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SD@WSH: Nix's homer puts the Nats on the board

WASHINGTON -- If Jayson Werth made a catch on the Nationals Park warning track in the fourth inning Saturday, he believes it would be overlooked at routine.

But he did not pull in Blake Tekotte's fly ball and it was not overlooked, as the ball bounced off Werth's glove for a triple, driving in San Diego's first run and putting Tekotte in position to score the next run in Washington's 2-1 loss in front of 19,159.

"The balls were sailing pretty good out there today," said Werth. "I had a chance and turned on it, I just didn't pick it up. I kind of stutter-stepped after it and was half a step behind it."

Werth later made a sliding catch to help reliever Todd Coffey keep San Diego off the basepaths as Washington attempted to mount a comeback.

It was all part of an eventful day in the outfield, as center fielder Rick Ankiel also made a pair of difficult catches, and left fielder Laynce Nix threw out Chase Headley at home with help from an impressive catch and tag by Ivan Rodriguez.

But Washington (22-29) could not benefit from San Diego's eighth-inning miscue in the outfield, where left fielder Ryan Ludwick and Tekotte let a ball drop between them as they slid and dove out of each other's way.

Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled on the play with no outs, but remained stranded, giving starter Jordan Zimmermann a loss despite his quality outing.

"I just try to go out there as long as possible and give the team a chance to win," said Zimmermann, who allowed five hits over six innings of two-run ball. "I feel like I did that today, the bats just weren't there."

The Nats again threatened in the ninth, when Michael Morse stepped to the plate with Nix on first.

But Morse hit a ground ball to shortstop, ending the game with a double play a day after hitting a walk-off homer.

Morse, who hit .404 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 18 games in May entering the afternoon, snapped his four-game homer streak. All he needed was a single Saturday, when his first at-bat came in the first inning with the bases loaded.

Washington appeared poised to take an early lead after San Diego (21-31) starter Tim Stauffer walked three consecutive batters to bring up Morse.

Morse swung at the first pitch and sent it to second base for his first rally-ending double play of the day.

"I knew he was going to be aggressive there, but I was able to execute a good pitch in and Logan [Forsythe] and [Jason] Bartlett turned a nice double play," said Stauffer, who pitched seven strong innings and only allowed a Nix home run.

"He just made a great pitch," said Washington manager Jim Riggleman. "Mike's been swinging a great bat and we felt good about how that inning was going with three really good at-bats to get it going. [Stauffer] has a good sinker, and when he gets it where he wants it, he can get us."

Stauffer earned his first win of the season in his seventh quality start -- a position Zimmermann often finds himself in as a tough-luck loser.

The 25-year-old righty's record dropped to 2-6, despite throwing a quality outing in each of his five May starts. Zimmermann last won on May 1.

"He's pitching great now," Rodriguez said. "He's not getting any wins, but for us, he's doing tremendous. He's throwing the ball very well -- throwing a lot of strikes and getting a lot of guys out. He doesn't have to change anything."

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