WASHINGTON -- A week ago, Blake Tekotte would have never seen any of this coming -- two hits, reaching base three times and knocking in a run in his first Major League start, all momentous contributions that led to a Padres victory.
Not this soon, at least not the way he was playing.
That's because a week ago, the 24-year-old outfielder was batting ninth for Double-A San Antonio, trying to swing his way out of a miserable slump, as after a promising April, his average in the month of May had plummeted to .191.
"I was going through a rough stretch ... trying to get out of it. I tried laying down a few bunts to get my small game going," Tekotte said. "But when I got called up, I kind of looked at it as a reset button."
A button the Padres might keep pushing.
Six days after a promotion to the Majors, Tekotte's bat and the contributions of fellow rookie, second baseman Logan Forsythe, helped the Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Nationals on Saturday before a crowd of 19,159 at Nationals Park.
Tekotte had a double in his first at-bat and then tripled in a run in the fourth inning while Forsythe also collected his first Major League hit while lending a hand in three double plays that helped preserve the victory for a team that continues to struggle offensively.
Which is partly why Tekotte and Forsythe were in the lineup in the first place for a team looking for a spark during this stretch where it has scored three or fewer runs in 11 consecutive games.
"We're looking for offense in whatever form it will come it," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "It's good to see a young player come in and give you some good swings."
It was probably good for Black to see a pitcher give the team quality innings, too, as Tim Stauffer (1-3) picked up his first victory in this his 11th start, as he survived a rocky start to allow one run over seven innings.
With one out in the first, Stauffer issued three consecutive walks before getting Friday's hero, Michael Morse -- who ended the game with a walk-off home run on the first pitch he saw -- to hit into a first-pitch, 4-6-3 double play started by Forsythe at second base to end the inning.
"I knew he was going to be aggressive," said Stauffer, who allowed four hits in his start. "I was able to execute a pitch inside [two-seam fastball inside] and Logan and [shortstop Jason] Bartlett turned a good double play."
Without a run through three innings against Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann (2-6), Chase Headley singled to left field with two outs.
Tekotte -- his first hit sufficiently out of the way with his second-inning double -- jumped on a fastball and drove it to right field over the head of Jayson Werth, who got turned around and couldn't make the catch.
Headley scored easily and the Padres (21-31) soon had a 2-0 lead after Kyle Phillips had an RBI single to left field. Tekotte stood atop third base, beaming.
"It's awesome, everything I thought it would be, plus some," Tekotte said. "I was a little nervous, but I told myself it's the same game and not to do anything different. Just see it and hit it."
Forsythe, in his second stint with the team in May, again filling in for an injured Orlando Hudson, flew out deep to center field twice before finally reaching on a single to left field in the ninth , a play that nearly got him his first RBI. But Headley was thrown out at the plate by left fielder Laynce Nix on the play to end the inning.
"We're just here to help the team, to do whatever we can," said Forsythe, who along with Tekotte are the first players from the Padres' 2008 Draft to reach the big leagues.
They're probably not going anywhere, either, as Hudson is out indefinitely with a groin strain and Tekotte is the fourth outfielder. With veterans like infielders Alberto Gonzalez and Eric Patterson hitting .203 and .179, respectively, Forsythe could earn more turns in the infield.
The very same goes for Tekotte, who partly got the start because center fielder Cameron Maybin got a day off to rest his balky right knee. But if both of them keep hitting, these two former teammates from their Minor Leagues days could play see more playing time moving forward.
"We're looking for any sort of spark to get us going," Black said before the game. "A lot of times, you get new blood in the lineup, [a spark] can happen."
After the game, Black summoned Tekotte and Forsythe into his office. He gave each a copy of the lineup card from the game. Each player carefully tucked the card into their respective lockers for safe keeping.
"It's a special day for both of us," Forsythe said.