• Summary: The Padres erupted for six runs in the top of the first inning and went on to flatten the hapless Nationals 11-3.
• Turning point: The huge first inning took all the pressure off rookie Justin Germano, who worked six solid innings to win his fourth consecutive start. He allowed three runs and six hits and remained unbeaten in five starts.
• Hero: Rob Bowen doubled, hit a sacrifice fly and had a career-high four RBIs for San Diego, which won for the sixth time in eight games.
• Goat: Nats starter Levale Speigner (1-2) allowed six of the 11 runs. He gave up seven hits and one walk in four innings before leaving to catcalls from the RFK crowd.
• Quotable: "He's proven himself in his starts and he's deserving to be in the rotation. This is a performance game and he is
performing." -- Manager Bud Black, on Germano.
-- ESPN.com news services
Padres 11, Nationals 3
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Justin Germano is staying in San Diego's rotation, while the status of hard-hit Washington starter Levale Speigner remains unclear.Germano won his fourth consecutive start, Rob Bowen drove in a career-high four runs and the Padres rode a six-run first inning to an 11-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.Germano (4-0) is unbeaten in five starts since being called up from Triple-A Portland to replace the injured Clay Hensley in the Padres' rotation.Because of his strong series of starts, Germano will remain in the rotation. Hensley, who was out with a strained right groin, was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday and optioned to Portland."It's still early, but I definitely feel like I earned a spot to stay up here for a little bit," Germano said. "I'm not saying off of five starts it should be locked in, but I definitely am happy with the way I've gone about pitching since I've been up."Germano allowed three runs and six hits over six innings to help San Diego win for the sixth time in eight games.Padres manager Bud Black said the right-hander continues to impress."He's proven himself in his starts and he's deserving to be in the rotation," Black said. "There is no reason to think at this point we are going to make any changes in the immediate future. He knows what is ahead of him. This is a performance game and he is performing."Khalil Greene matched a season high with four hits and Paul McAnulty homered for the Padres.The Padres battered Speigner (1-2) for six hits -- two of them coming on mental mistakes on catchable fly balls -- en route to a quick 6-0 lead. San Diego sent 11 men to the plate before Speigner drew derisive cheers for cleanly fielding a Terrmel Sledge grounder for the third out.Marcus Giles drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second when center fielder Nook Logan broke back, allowing Sledge's pop fly to fall in front of him for a single. Adrian Gonzalez lifted a fly to short left field and neither left fielder Ryan Church nor shortstop Cristian Guzman took charge as the ball dropped between them, loading the bases."Nook misjudged the ball. ... The ball to left field should have been caught -- it was up in the air forever," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "I'd rather see two guys collide trying to catch the ball than looking at each other."Mike Cameron struck out, but Kevin Kouzmanoff and Greene had RBI singles before another run scored on a fielder's choice when third baseman Ryan Zimmerman's wide throw to second pulled Felipe Lopez off the bag. Bowen hit a sacrifice fly, Germano poked a run-scoring single to right and Giles singled home another run.Speigner, who was 0-0 with a 14.81 ERA in three previous starts, lasted four innings, giving up six runs and seven hits. He walked one and struck out three."I gave up hit after hit and in that situation, just go out and try to do some damage control," Speigner said. "I didn't do a good job of that in the first inning. No matter what happens behind me, it still puts it on me to save runs."Acta wasn't willing to guarantee Speigner, a rookie, another start -- though he admitted that Speigner rebounded well after a rough first inning."I don't think his performance had anything to do with the decision we're going to make," Acta said.Washington averted its third shutout in five games in the sixth. Guzman hit a two-out triple and scored on Zimmerman's single up the middle. Dmitri Young followed with his fifth homer, a shot into the mezzanine in right-center.Bowen had a three-run, bases-loaded double in the seventh. McAnulty hit a two-run homer off Ray King in the ninth.
Germano got his first major league hit and RBI in the first and his first extra-base hit, a double, in the sixth. ... Young grounded out to end the first, halting a franchise record-tying streak of hits in eight consecutive plate appearances.