SAN DIEGO -- Tyler Clippard bailed Edwin Jackson out of a jam, but could not do the same for himself.Clippard allowed a two-run double to pinch-hitter Mark Kotsay to spoil a strong outing by Jackson, as the Nationals fell short of sweeping the Padres with a 2-1 defeat on Thursday at Petco Park. Protecting a 1-0 lead in the seventh, Clippard entered the game in the in relief of Jackson and erased a scoring threat by striking out Nick Hundley with the bases loaded. Clippard (1-2) returned to the mound in the eighth, and after Orlando Hudson earned a one-out walk and Cameron Maybin bunted for a single, Kotsay stepped in, having succumbed to Clippard in a 12-pitch battle two nights earlier. Kotsay got the better of the matchup this time, drilling a double to right-center that scored both runners and snapped Washington's four-game winning streak. "I was sticking to my game plan, but I really didn't," Clippard said. "I threw him four straight fastballs and got behind him. It was just poorly executed, and the pitch selection wasn't good either. It's kind of frustrating on my part." Manager Davey Johnson said he had no thoughts about pulling Clippard from the game after the seventh. "He had 10 pitches in the seventh and got the one out," Johnson said. "He's been able to go two, especially early in the year. I liked the way the lineup set up for him. It just didn't work out." Padres manager Bud Black gave credit to the veteran Kotsay for coming through where he fell short on Tuesday night. "A veteran, experienced hitter came up and had a good at-bat against a very talented relief pitcher," Black said. "They had a great battle on Tuesday night and another good battle today. It didn't last quite as long as the other night. But the result was better tonight for the Pads." Jayson Werth's homer in the seventh was one of only three hits Washington managed against Edinson Volquez. The sweep would have been the first of the season for the Nationals (14-5), who still hold the best record in the National League. "That was a tough one," Johnson said. "We had the right guy in there, it was just an unusual occurrence. Their guy pitched well, too." Adam La Roche had two hits one night after collecting three, but pointed to the club relying too strongly on the strong starting pitching. "It's always a bit of a shock when something like that happens," LaRoche said. "It's like we've been talking about, we have to get our starter off the hook and score some runs. Somebody has got to come up with the big hit." Rebounding nicely from his previous start in which he gave up five runs in the first inning, Jackson threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in this one, marking the eighth time in 19 games that Washington starter has blanked the opposition. The Nationals' starting rotation has also allowed only one run in its past 34 2/3 innings. "I was able to work out of some jams and had some great defense behind me," Jackson said. "A couple key strikeouts, but I got in some jams early in the game, and I was able to wiggle my way out of them." Andrew Cashner (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up the victory, and Huston Street came on in the ninth to convert his second save in as many chances. Volquez yielded one run on three hits while walking one and striking out seven for San Diego (6-14). "Their guy pitched a pretty good ballgame on the other side," Johnson said. "He had a pretty good changeup. He gave up the one homer. It was just one of those games, a tough game to lose."
Tim Powers is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.