Harper’s 2 RBIs help Nats beat Diamondbacks 4-3
PHOENIX (AP) The newest additions to the Washington bullpen came through when called upon to help deliver a victory to their new team.
Sean Doolittle stranded the potential tying run by escaping a jam for his second save for Washington, and Ryan Madson tossed a scoreless eighth inning as the Nationals held off the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3 on Saturday night.
”The game can really speed up on you once you start getting guys on base,” said Doolittle, who with Madson arrived in a trade with Oakland earlier in the week. ”The crowd and the energy of the stadium can kind of take over and … you have to be mindful enough to step off the mound, slow the game down a bit, kind of press reset.”
Bryce Harper homered and drove in two runs, and starting pitcher Tanner Roark struck out a season-high 11. Roark (8-6) gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings for the NL East-leading Nationals.
”Curveball felt good. Just keep the hitter guessing,” Roark said.
Harper hit his 25th home run on a full-count offspeed pitch from Anthony Banda (0-1), who lost in his major league debut.
Chris Iannetta hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom half, but the Nationals opened a 4-1 lead with a three-run sixth.
Harper hit a run-scoring double and scored on Ryan Zimmerman’s double, and Anthony Rendon beat out an RBI single that sent Zimmerman home.
”They had a young guy out there that throws the ball really hard, has good command. He’s going to be really good in the next couple of years for sure,” Harper said of Banda. ”Just got him this time and got a few runs up there.”
A.J. Pollock tripled in the bottom half and scored on Jake Lamb’s groundout, and Arizona reliever Jorge De La Rosa got out of bases-loaded trouble in the seventh when he struck out Harper and Zimmerman.
Doolittle, acquired from Oakland last weekend, walked Lamb leading off the ninth. Iannetta hit a broken-bat grounder to third, and Rendon’s throw to second went into right field for an error that put runners on the corners.
Paul Goldschmidt hit a sacrifice fly, Chris Owings flied out and Doolittle struck out Ketel Marte for his second save with the Nationals.
”Madson’s been great for us. Doolittle … he never panics. It was great to see. It’s a lot of fun to have a back end like that,” Harper said.
Banda allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked none. He was optioned back to Triple-A Reno after the game.
”I felt confident. I threw the ball in the zone and kept attacking hitters,” Banda said. ”I made a couple of mistakes, Harper and the middle of the lineup.”
Brian Goodwin, who had three hits, was thrown out at third base trying to stretch a third-inning double, with right fielder David Peralta throwing to second baseman Owings, who made the relay.
Zimmerman’s 361st double made him the Montreal/Washington career leader, one ahead of Tim Wallach.
GOLDY’S `DAY OFF’
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo gave Goldschmidt a day off from the starting lineup, but the All-Star pinch hit in the ninth. ”He went to the All-Star Game and didn’t get the four days off that everybody else had,” Lovullo said. ”He always wants to be in there. It was one of those decisions that I had to make where I said take the day off and be ready for a Sunday day game.”
Diamondbacks: OF J.D. Martinez remains day to day with a bruised hand, which is feeling better, Lovullo said.
Nationals: Washington could be without two outfielders on Sunday, as Chris Heisey injured his groin on his sixth-inning triple. Manager Dusty Baker said the team might need to make a roster move, since OF Ryan Raburn, who was in the original lineup but was removed, is going on the bereavement list and leaving the team on Sunday. Raburn pinch hit in the ninth and grounded out, then stayed in the game as a defensive replacement.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (10-3) faces Arizona on Sunday. He is coming off a four-hit, 11-strikeout performance in a win over Cincinnati.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (9-4) faces the team that originally drafted him in 2010. Ray is 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA in three starts against Washington.
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