Clippard can't hold lead, Padres beat Nats 2-1

Associated Press Published: April 27, 2012

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tyler Clippard threw one too many fastballs Thursday night and he knew it.

The All-Star reliever gave up a two-run double to pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay in the eighth inning that lifted the San Diego Padres to a 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.

"I kind of had a mental lapse out there tonight," Clippard said. "On Tuesday, I got him out in a long at-bat with changeups and I felt he might be sitting on that pitch tonight."

With the Padres trailing 1-0, Orlando Hudson drew a one-out walk and Cameron Maybin dropped down a bunt single against Clippard (1-2). Kotsay followed with a double to right-center to put San Diego ahead.

"Tonight I more or less second-guessed myself," said Clippard, who fell behind in the count 2-1 and threw four fastballs. "I've said all along I have to stick to my strength to be successful. It was just poorly executed and the pitching selection wasn't good, either. It was kind of frustrating on my part."

The NL East-leading Nationals (14-5) had won four straight and eight of 10. The franchise was looking for its first sweep in San Diego since the Montreal Expos accomplished the feat in July 1994.

Andrew Cashner (1-1) pitched a perfect eighth and Huston Street earned his second save. Three pitchers combined on a four-hitter for San Diego, which improved to 6-14 and averted a three-game sweep.

"We talked about what a difference one hit would make in a lot of games and tonight you saw it," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We had some opportunities in the game and we didn't get that hit until then."

Kotsay pinch-hit against Clippard in the seventh inning Tuesday night with runners on second and third and one out in a 2-1 game. Kotsay saw 12 pitches in that at-bat and fouled off seven before finally popping out.

"I missed a few pitches I felt I could have put in play Tuesday," Kotsay said. "Even though it was a great at-bat from the perspective that I battled, I was still disappointed with the result. Tonight I got ahead in the count and I told myself to get my sights up because he throws a lot of fastballs up."

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