Game 114: Nationals 6, Diamondbacks 5

Usually, the Nats’ pitching bails out the offense. Tonight, it was the opposite.

The Nationals (71-43) batted around in a five-run fifth inning that turned a 1-4 deficit into a 6-4 lead to overcome a poor start by Edwin Jacksonand beat the Diamondbacks, 6-5, for their eighth straight win.

Aug. 11, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Edwin Jackson (33) throws in the first inning against Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

Jackson (W, 7-7) turned in an uncharacteristically bad start, allowing five earned runs on three walks and eight hits in 5.2 innings while striking out six. After allowing his fifth run on a Ryan Wheeler double with two outs in the sixth that scored Gerardo Parra, Jackson was lifted for Tom Gorzelanny, who ended the inning by striking out Stephen Drew. Gorzelanny was then lifted for Ryan Mattheus in a double switch that saw Bryce Harper enter the game in center field. Harper was given the night off from starting in order to rest him, as he is mired in a slump that has seen him hit .173 since the All-Star Game. He struck out in his only at-bat in the game. Mattheus closed out the seventh, and Michael Gonzalez threw a scoreless eighth to set up Tyler Clippard’s perfect ninth, where he earned his 24th save of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.04.

On the offensive side of things, the Nats took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a Ryan Zimmerman double that scored Danny Espinosa thanks to a Justin Upton error. The Nats then did not score again until the fifth, by when they had fallen into a 1-4 hole. The inning began with a Steve Lombardozzi bunt single, and an Edwin Jackson sacrifice that moved Lombardozzi to second. Lombardozzi then scored on a double by Jayson Werth, who moved to third on a Danny Espinosa double made possible by an error charged to Diamondbacks 3B Chris Johnson. Both Werth and Espinosa then scored on a Zimmerman single, tying the game at four apiece. Zimmerman then advanced to second on a wild pitch and third on a throwing error by the catcher Miguel Montero, and scored on a Michael Morse double to take a 5-4 lead. The fifth run and an ensuing walk to Adam LaRoche knocked Arizona starter Wade Miley, who entered the game with a 2.85 ERA, from the game after just 4.1 IP. The barrage continued after Miley was replaced by Brad Bergesen, as Jesus Flores hit a two-out RBI single that scored Morse before the inning ended with a Lombardozzi popout with the score at 6-4, the Nationals holding a lead their staunch bullpen would not relinquish.

Champ of the Game: Zimmerman, who was 2-5 with two game-tying RBI and a run scored.
For the Diamondbacks, Miguel Montero reached base 3 of his four plate appearances and both scored a run and had an RBI.

Chump of the Game: Jackson, who put his offense in a hole fairly early on.
For Arizona, Miley was the victim of poor fielding but still allowed five runs and only went 4.1 IP.

Unsung Hero: Morse, whose double gave the Nats the lead for good.
Arizona’s bullpen allowed only one baserunner after the first inning and gave their offense a chance to retake the lead.

Next Game: Tomorrow at Arizona, 4:10 PM. Detwiler (6-4, 2.99) v Corbin (3-4, 3.53)

Topics: Arizona Diamondbacks, Edwin Jackson, Michael Morse, Washington Nationals

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