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Padres drop five of last six

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Any momentum the San Diego Padres carried over
from a dramatic win two days earlier disappeared as soon as
Washington's John Patterson reached the second inning.

Patterson threw a three-hitter for his second career complete
game and the Nationals chased San Diego ace Jake Peavy after six
innings Friday night, beating the NL West-leading Padres 5-1.

The Padres (72-74) have lost five of six but still hold a
5½-game lead over San Francisco and Los Angeles. This is the latest
in a season that a team has led a division with a losing record.
The Padres, who swept the Nationals in Washington Aug. 5-7, have 16
games left.

Cristian Guzman tripled, doubled and drove in three runs for the
Nationals, who won their fourth straight. They remained 2½ games
behind Houston in the wild-card chase, with Philadelphia and
Florida also in front of them.

The only encouragement the Padres got out of the game was that
Peavy (12-7) is healthy. He missed a scheduled start last Saturday
after feeling a sharp pain in the back of his right shoulder in his
previous two starts.

"I felt good tonight," Peavy said. "I just made some bad
pitches and cost us the game. I hate that we lost, but we've got a
couple more starts to get back to full strength and hopefully we
can push this thing to the playoffs and I'll throw good for that."

Said Washington manager Frank Robinson: "Peavy wasn't at the
top of his game. That wasn't Peavy out there, but we'll take it."

Patterson (9-5) struck out six, walked none and allowed only one
baserunner after the second inning. He retired the last 14 batters
he faced. His other complete game came Aug. 4, a 7-0 win against
Los Angeles.

"I was a little rusty early in the game," Patterson said.
"But I got my focus and location. Once we scored the runs, I felt
great and got back in the groove."

Robinson called it "an outstanding performance on his part.
After the first inning, he was really in full control."

San Diego took a 1-0 lead on Ramon Hernandez's homer with two
outs in the first.

"Once he gave up the home run, we really didn't create any
opportunities there," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was on
top of his game. Sometimes you run into a well-pitched game, and I
think that was the case more than anything tonight."

San Diego's offense struggled yet again. On Wednesday, the
Padres rallied to win 5-4 in 10 innings at San Francisco.

"We're disappointed we haven't been more consistent and put
together a winning streak here," Bochy said.

Peavy looked strong early, retiring 10 batters in a row before
Nick Johnson singled leading off the fifth.

Johnson was thrown out trying to steal second and Peavy struck
out Preston Wilson, but the right-hander then allowed three
straight runners and fell behind 2-1. Vinny Castilla singled to
center and Gary Bennett walked before Guzman, who came in hitting
.204, doubled to center.

Peavy loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth, allowing
singles to Brad Wilkerson and Jose Vidro, and hitting Jose Guillen
with a pitch. Johnson's grounder to first forced Wilkerson at home
for the first out. Wilson hit a high bouncer off the plate to third
for an RBI infield single, and a second run scored on Sean
Burroughs' throwing error, making it 4-1.

Peavy lasted six innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on
seven hits. He struck out six and walked one.

Guzman hit an RBI triple off Scott Cassidy in the ninth.

Hernandez homered to left on a 3-1 pitch from Patterson, his
ninth.

Game notes
It was the 20th time in 28 starts that Patterson allowed
two or fewer runs. ... Burroughs made his first start since being
recalled from Triple-A Portland on Aug. 31. He spent 5½ weeks in
the minors working on his batting stroke. On Wednesday, Burroughs
hit a tying two-run double with two outs in the ninth off San
Francisco's Armando Benitez, and the Padres won it 5-4 in the 10th.