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

night.

”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

going.”

”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

worse.”

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

second.

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

right-center.

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

single.

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.