Ross shows former team how far he's come

Ross shows former team how far he's come

SAN DIEGO -- Joe Ross made his first career start at Petco Park on Friday night, but against and not for the Padres, the team that drafted him in the first round in 2011.

"It just made it a little extra special I guess more than any start," Ross said. "Having my parents here, having my brother in the opposing dugout, but other than that it was just another game."

He allowed three runs in six innings with six strikeouts, a solid but unspectacular outing, but good enough to help lead Washington to a 7-5 victory. He improved to 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA against his former team, whom he beat at Nationals Park on Aug. 27, 2015.

The Nationals acquired Ross along with Trea Turner, the club's No. 2 prospect as ranked by MLBPipeline.com, in the winter of 2014 in a three-team deal involving the Rays that sent Wil Myers to San Diego. Washington has been widely regarded as the proverbial winners of that deal considering Ross has established himself as one of the brightest young pitchers in baseball. Through his first 25 career starts entering Friday night he has posted a 3.34 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 128 strikeouts in 148 1/3 innings.

"It's fun to watch," his older brother and Padres right-hander Tyson Ross said before Friday's game. "He's been a good player a long time, and it's fun to see him doing it at this level. He's worked hard for a long time, and I'm just proud of him."

Ross said the trash talk with his brother had been kept to a minimum leading up to this start, although he expects to hear it during the next few days of this series. Ross probably could have lasted deeper into the game, but with a left-handed pinch-hitter announced to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, but Nats manager Dusty Baker decided to lift Ross in favor of saving innings.

"We have to really watch Joe, his innings are building up," Baker said. "As you notice he has the least amount of innings of our starters. We want to take him all the way through September and hopefully into October."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.