When the Nationals took a 6-0 lead in the fifth, it looked like the game would be a laugher. This was far from the case. The Diamondbacks tacked on five runs of their own before the night was through, and had the tying run on base when Rafael Soriano finally closed the door on this rollercoaster ride. Gio Gonzalez finally got the run support he so desperately needs, earning his first word in nine starts despite having a 2.25 ERA over that stretch. And while the bullpen nearly blew his best shot at a win, the Nats held on just enough. Perhaps even more surprising is that the Nationals managed seven runs with a gimpy Jayson Werth and no Ryan Zimmerman, making for thirteen runs in their past two games. When Bryce Harperreturns, which should be soon given his encouraging minor league rehab start tonight, the Nationals might have some sort of respectable offense. However, a warning: don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Adam LaRoche‘s 3-run home run (+11.5%)
The Nationals jumped out to a big lead early with a five-run third inning. It started out small-ball style, with a walk, a sacrifice, and a single by Denard Span giving the Nats a 1-0 lead. Then the Nationals scored with consistent hitting, as two more singles scored Span to make it 2-0. Finally, the Nationals scored via the long ball, with LaRoche’s homer breaking it open by scoring Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth to make it 5-0.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Martin Prado‘s game-ending fielder’s choice (+6.9%)
When the game had earlier seemed easily in the bag, its outcome seemed much more in question with two outs in the ninth. A Cody Ross single put runners on first and second with Prado at the plate, and Nationals fan. Prado was a noted Nationals nemesis with the Braves, and since he homered earlier in the game, Nats fans were understandably nervous. However, they were able to exit their emergency pillow forts when Prado grounded to second to end it.
Champ of the Game: Gonzalez (+15.8%) was more than good enough in earning his first win since May 5th: 6.1 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. For Arizona, Miguel Montero (+3.9%) was 2-5 with two RBI, but also struck out twice.
Chump of the Game: Ian Desmond (-3.3%) was the tough-luck titleholder for this ignominous distinction. He had a decent game, going 0-3 with a sacrifice fly and an RBI. Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill (-31.7%) got lit up, allowing six earned runs on eight hits and two walks in five innings.