Washington Nationals Recap: Michael Taylor’s Grand Slam Lifts Nats To 9-6 Win

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Despite a rough outing from Gio Gonzalez, the Washington Nationals (19-16) showed some late inning grit today. For the second time this season, the Nats hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the ninth to win a game. This time, that hit came from Michael Taylor. Taylor, who was in for Bryce Harper due to Harper being ejected in the seventh, hit a pinch-hit grand slam to give the Nationals a 9-6 win. The Nats took two of three from Arizona and have now won five series in a row.

The Diamondbacks got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning against Gonzalez. Aaron Hill led off the inning with a single to center field. After back-to-back groundouts by Chris Owings and Jordan Pacheco, shortstop Nick Ahmed would drive Hill in with a base hit to left. He would go to third on the throwing error by Jayson Werth, but Gonzalez would get the opposing pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson, to fly out to right to hold the damage to one run.

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In the third, the Nationals would work a two out rally against Hellickson. After a walk by Denard Span and a hit-by-pitch to Yunel Escobar, Jayson Werth would crush a pitch to the second deck in left center for a three-run homer. Werth’s second of the season put the Nats out in front, 3-1. However, that lead would not last for long.

During the bottom of the inning, the D’Backs would score three runs against Gonzalez. After an Ender Inciarte single and a walk to Mark Trumbo, Paul Goldschmidt would get a double off the wall in center to cut the lead to 3-2.

After a RBI groundout by A.J. Pollock tied the game at three, Hill would hit a grounder to short that was botched by Ian Desmond to give Arizona back the lead, 4-3. Desmond made two errors on the day and now has 11 on the season. Matt Williams would come out during the inning and had a stern conversation with his pitcher. Gonzalez would avoid any more runs from scoring during the inning.

The D’Backs would tack on another insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. After a leadoff triple by Goldschmidt (who went 3-for-4 today), Pollock would get his second RBI of the day on a base hit to left. On the afternoon, Gonzalez went five innings, gave up five runs on nine hits, struck out three and walked two. But, he would get the no decision.

In the following inning, the Nats found a way to tie it up. After Danny Espinosa drew a two out walk against Hellickson, Chip Hale went to the bullpen and brought in Randall Delgado. With Tyler Moore at the plate, Moore hit a ball off the foul pole in left for his second home run of the season, which tied the game at five.

Things got heated for the Nationals in the seventh. With two outs, Bryce Harper was called out on strikes after checking his swing against Oliver Perez. He asked for home plate umpire Rob Drake to get help, but Drake threw out Harper and then threw out Williams as well.

Tanner Roark and Matt Thornton kept the D’Backs off the board in the sixth and seventh inning as they both escaped difficult jams. Arizona left five men on base during those innings. This included Roark getting Pollock to ground out to second with bases loaded in the sixth and Thornton, who came in for Roark in the seventh, getting Ahmed to strike out swinging.

However, in the eighth, Aaron Barrett would give up a base hit to center to  Yasmany Tomas, who came in as a pinch hitter. Even though Barrett gave up the lead at the time, he would still get the win when was all set and done.

Washington would mount a rally in the top of the ninth. With one out, Denard Span and Yunel Escobar hit back-to-back singles and Jayson Werth showed great patience by drawing a five-pitch walk. That set the stage for Taylor, who took the second pitch from Addison Reed to dead center for a grand slam. His third home run of the season gave the Nats a 9-6 lead. Drew Storen struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth for his 10th save in 11 chances.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals will continue their West Coast trip on Thursday night as they begin a four game series against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park (17-17). You can catch the game on MASN at 10:10 PM ET. Doug Fister (2-1, 2.87 ERA) gets the start for the Nats against Tyson Ross (1-3, 3.98)

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