SAN DIEGO -- Everth Cabrera was looking for a fastball. Jordan Zimmermann threw him a cutter.
"It was more like a slider, a baby cutter," Cabrera said. "But he missed his spot. And I put a perfect swing on it."
Cabrera's RBI single in the eighth allowed the San Diego Padres to record a 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals before 33,646 fans at Petco Park on Saturday.
Cabrera drove in Alexi Amarista, who reached on a fielders' choice and advanced to second on a throwing error by Zimmermann, with one out on a single to center, setting up Cabrera's game-winner.
"He was really tough," Cabrera said of Zimmermann. "He throws hard. He'd throw a changeup at 87 or slower, then hit the high 90s with a fastball. He's tough to hit."
Cabrera's hit allowed San Diego to prevail in a pitchers' duel between Zimmermann and Eric Stults. Closer Huston Street converted his 10th save, but it didn't come without some drama as he walked two before getting Ian Desmond to fly out to second baseman Jedd Gyorko for the final out.
Stults (4-3) didn't allow a hit until the sixth. Kurt Suzuki opened the inning with a single and scored on Steve Lombardozzi's single to right to tie the score at 1-1. But that was the only run the Nationals pushed across.
Stults allowed just four hits with five strikeouts and two walks in eight innings before being lifted for Amarista, who pinch-hit for him. It was the longest outing for Stults since throwing a complete-game shutout on May 9, 2009, as a member of the Dodgers. It also was just the second time this season a Padres pitcher has gone eight or more innings. Jason Marquis was the other one.
"That's a game 'Stultsy' is capable of," Padres manager Bud Black said. "No surprises there. Nice mix (of pitches). I thought today the inside fastball was extremely effective, especially to the right-handed hitters, and I think he had a really good change. The fastball-change combo was outstanding for 'Stultsy.'"
Zimmermann (7-2), who entered the game tied for most wins in the majors, went the distance, giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks. He hadn't dropped a decision since April 21, when he lost to the Mets.
"I just made two mistakes," Zimmermann said. "The home run to (Yonder) Alonso. It was a good pitch, (but) it was up. You can't really complain about that. The throwing error I made down the line cost us. If I don't make that, we're still out there playing."
"(Zimmermann) pitched his heart out," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "He did a great job of shutting them down and giving us every chance to win and we couldn't get it done."
The Padres (19-23) had lost eight of the last 10, including seven of the past eight at Petco, to the Nationals (23-20) before the win.
Alonso broke up a scoreless contest in the second, driving a 1-0 pitch by Zimmermann into the seats in right for 1-0 Padres lead with no outs.
A unique exchange occurred in the top of the third, when Stults fielded a sacrifice by Zimmermann and his throw went through the legs of Gyorko, who was covering at first and was charged with an error, allowing Zimmermann and catcher Suzuki to advance to second and third.
Denard Span followed by hitting a comebacker off Stults that bounced to Alonso for the out at first. Zimmermann ran to third during the play, forcing Suzuki to get caught in a rundown between third and home by Alonso, who tagged him out for the rare 1-3-3 double play.
"We don't work on that play. No doubt that was a big break for us," Black said.
NOTES: Bryce Harper was not in the lineup because of a sore knee, lingering effects from Monday's jarring collision into the wall at Dodger Stadium. According to the Washington Post, Harper also had an MRI on his abdomen Friday, though the results were negative. Harper's status for Sunday's game is unknown. ... 1B Adam LaRoche extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a single in the seventh. ... LF Carlos Quentin was activated from paternity leave Saturday but was not in the starting lineup. Quentin had missed the past two games after the birth of his son Clark on Thursday. Quentin is hitting .181 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 28 games. ... RHP Brad Brach was optioned to Class AAA Tucson on Saturday. Brach was 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 19 relief appearances for the Padres this season.