Nationals' Michael Morse leads off 9th with walk-off home run to beat Padres

WASHINGTON -- On a night when Washington ended a five-game losing streak with a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth, the focus postgame was on a player who was hitless in four at-bats.

After Michael Morse's home run lifted the Nationals to a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday night, he trotted around the bases, tossed his helmet off and was pounded by his exuberant teammates. Moments later after a postgame interview, Morse was hit with shaving cream and doused with Gatorade.

Jayson Werth was greeted with hard questions. After the fifth loss in Milwaukee, Werth, who signed a seven-year, $126 million contract last December said that "changes" had to be made.

A testy Werth stood in front of his locker and said he felt his words were taken out of context

"Changes need to be made. We need to start winning ballgames. We need to start hitting the ball. We need to do what we've got to do to win games. That's all it was," Werth said. "What happened from the end of the game in Milwaukee until today had nothing to do with me. That's just people making up stories and saying things that they don't know what they're talking about."

Before the game, manager Jim Riggleman felt compelled to defend his star slugger, who's batting .249 and has just 18 RBIs in 50 games. Riggleman spoke with Werth and didn't think his criticisms were directed at him.

"The losing that's taken place here the (last) couple of years -- that's got to change. We've got to change some things -- what we do -- how we play," Riggleman said.

Not long after he greeted Morse at home plate, Werth bristled when asked if he was misunderstood.

"We've got what it takes to win ballgames. It has nothing to do with personnel changes, changes this, changes that. That's all words put into my mouth by other people."

Morse, who had a wonderful spring training, started the season off poorly, but with first baseman Adam LaRoche on the disabled list with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, he's inherited the job.

He's worn it well, hitting home runs in four straight. This was his sixth home run of the year -- his first game-winner and accompanying celebration.

"The pie that was great. That was awesome. The full Gatorade bath," Morse said. "That was something I'll never forget."

Drew Storen (3-1), who blew his first save of the season when Jason Bartlett homered to lead off the ninth, was the winner. He pitched 1 1/3 innings.

Mike Adams (2-1) was the Padres' third pitcher, and he threw just one pitch.

"It stings a little bit because of the situation and we lost because of it. But I'm not going to sit here and worry about it or get all upset," Adams said.

John Lannan pitched brilliantly for the Nationals, going a season-high 7 2/3 innings, allowing just two singles. Lannan's chance for his first win in seven starts was dashed when Bartlett hit his first home run of the year off Storen.

Off Lannan, the Padres managed only singles by Chase Headley in the fifth and Alberto Gonzalez in the eighth. Lannan struck out five and walked two. He hadn't completed seven innings in any of his previous 10 games.

San Diego lost for the sixth time in seven games. They've scored just 13 runs in their past 10 games.

The teams combined for seven hits, befitting the two weakest hitting teams in baseball. The Nationals are batting .228 -- the Padres two points lower.

In the bottom of the fifth, Danny Espinosa broke a 1-for-15 slump with a home run off Clayton Richard to give Washington a 1-0 lead. It was Espinosa's seventh home run of the year.

Richard, who has lost six of seven, pitched seven innings, allowing just the lone run and three hits. He struck out one and walked three.

Game notes
Nationals LHP Tom Gorzelanny was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left elbow injury. He was scheduled to start Sunday. ... Washington 3B Jerry Hairston was thrown out of the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. As he momentarily stepped out of the batter's box, Richard quickly threw a pitch and Hairston flew out to center. Hairston argued with home plate umpire Ed Hickox and was quickly ejected. ... San Diego placed INF Orlando Hudson on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. They recalled INF Logan Forsythe from Triple-A Tucson. ... LaRoche said he hoped to avoid surgery with rest and exercises. "Whether that's wishful thinking or not -- time will tell," LaRoche said.