WASHINGTON (AP) - Jordan Zimmermann doesn't want to be labeled as a hard-luck loser - even though he pitched well for the second straight game and still lost.
On Saturday, he allowed just two runs in six innings, but the offensively challenged Washington Nationals managed only a run and five hits in a 2-1 defeat to the San Diego Padres.
Last Sunday, Zimmermann pitched brilliantly, allowing just one hit in six innings before Baltimore's Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the seventh for another 2-1 loss.
Against San Diego, Zimmermann gave up five hits - two of them were the first two of Blake Tekotte's major league career.
``I just try and go out there as long as possible and give the team a chance to win. I felt I did that today. The bats weren't there,' Zimmermann said.
Even with his offense lagging, Zimmermann, who's won just once since April 8, doesn't think he's trying too hard.
``I just pitch the same game I'd pitch if they got 10 runs in the first inning,' he said.
Tim Stauffer (1-3) limited the Nationals to four hits and a run - a seventh-inning homer by Laynce Nix - to win for the first time in 11 starts. He struck out four and walked four.
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 are batting .226 - worst in the majors. The Nationals are hitting just a point better. In the first two games of the series, they scored three runs and had just nine hits.
``We just didn't get it done offensively. There's not an explanation for it. It just didn't happen,' manager Jim Riggleman 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 of eight of 10, had just two singles through six innings until Nix's home run. It was his seventh.
The Padres scored twice in the fourth off Jordan Zimmermann (2-6). With one out, Chase 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.
Riggleman isn't afraid that his pitcher will develop a complex.
``He's a tough guy. He knows he pitched good. He knows he didn't pitch as good as he could,' Riggleman said. ``I don't have any concerns about his frame of mind.'
NOTES: Nix's homer was just the fourth allowed by Stauffer in 11 starts. ... The Nationals recalled RHP Collin Balester from Triple-A Syracuse. He was returned after the game. Washington hasn't officially announced a starter, but it's expected to be 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. ... Nationals C Ivan Rodriguez said he told Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo he doesn't want to be traded. With San Francisco's Buster Posey out for the season, the Giants might be looking for a catcher. ``I can tell you one thing. I feel great where I am,' Rodriguez said. ``Those rumors - I heard that a whole lot in my 21-year career.'
The Associated Press News Service
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