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PHI@SD: Wieland strikes out seven over six innings

After watching an established big leaguer carve up his team on Tuesday, Padres rookie Joe Wieland looks to give his team a boost as it takes on one of the National League's best teams.

Roughed up in his Major League debut on April 14 -- six earned runs in five innings against the Dodgers -- Wieland bounced back to limit the Phillies to one earned run over six innings with seven strikeouts in a tough-luck loss five days later.

Wieland will return to a key ingredient -- his curveball. The right-hander acknowledged that throwing his curveball, which he did 34 times of his 99 pitches in his last start, helped him establish the right tempo.

"The biggest thing was I was throwing it for strikes," Wieland said. "The second you don't show that you can throw it for strikes, [opposing hitters] will lay off it. You have to get it in their heads."

"I think his curve, if you were to grade the two pitches, is better than his slider," added Padres manager Bud Black, who said that Wieland throws a hard curveball with a 12-to-6 tilt to it.

Matching up with Wieland will be Jordan Zimmermann, who is in search of his first win of the season despite three impressive outings to begin the year. Zimmermann has allowed just three earned runs over 21 innings, with 10 strikeouts and only two walks. He hasn't allowed a home run.

The biggest culprit for his winless start? Lack of run support. The Nationals have backed Zimmermann with a paltry 0.86 runs of support per nine innings, which is the third-lowest run support for any pitcher with three starts this season.

"A win is a win, no matter how we get it ... I'm just trying to go out there and battle, keep the team in the game as long as I possibly can," Zimmermann said following his previous outing.

Nationals: Gio extends scoreless streak
• Gio Gonzalez extended his scoreless streak to 20 innings by blanking the Padres for six frames on Tuesday. The southpaw has not allowed a run since exiting after 3 2/3 innings during his first start of the season on April 7. He has allowed just six hits (two hits per start) over his last three outings, while striking out 21 and walking four. His ERA has dropped from 9.82 to 1.52 during that span.

Padres: Holes in the defense
• The Padres' poor start has only been compounded by mishaps by the defense. San Diego enters Wednesday's game leading the Majors with 21 errors. The Padres have committed an error in 12 of their first 18 games, including a season-high three errors during their 6-1 win over the Phillies on Sunday.

"We've made too many errors this season," Black said. "Our guys are upset about the defense. We'll continue to work on it."

• Will Venable has hit safely in each of his 12 starts this season, batting .298 (14-for-47) with one home run and three doubles.

Worth noting
• The Padres have lost four in a row to the Nationals at Petco Park, after winning 18 of the first 22 matchups.

• Nationals pitchers have surrendered just three home runs through 17 games, making Washington the first team since the 1997 Braves to give up so few roundtrippers during such a season-opening stretch. Comments