Padres 2, Nationals 1
The Washington Nationals had runners on second and third with
one out in the third inning when Denard Span hit a hard comebacker
that ricocheted off San Diego Padres pitcher Eric Stults’ lower
left leg to first baseman Yonder Alonso.
Alonso tagged the bag and then ran toward third base, where Kurt
Suzuki was hung up because Jordan Zimmermann had taken off from
second. Alonso tagged Suzuki to finish the inning-ending double
play, which helped the Padres beat the Nationals 2-1 Saturday
”You don’t really work on that one in spring training,”
manager Bud Black said. ”Yonder has a good baseball mind and
reacted accordingly. No doubt that was a big break for us.”
Alonso also homered off Zimmerman, who was trying to become the
first pitcher in the majors to get eight wins this season, and
Everth Cabrera singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth.
”You’ve got to have your head up and realize what’s going on on
the field. The field tells you a lot,” Alonso said. ”The ball
came to me and I tagged first, then I saw the runner on second just
kind of keep on going, so I went directly home with a little
sleight to go to third to kind of corner them in, and whoever left
the bag, make the tag.”
Zimmerman said he saw the ball going up the middle ”and I
thought it bounced in front of the pitcher. I was taking off and I
didn’t really know what happened when they said it went off his
foot to the first baseman. That’s kind of the way our luck has been
”It caught me in a good spot, just below the knee, kind of in a
meaty spot,” Stults said. ”I’m fortunate it didn’t get me on the
kneecap and the fact he was heads-up enough to make that play,
freeze the guy on third and get that big double play. It was kind
of an unorthodox double play, but it could have been a lot
The Nationals had the runners in scoring position after Suzuki
walked and Zimmermann reached on an error when second baseman Jedd
Gyorko couldn’t handle a low throw from Stults on a sacrifice
attempt and the ball rolled into foul territory.
”What a great game,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
”It was an unbelievable game. That’s a tough loss.”
Cabrera singled in Alex Amarista, who reached when Suzuki, the
catcher, fielded his bunt and forced John Baker at second.
Zimmermann tried to pick off Amarista but his throw was wide of
first baseman Adam LaRoche for an error, allowing Amarista to take
Cabrera’s hit made a winner of Stults (4-3). The left-hander
went a season-high eight innings, allowing one run and four hits
while striking out five and walking two.
”We’re not hitting very smart,” Johnson said. ”We’re swinging
at his changeups around the knees or in the dirt. We’re not making
him throw the ball. It’s a sign of inexperienced hitters at times.
You have to be more patient against a guy like this. We’re still
growing on offense. Guys have to be a little more patient and not
hit the pitcher’s pitch.”
Zimmermann (7-2) also went eight, allowing two runs, one earned,
and seven hits. He struck out six and walked none.
”I just made two mistakes,” Zimmerman said. ”The home run to
Alonso. It was a good pitch, it was up. You can’t really complain
about that. The throwing error I made down the line cost us. If I
don’t make that, we’re still out there playing.”
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances.
Street gave up Chad Tracy’s pinch-hit homer in the 10th inning of
the Nationals’ 6-5 win Friday night.
Alonso sent a drive a few rows beyond the home run porch in the
right-field corner leading off the second for a 1-0 lead. It was
his fifth of the season.
The Nationals tied it in the sixth on their first two hits off
Stults. Suzuki hit a leadoff single to right, advanced on
Zimmermann’s bunt and scored on Steve Lombardozzi’s single to
San Diego’s Chase Headley was caught in a rundown between third
and home for the third out of the seventh after he didn’t see that
shortstop Ian Desmond made a nice diving stab at Chris Denorfia’s
Headley rounded third by a few steps and Desmond threw to third.
Headley broke for home but was tagged out.
NOTES: The game was 2 hours, 1 minute, tying the
Cardinals-Phillies game on April 1 for the fastest in the majors
this season. … Nationals OF Bryce Harper sat out with a bruised
left knee, the result of his collision with the wall in right field
at Dodger Stadium on Monday night. He missed Tuesday night’s game,
pinch-hit Wednesday and started Thursday and Friday nights. …
LaRoche singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to a
career-high 15 games. … The series concludes Sunday with
Washington RHP Dan Haren (4-4, 4.76 ERA) opposing RHP Andrew
Cashner (2-2, 2.84 ERA). … The Padres activated LF Carlos Quentin
from paternity leave and optioned right-hander Brad Brach to
Triple-A Tucson. Quentin did not play in Thursday night’s game
against Washington and was placed on paternity leave prior to
Friday night’s game due to the birth of his first child, Clark.