A sputtering offense has led the San Diego Padres’ worst stretch of the season.
The Padres try to break out of their slump and avoid losing consecutive games to the lowly Washington Nationals for the first time in nearly four years when they continue a three-game series on Tuesday night.
San Diego (13-13) lost Monday’s series opener 3-2, falling to .500 for the first time since April 6 when it was 2-2.
The Padres have dropped five of their last six, batting .198 and scoring 20 runs in those games. Before that, their offense thrived—scoring 41 runs and hitting .333 while winning four of five.
Shortstop Khalil Greene batted .364 (16-for-44) during a career-high 10-game hitting streak from April 14-25, but has gone just 2-for-18 (.111) in his last five games.
“We’re not swinging the bats the best in the world,” Jake Peavy told the team’s official Web site after taking the loss Monday.
That defeat was the Padres’ fourth in their last 20 games against the Nationals since the start of the 2004 season. San Diego has not lost back-to-back game to the Washington franchise since being swept in three games by Montreal from May 6-8, 2003.
Chris Young (2-2, 4.33 ERA) starts for the Padres in the middle game, making his first Petco Park appearance after a couple of rough outings on the road.
Young has allowed 12 runs in 14 1-3 innings in his last three starts since throwing seven innings of four-hit ball in a 1-0 home win over San Francisco on April 9.
The right-hander gave up six runs, six hits and unleashed two wild pitches in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-4 loss to Arizona on Thursday. He has not lost consecutive starts since April 22-28, 2006.
Young split his first two starts against the Nationals, allowing seven runs in 11 innings last season.
With Monday’s win, Washington (9-17) won for just the third time in nine games and owns the NL’s worst record.
Austin Kearns went 2-for-4 with an RBI single in the opener, and is batting .346 (9-for-26) with four doubles, six runs and five RBIs in his last seven games.
Right-hander Shawn Hill (2-2, 2.76) has shown improvement in each of his starts this season, and starts for the Nationals on Tuesday.
Hill gave up two runs and four hits in a career-high eight-plus innings in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Philadelphia. The right-hander has allowed two earned runs in his five starts this year.
Hill, who missed the 2005 season after ligament replacement surgery and was limited to only six starts last year because of elbow problems, strained his left shoulder sliding in his previous start, but didn’t let it slow him down.
“It’s not bothering me much at all,” Hill told the team’s official Web site after Thursday’s win. “I’m hoping that the medication took care of that. Hopefully, it doesn’t come back. The shoulder is a little tight, a little tired.”
Hill, who will make his 15th career start, has yet to face the Padres.
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