Young stymies Nats, knocks first homer in Padres' win

WASHINGTON -- After a difficult season, Chris Young finally pitched a game to savor.

Young allowed just two hits in seven innings and hit the first home run of his career to lead the San Diego Padres to a 6-1 win over the Washington Nationals.

Young, who spent much of the season on the disabled list, won for just the second time since May 16. Two starts ago, he dazzled the Milwaukee Brewers on two hits after throwing 7 2/3 perfect innings.

Young (6-6) allowed a long double to center field by Cristian Guzman, the Nationals' second batter, and had to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the third. He walked two batters -- including Washington starter John Lannan -- and hit another before Aaron Boone ended the inning with a fly ball to left. Young also allowed a leadoff single to Wil Nieves in the seventh, who was quickly caught in a rundown.

"Early on, I was fighting myself mechanically and wasn't real sharp," Young said. "When I walked the pitcher, frustration set in. I just wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be early. As the game progressed, I really tried to do less and things got better."

The 6-foot-10 right-hander missed more than two months with a fractured nose and was making just his fourth start since his second DL stint -- this time with a strained right forearm.

Mike Adams allowed a run in the eighth on Boone's RBI ground-rule double and Clay Hensley worked the ninth.

With a 3-0 lead in the seventh, Young, sporting a .115 career batting average entering the game, sent John Lannan's first pitch into the Padres' bullpen.

"I'm happy we won," Young said. "That's first and foremost. It's been a rough season for us. Wins have been hard to come by. The home run was a lot of fun. It's something I haven't experienced in my big league career -- since high school for that matter. I got lucky. It hit my bat."

Padres manager Bud Black, himself a former pitcher, says that Young is one of the best in the game. In 2007, Young was 9-1, and made the NL All-Star team, before straining his oblique and didn't win a game after the All-Star break.

"There's still a lot of upside in CY's game," Black said. "This year, it's just a lot of unfortunate injuries. You don't take a ball off the nose from Albert Pujols' bat every day."

San Diego, which has won 10 of its last 11 games against Washington, had just one hit against Lannan (9-14) in the first four innings. They scored three unearned runs in the fifth. Nick Hundley led off with a walk. With one out, Young bunted him to second. Will Venable grounded to second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, but the ball scooted under his glove for an error, which allowed Hundley to score. On the next pitch, Edgar Gonzalez hit a home run to left field, his seventh of the season.

The Padres added two runs in the eighth on a triple to Brian Giles, an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez, and an RBI single by Chase Headley, which followed an error by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman.

It's been a long two games for Zimmerman. He was hitless in 10 at-bats -- seven in Friday's 14-inning loss, five-hour loss. Young made for a difficult opponent.

"He does a good job of hiding the ball," Zimmerman said. "He didn't make any mistakes. Any time a pitcher does that, he's tough."

Lannan pitched seven innings, allowing four hits and four runs -- with only Young's home run earned. In his previous start, he allowed just one hit against the New York Mets in seven innings.

The loss was the fourth in a row for the Nationals and the 97th of the season. It's the most losses for the franchise since 1976 when the Montreal Expos lost 107.

Manager Manny Acta insists his club wasn't using Friday night's marathon as an excuse.

"The Padres were here last night until the 14th. It had nothing to do with that," Acta said. "No whining, no excuses, no weeping. We got beat."

Game notes
The Nationals announced they were moving their Triple-A affiliate from Columbus to Syracuse for the 2009 season. Syracuse had been affiliated with Toronto for the past 31 years. ... Georgetown University coach John Thompson III was a pregame visitor. He was an assistant coach at Princeton when Young played basketball and baseball and head coach when Venable played both sports there. ... San Diego RHP Jake Peavy, who was scratched from Friday's start because his wife had a baby, will pitch Tuesday in Los Angeles.