington on
July 7 in the opener of a series that the Padres swept.

With Washington leading 2-1, the first five Nationals had hits
in the sixth, and the first four scored.

Lopez singled to right and Zimmerman drove a 1-0 pitch into the
second deck in left field, his 14th homer. Zimmerman has a
team-high 74 RBI, pulling within nine of the franchise rookie
record set by Coco Laboy in 1969. Zimmerman has driven in at least
one run in five straight games.

"It was a pitch I didn't hit my spot and he punished it,"
Young said of Zimmerman's homer. "It was a fastball I left out
over the plate."

Nick Johnson singled to center to chase Young and Austin Kearns
greeted Doug Brocail with an RBI double down the left-field line.
Ryan Church added a broken-bat, run-scoring single to center before
Brocail struck out the side.

Lopez homered to right with two outs in the third, his 11th. The
Nationals made it 2-0 in the fifth when Marlon Anderson drew a
leadoff walk, stole second with two outs and scored when Soriano
lined a 3-2 pitch down the left-field line.

"He hit a pretty good pitch, a pitch that a lot of guys don't
hit," Young said. "It was probably a ball, but he's a good
hitter."

Ortiz held San Diego to two runs and seven hits in six innings,
struck out three and walked five.

Robinson came out to visit Ortiz after the two walks in the
fifth, to get on him "and get him back in the strike zone," the
manager said. "You want to go out there and get ahead of the
hitters. Make them swing the bat."

San Diego's Rob Bowen had a pinch-hit homer to center with two
outs in the sixth, his second.

Young (9-5) allowed five runs and seven hits, struck out two and
walked two.

Game notes
Giles singled for his 1,500th career hit in the first, then
singled again in the third. ... Padres RHP Chan Ho Park was back at
the ballpark on Friday, playing catch, picking up an award and
saying he felt "100 percent better" after receiving transfusions
to treat internal bleeding that put him on the DL. He received one
unit of blood on Thursday and two on Friday. The donors included
Katie Peavy, the wife of Padres ace Jake Peavy; Kelly Calabrese,
the team's massage therapist; and a friend of Park's from Los
Angeles.