Tim Stauffer tosses seven strong innings as Padres hold off Nationals

WASHINGTON -- It's been a difficult season for Tim Stauffer and the San Diego Padres.

On Saturday, Stauffer won his first game in 11 tries, and he was backed by two rookies who got their first major league hits.

Stauffer pitched seven innings and allowed one run, and Blake Tekotte had the first two hits of his major league career as the Padres beat the Washington Nationals 2-1 in a matchup between baseball's weakest-hitting teams.

Manager Bud Black is trying anything to ignite his .226-hitting team. He gave Tekotte his first start and inserted Logan Forsythe at second base. Forsythe was recalled from Triple-A Tucson on Friday when Orlando Hudson went on the disabled list with a strained groin.

Tekotte doubled, tripled and drove in San Diego's first run. Forsythe had an eighth-inning single that nearly drove in another run, but Washington's Laynce Nix threw out Chase Headley, who was trying to score.

After the game, Black summoned Tekotte and Forsythe into his office and presented them with lineup cards.

Before the Padres left for the road trip, Black told Tekotte he'd start. It didn't calm him.

"I was still a little nervous," Tekotte said. "I told myself it's the same game: 'See it, hit it.'"

Stauffer (1-3) limited the Nationals to four hits and a run -- a seventh-inning homer by Nix. He struck out four and walked four.

"I look more at how the team does in my starts. Sometimes you're not going to win when you pitch well and sometimes you're going to win when you don't pitch well," Stauffer said.

Mike Adams, who threw one pitch on Friday night -- Michael Morse's game-ending homer -- pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Heath Bell worked the ninth for his 11th save.

San Diego had lost six of its previous seven.

The Padres scored three or fewer runs for the 11th straight game. The last time they did that was July 9-21, 1976.

"We're looking for offense in whatever form it will come in," Black said.

Stauffer quickly found himself in trouble. With one out in the first, he walked three straight Nationals to load the bases. On his first pitch to Morse, Friday's hero grounded into an inning-ending double play.

The Nationals, who have lost eight of 10, had just two singles through six innings until Nix's home run. It was his seventh.

Washington's team batting average is .227 -- just one point higher than San Diego's.

"We just didn't get it done offensively. There's not an explanation for it," manager Jim Riggleman said. "It just didn't happen."

The Padres scored twice in the fourth off Jordan Zimmermann (2-6). With one out, Headley singled and scored on a triple by Tekotte that hit off right fielder Jayson Werth's glove. Playing in just his third major league game, Tekotte also doubled in the second inning and scored on Kyle Phillips' single. Phillips hit broke an 0-for-14 skid.

Zimmermann hasn't won in his last four starts, though he hasn't pitched badly. Last Sunday, he was sailing through six innings, allowing just one hit, but gave up a decisive two-run home run to Baltimore's Vladimir Guerrero in the second inning.

"I just pitch the same game I'd pitch if they got 10 runs in the first inning," Zimmermann said.

He gave up five hits, allowed two runs, walked one and struck out four.

Game notes
Nix's homer was just the fourth allowed by Stauffer in 11 starts. ... The Nationals recalled RHP Collin Balester from Triple-A Syracuse for the game. He was optioned back after the game. Washington hasn't officially announced Sunday's starter, likely RHP Yunesky Maya, who would also be recalled from Syracuse. Maya would replace LHP Tom Gorzelanny, who was put on the DL with an inflamed left elbow. Gorzelanny said he expected to pitch when he's eligible. "It feels like a shin splint in my elbow," he said. ... The Padres were 2-for-5 with runners in scoring position. In their previous 10 games, they were just 4-for-50.