Diamondbacks Avoid Sweep By Nationals, Win 7-4

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Diamondbacks Avoid Getting Swept At Home

After committing three errors the night before, it was the Diamondbacks turn to take advantage of some early mistakes by the Nationals, as they avoided the sweep with a 7-4 victory. The Diamondbacks were able to take a 1-0 lead in the game before recording their first hit. Paul Goldschmidt led off the second inning, reached first on a throw in the dirt by third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, and advanced to second on the error. On the very next pitch, Goldschmidt stole third, and was able to advance home on another throwing error, by newly acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki, who came to the Nationals from the Oakland Athletics August 3.

The Diamondbacks were able to build on their lead as Chris Young connected on a double down the third base line to get things started in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Jason Kubel was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Paul Goldschmidt proceeded to hit his 34th double of the season on a fly ball down the left field line which scored Young and Kubel to give the D-backs a 3-0 lead.

Another Nationals mistake came in the bottom of the fifth inning when pitcher Ross Detwiler walked Chris Young. The next batter, Aaron Hill, smashed a line drive double to the left-center field gap to score Young. Jason Kubel drilled a line drive back to Detwiler, who reacted just quick enough to avoid getting struck in the face by the batted ball. With two outs, Detwiler was immediately replaced by reliever Craig Stammen after the play.

On the first pitch by Stammen, Goldschmidt hit a single straight up the middle to score Hill. Justin Upton got in on the fun by hitting a double down the third base line, scoring Goldschmidt, and Miguel Montero followed with his own double to the right-center gap, scoring Upton. By the time the inning ended, eight batters had come to the plate, and the Diamondbacks had a 7-0 lead.

The Nationals finally got on the scoreboard when leadoff batter Danny Espinosa hit a double to right center to start off the seventh inning, and Ryan Zimmerman singled to score Espinosa. Tyler Morse singled to center field, advancing Cesar Izturis, who replaced Zimmerman as a pinch runner, to third. Adam LaRoche hit a sacrafice fly to score Izturis, but Patrick Corbin struck out Tyler Moore to end the inning and end his afternoon, with a 7-2 lead.

Corbin looked very comfortable on the mound as he retired 16 Nationals hitters in a row during the game. He cruised through the first six innings, facing the minimum number of batters, with a little help from Bryce Harper, when he got picked off while attempting to steal second base in first inning. Corbin finished with seven strikeouts on 88 pitches, giving up just two runs on four hits.

The Nationals made it interesting as Diamondbacks reliever Takashi Saito gave up two runs on back-to-back doubles, and a single by Tyler Moore. With one out, Saito was replaced by closer J.J. Putz, who walked Steve Lombardozzi to bring the tying run to the plate with two outs. Putz struck out Roger Bernadina to close out the game and end any hopes of a comeback.

The Diamondbacks will head out of town to take on the St. Louis Cardinals for three games, and then head on to Houston for a three-game series before heading back home. The Diamondbacks got a much needed victory before facing the Cardinals, who they lost three straight against earlier in the season.

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Nationals Rally With Big Inning, Hold Off Diamondbacks

There are reasons the Washington Nationals are the best team in the major leagues, at least going by record. One is their ability to not panic in the face of a deficit, and instead put forth quality at-bats and stay aggressive at the plate. That strategy worked Saturday, as the Nats batted around and plated five runs in the fifth inning on their way to a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

This one had to be a tough loss to take for the Diamondbacks, who built a 4-1 lead only to see it disappear. A pair of errors opened the door for the Nationals' big inning, which featured five hits including a two-run single by Ryan Zimmerman.

All-Star starter Wade Miley (12-8) was unable to make it out of the inning and lasted 4 1/3, allowing six runs but only four of those were earned, plus the wild pitch he threw. The Diamondbacks didn't help him with three errors on defense (two in the fifth), one each for Justin Upton, third baseman Chris Johnson and catcher Miguel Montero.

"I make good pitches and I get out of it," Miley, who has been heralded as an NL Cy Young Award candidtate, said. "Just go out (six days from now) and put hit behind me. Just forget about it and go home."

Aaron Hill hit his 14th home run of the season and Montero hit his second triple of 2012, helping the Arizona Diamondbacks grab the early lead. The Diamondbacks looked to have control of the game in the second inning when they scored twice, Upton hitting a leadoff double off the glove of Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and scoring on Montero's triple to center. Two outs and four batters later. Stephen Drew drove in Montero with a single to make it 3-1.

Upton heard the boos early when he booted a hit into the right field corner that allowed the Nationals' Danny Espinosa to score from first base. But Hill got that run back quickly, hammering an Edwin Jackson pitch into the left-field seats.

It turned out to be a very good offensive day for Upton, who also doubled in the third inning. The Diamondbacks added their fourth run when Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Jason Kubel to score from third with the bases loaded and one out.

Jackson left the game in the sixth ahead 6-5 after a single by Gerardo Parra and a pinch-hit double from Ryan Wheeler. As usual, Parra, the star of the night due to it being his bobblehead likeness giveaway, motored around the bases and scored.

Newly recalled pitchers Brad Bergesen and Bryan Shaw turned in scoreless performances out of the bullpen. Bergesen pitched 1 2/3 innings and Shaw struck out the side in seventh.

Hill led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, but was left stranded there. The Diamondbacks still had life though, and the crowd was energized when reliever David Hernandez struck out the brash rookie Bryce Harper looking to end the top of the eighth.

Parra reached base twice in three trips to the plate, but was removed in favor of Chris Young in the bottom of the eighth. Young drew a walk, and with runners at first and second, Arizona State standout Jake Elmore made his major-league debut. But Elmore flied out to right, and Stephen Drew struck out.

"In the seventh and eighth we were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson pointed out. "To play as poorly as we did, it hurts that much more."

Washington closer Tyler Clippard set down the D-backs in order to earn the save.

The Diamondbacks (57-57) missed a chance to gain ground on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost in Miami, and fell to five games out of first place behind San Francisco in the NL West.

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