"That's the key, is to respond," said Adam Rosales. "You've got to come back right away, and that's what our team's doing right now. It's exciting to see."
San Diego's offense responded in the bottom of the first to tie it at 1, then took the lead three innings later as Rosales hit a two-run double to deep left-center.
The Padres continued to pile on the pressure in the fifth and scored twice more to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Between the fourth and fifth, they grinded at-bats and forced Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez to throw 58 pitches.
"Look up the last month, look at what we've done offensively," said San Diego manager Andy Green. "I think it's in the upper tier of the league [in] quality at-bats. The numbers kind of show that. The guys are swinging it well."
The offense was thoroughly a team effort, with nine players recording hits, including Ryan Schimpf and Brett Wallace as pinch-hitters.
The ability for the Padres to bounce back from the game-opening homer -- as well as two additional solo shots off Pomeranz in an otherwise quality outing -- made all the difference.
"It's huge. It's why we didn't win the first game," Green said. "We scored four or five times and [the Nationals] answered us back every time. It kills momentum. Being able to do that in the first inning to get them right back. ... You feel good about where you're headed at that point in time."
San Diego capitalized on mistakes by Gonzalez, going 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The Padres doubled the Nationals' run total despite having just one extra-base hit to Washington's three home runs, showing that the long ball isn't always the best thing to have on your side.
"The key word is momentum," Rosales said. "You have to find a way to keep that momentum going forward."
Carlos Collazo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosACollazo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.