Strasburg, Nationals edge Diamondbacks 2-1
PHOENIX (AP) With their star-studded lineup and pitching staff, the Washington Nationals can win in a variety of ways.
Saturday belonged to Stephen Strasburg.
The ace right-hander struck out nine in 6 2/3 innings, and the Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 for their third straight victory against the NL West leaders.
Sammy Solis and Shawn Kelley each got two outs before Ryan Madson finished the five-hitter for his third save. Manager Dave Martinez said he wanted to stay away from late-inning relievers Brandon Kintzler and Sean Doolittle, and Strasburg and company delivered.
”It’s just trusting the process and it’s a roller coaster of a season,” Strasburg said. ”I think it’s just important for us to stick together when we do play these types of games and leave it all out on the field. Sometimes it’s going to work out and sometimes it’s not.”
Arizona dropped its season-high fourth consecutive game. The Diamondbacks also lost a series for the first time after opening with 10 wins and two ties.
”We were very proud of that. It means we came out of the gates ready to play baseball once the spring was over and it has put us in that position right now,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”I know it’s a great story and something fun to follow, but I knew that something like this was probably going to happen before the year was over. Time to start a new streak.”
Harper’s ringing double into the right-field corner drove in Trea Turner in the second, and the Nationals loaded the bases with one out against Troy Scribner (0-1). But Scribner struck out Andrew Stevenson and Michael A. Taylor to end the inning.
Washington reclaimed the lead in the fourth, loading the bases off Scribner again. Rendon’s fielder’s choice drove in Pedro Severino before Scribner was removed from the game.
Scribner, called up Saturday from Triple-A for the start, allowed four hits and walked six in 3 2/3 innings. He also struck out four.
The Nationals put runners on the corners with one out in the fifth, but were unable to add to their lead. Severino’s bunt was hard enough to allow reliever T.J. McFarland to throw out Howie Kendrick at home plate, and Strasburg struck out.
McFarland threw three scoreless innings.
In the sixth, Harper was caught stealing and Turner was thrown out at home plate on Rendon’s sharp grounder to shortstop. Then Matt Adams had a hit taken away on Steven Souza Jr.’s running catch in right field.
”We had 10 runners left on base the first five innings,” Martinez said. ”Luckily our bullpen was phenomenal.”
Taylor ran into the wall at the 413-foot sign to flag down Pollock’s deep fly ball in the bottom of the sixth.
”That’s a good team over there. Good pitching staff and a great lineup, so to come in here and win three ballgames, that’s huge,” Harper said.
Souza emphatically tossed his bat after a called third strike to end the eighth inning, and was ejected by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. Souza proceeded to argue with Eddings for much of the break before the top of the ninth. It was his first career ejection.
”I was tossing my bat to either walk or go to right field and the bat stuck to my hand a little bit,” Souza said. ”The next thing, I was ejected from the ballgame.”
”I really pride myself on not crossing the line with umpires. I have never cursed at an umpire, disrespected an umpire and if I even got close I walked away because I know how hard the job is,” Souza added.
Nationals: 3B Ryan Zimmerman was placed on the 10-day disabled list with an oblique strain. Veteran INF Mark Reynolds was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse. … RHP Joaquin Benoit (forearm) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Diamondbacks: Pitchers Randall Delgado (oblique) and Braden Shipley (elbow) threw long toss. … LHP Robbie Ray (oblique) threw 60 feet and could throw a bullpen session in the coming days. … The next step for 3B Jake Lamb (shoulder) will be a rehab assignment with a minor league affiliate.
Nationals: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-0) will take on one of his former teams on Sunday. He is winless in five starts against Arizona in his career.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Godley (4-2) faces the Nationals. He is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA at home this season.
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