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Nationals Salvage Series Split Despite Another D-backs Comeback

It's only June 5, and the Arizona Diamondbacks have 17 comeback wins, tied for most in the majors. 

Sunday was shaping up like No. 18, until Joe Paterson imploded like he hasn't all season and walked in the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and then gave up the hardest-hit grand slam a lot of people have ever seen to the Washington Nationals' Mike Morse.

The Nationals won 9-4.

Admit it, Diamondbacks fans. You'd become spoiled with all these rallies and being at the top of the NL West. This one was just proof that no matter how hot a team is, it can't win them all. 

The Nationals saw their 4-0 lead evaporate in the last two innings after Kelly Johnson homered and the D-backs scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie on two hits, two walks, a sacrifice fly and some hustle from the man called X, Xavier Nady, who beat out what could have been a double play to end the game and allow Miguel Montero to score from third. 

Montero showed some guile and hustle himself, taking third on the Melvin Mora sac fly to put him 90 feet away from the tying run with one out. 

The craziness of this game wasn't only to be found in the late innings. Four Nationals were hit with pitches by the Diamondbacks. Jayson Werth was hit for the third time in four games and Danny Espinosa twice, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson maintaining that the strategy was to crowd those hitters with pitches. 

Werth was hit, and the Nationals "retaliated" with Jason Marquis hitting Justin Upton in the back. Marquis and manager Jim Riggleman said there was no purpose to hitting Upton, who was hit four times in the series with pitches, because Washington was up 1-0 at the time and Marquis had a shutout going. 

In any case, Arizona reliever Esmerling Vasquez took one for the team when he plunked Espinosa in the eighth. With Marquis and Riggleman already tossed, Vasquez and Gibson were given the heave-ho by home plate umpire Rob Drake and Vasquez was cheered by some of the 23,139 at Chase Field.

"None of it was offensive to me. It was a very intense baseball game today, it was entertaining, it was well played," Gibson said. "Unfortunately someone had to lose and unfortunately it was us."

Upton didn't seem to take much offense to being hit four times, though he said it stung.

"I have been getting hit but I am not going to move," he said. "That is part of the game. If they want to keep coming in there and getting hit is part of the game, we will take care of it."

Translation: My boys got my back if the big-money player gets beaned.