Jun 27, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) throws during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Nats Lose Pitching Duel to Arizona

The Washington Nationals played their final game in the current series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon in a game that was bookmarked by two events– a rain delay of an hour to begin the game and a fire in the stadium lights in the middle of the eleventh inning. In between the two teams played an exciting game which featured fine pitching by both starters and spectacular defense in the field.

The Nats could not stave off the Diamondbacks in an extra inning game, and lost 3-2.

Stephen Strasburg pitched for the Nationals and turned in another quality start. He pitched seven innings and gave up two runs on a home run by Aaron Hill in the sixth. Patrick Corbin gave up two runs in seven innings on a two run home run by Ian Desmond in the fourth inning.

The defense by both teams in this game was full of highlight reel moments. Denard Span robbed Jason Kubel in the second inning on a fabulous catch when he practically climbed the wall. Jhonatan Solano was great behind the plate, blocking balls in the dirt all day and throwing out Gerardo Parra at second who was attempting to advance on a ball that appeared was going to get away from the catcher, but did not. Denard Span was robbed of a double and go ahead RBI by Paul Goldschmidt who snagged a screamer on the first base line with a runner on second. Neither team committed an error.

After the seventh inning, it was up to the bullpens. Drew Storen, Ian Krol and Rafael Soriano worked the eighth, ninth and tenth in succession, giving up no runs.

Craig Stammen started the top of the eleventh inning by giving up a ground rule double to Miguel Montero. A.J. Pollock came in to pinch run for Montero. Cody Russ sacrificed Pollock to third. Now the D’Backs had a runner at third with one out. Didi Gregorius then laid down a perfect bunt to score Pollock and Gregorius was safe at first. Stammen got Chad Pennington and Wil Nieves to strike out to end the inning, but the D’backs had the lead.

Heath Bell came in to pitch the bottom of the eleventh for Arizona. Jayson Werth, who has a good career record against Bell, struck out. Adam LaRoche singled to give the Nats life. Desmond hit a ground ball and LaRoche was out at second, but Desmond beat the throw to first. With two outs, Roger Bernadina came to the plate and got the fastball he was hunting from Bell, but popped it up in the infield to end the game.

Next Game: The Nationals start a three game series with the Mets in New York. The scheduled starters are Ross Detwiler (2-6, 4.18 ERA) and Mets ace Matt Harvey (7-1, 2.05 ERA). The pitching for this series will be interesting. Mets rookie Matt Harvey is scheduled to start on Sunday, and the Nationals will be starting TBA for Saturday to take Dan Haren’s start, but all signs are pointing to Taylor Jordan being called up to make the start for the Nats.

Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Nationals Strasburg Washington Nationals

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