SAN DIEGO — The scoreless innings streak by Washington starters ended at 26, the longest in Nationals history.
The overall result, however, was another victory.
Jordan Zimmermann pitched four scoreless innings to help set the record before Orlando Hudson homered for San Diego and the NL East-leading Nationals beat the Padres 7-2 on Wednesday in a matchup of the NL’s best and worst teams.
The old record for consecutive scoreless innings by Nationals starters was 24 innings in 2005.
The streak began Thursday with four scoreless innings by Edwin Jackson, followed by six scoreless innings each by Ross Detwiler, Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez.
“I always want to try to do a little better than the guy before me,” Zimmermann said. “Gio did a little better job, I guess, but I’ll take six innings and one run anytime.”
Hudson ended the streak when he homered to right with two outs in the fifth, his first, on a 1-1 pitch from Zimmermann.
“He pitched a great ballgame. He was outstanding,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He made one bad pitch to the second baseman. Kind of hung a slider on the inside half and he crushed it. But other than that, he was his usual self.”
Johnson has enjoyed watching his starters, who are 8-2 with a 1.71 ERA while holding opponents to a .182 average with 103 strikeouts against just 22 walks.
“It’s been outstanding. Six or seven innings putting up zeroes, low hits, very few mistakes. They’re kind of competing against each other when they go out there — who’s going to throw the better outing? It’s been fun to watch,” Johnson said.
Zimmermann (1-1) allowed one run and four hits in six innings, struck out six and walked none. It was his 29th straight start with two or fewer walks dating to his second start of 2011. Tom Gorzelanny pitched three innings in relief of Zimmermann for a save.
“You look at a 2.20 ERA when you are giving up two runs per game over 20 games, you are going to have nice results,” Padres manager Bud Black said, noting Washington’s overall ERA. “The two starters we’ve seen are legit.”
Gonzalez allowed only two singles in six scoreless innings in a 3-1 win on Tuesday night.
Adam LaRoche had three hits, two runs and an RBI for the Nationals (14-4), who won their fourth straight and are off to the best 18-game start in Washington-Montreal franchise history. They’ve won all six series this year and eight straight overall.
Zimmermann also hit an RBI single in the second, when the Nationals jumped ahead 2-0 on three hits and a walk against rookie Joe Wieland, who was making his third start. LaRoche hit a leadoff double down the right-field line and scored on Rick Ankiel’s one-out double to right. With two outs, Zimmermann singled to center to bring in Ankiel.
The Nationals added four runs in the seventh on four hits and two walks against three relievers. LaRoche hit an RBI single, Jayson Werth drew a bases-loaded walk and Wilson Ramos had a two-run single.
“We hit a lot of balls hard today,” Johnson said. “This is a huge ballpark. At least three balls would have been way out in any other ballpark.”
Wieland (0-3) allowed two runs and five hits in six innings, struck out four and walked three.
“I definitely started better than the last two,” Wieland said. “I was able to execute better. I got ahead of guys in the first inning and I got quick outs. That was the biggest difference from the first two.”
NOTES: Nationals manager Davey Johnson said an MRI on 3B Ryan Zimmerman’s right shoulder shows inflammation but no structural damage. Zimmerman missed his third straight start on Wednesday. Johnson says the plan is to have Zimmerman take some swings on Thursday to see how he feels. … If there’s no relief by Thursday, Zimmerman could be sent back to Washington for treatment. Johnson said Zimmerman had a cortisone shot on Saturday but it’s possible the shot might not have had its full effect. … Padres RHP Dustin Moseley had surgery on his right shoulder and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Moseley had extensive damage to his rotator cuff and labrum. He made just one start, against Los Angeles on April 7. He was placed on the disabled list the next day and an MRI exam revealed the damage. Moseley had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in August after going 3-10 with a 3.30 ERA in 20 starts in his first season with San Diego. … The series concludes Thursday night when RHP Edwin Jackson (1-1, 4.26) is scheduled to start for the Nationals against RHP Edinson Volquez (0-2, 4.30).