WASHINGTON (AP) — In a game matching two very talented young pitchers, neither Washington’s Stephen Strasburg nor Arizona’s Patrick Corbin was around when the winning run fittingly scored on a bunt.
Didi Gregorius drove in the go-ahead run with a bunt single in the 11th inning and Aaron Hill homered as the Diamondbacks beat the Nationals 3-2 Thursday night to salvage the finale of a three-game series.
Miguel Montero led off the 11th with a ground-rule double off Craig Stammen (4-3). A.J. Pollock ran for Montero and Cody Ross bunted him to third. After Jason Kubel drew a walk, Gregorius bunted down the first-base line. Pollock ran on contact and scored the go-ahead run as Gregorius beat the throw at first.
“It’s a play we haven’t used much this year,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of the safety squeeze. “Didn’t put it on for a couple of pitches. I think they may have suspected early. It was great bunt … We had speed at the plate, we had speed at third with Pollock.”
Gregorius said Gibson told him to be alert for the sign.
“When I took the first pitch I noticed (Stammen) had a really good sinker. Then the second pitch he threw me a curveball or slider,” Gregorius said. “Then on the third pitch I crowded the plate a little bit after I saw the sign. So the sinker was away, but it was a successful bunt to first.”
Josh Collmenter (4-0) pitched the 10th inning and Heath Bell picked up his 14th save as the Diamondbacks snapped a three-game losing streak with a mix of very good pitching, timely hits and several excellent defensive plays.
Ian Desmond homered and Adam LaRoche had two hits for the Nationals.
“Just one of those things,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. “It was that kind of ballgame. A couple home runs, and then a safety squeeze beats us.”
Corbin, who came in 9-0, and Strasburg matched frames for seven innings, with each allowing two runs.
Strasburg gave up six hits while striking out four and walking two as he threw 113 pitches. It was the first time Strasburg allowed as many as two earned runs in a game since May 4.
“I felt pretty good out there. The fast ball felt really good,” Strasburg said. “Just maybe having that extra day (between starts), I felt like my curveball was you know hanging a little bit, but I was able to make the adjustment.”
Corbin allowed five hits while striking out six and walking two. He threw 111 pitches in what was his fifth straight no decision.
“It was two young pitchers going at it,” Gibson said. “Patrick true to form gave us a great performance, matched Strasburg and we ended up getting the win.”
Arizona starting pitchers are 0-7 in 19 starts since Wade Miley won on June 5.
The Diamondbacks trailed 2-0 when Corbin led off the sixth with a single. With one out, Hill, in his third game back from the disabled list, homered off a Strasburg fastball to tie the score. The next two hitters reached base before Strasburg got two fly-ball outs to end the inning.
Washington went ahead in the fourth. Corbin retired the first two Nationals, but walked Adam LaRoche. Desmond then hit a 2-2 breaking ball into the visitors’ bullpen for his 13th homer of the year to make it 2-0.
“(I) felt fine. Just the one pitch to Desmond, a breaking ball that I left up,” Corbin said. “Other than that I felt pretty good the defense behind me was incredible again.”
In the seventh, after Washington pinch hitter Chris Marrero singled and pinch runner Jeff Kobernus stole second, Denard Span hit a shot down the line, but first baseman Paul Goldschmidt made a diving stab and beat Span to first. Then third baseman Cliff Pennington’s bare-hand play took a hit away from Anthony Rendon in the eighth.
Kubel made a diving catch in left-center to rob Rendon in the first.
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 62 minutes by rain. … OF Bryce Harper (left knee bursitis) continued his rehab assignment, joining Double-A Harrisburg for a game at Bowie, Md. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said the goal is for Harper to play again for Harrisburg on Saturday and rejoin the Nationals Monday. … D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said X-rays on INF Willie Bloomquist’s left hand were negative, but there was still swelling and he was only available to pinch run. Bloomquist was hit by a pitch from Tyler Clippard on Wednesday night. … Gibson said reliever J.J. Putz (on the DL since May 8 with a strained right elbow) could rejoin the team this weekend in Atlanta. … RHP Randall Delgado (0-1, 4.50) pitches for the D-backs on Friday against the Braves’ Julio Teheran (5-4, 3.32).