Washington Nationals Recap: Nats Blown Out By Diamondbacks, 11-4


There was big excitement at Nationals Park for tonight’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks (52-53). It was Jayson Werth Chia Pet giveaway night, and the fans were lined up to get into the park hours before the gates opened. The fans who came for the Chia Pet saw a game where the Nationals were ahead for five innings, and then got blown out for the other four innings in a 11-4 loss to Arizona. Those fans who hadn’t taken their Chia Pets home early got to see Tyler Moore pitch in the top of the ninth inning.

Gio Gonzalez was on the mound for the Nationals while Rubby De La Rosa pitched for the Diamondbacks. Neither pitcher is known as a fast worker, and the pace of this game was slow and deliberate. Gio spent the night, as usual, dancing in and out of trouble.

The Nationals scored in the bottom of the first. Yunel Escobar doubled on the first pitch he saw from De La Rosa, who would then walk Anthony Rendon and Bryce Harper. With the bases loaded, Ryan Zimmerman hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Escobar. Rendon advanced to third on the fly ball.

Jayson Werth also hit a sacrifice fly to right field, which scored Rendon. Harper went to second on the fly ball to get himself into scoring position. Danny Espinosa, who got the start at shortstop in this game, had a long at-bat but eventually flew out to end the inning.

Gio had a long top of the second. He walked the first batter, Aaron Hill, and then gave up a single to Yasmany Tomas. With two on and no outs, Gonzalez had to bear down. He struck out Micah Owings, Nick Ahmed and De La Rosa to get out of the jam.

The Diamondbacks would pick up their first run in the bottom of the third. Ender Inciarte singled in a close call at first. Matt Williams challenged the safe call, but it was upheld after review. A.J. Pollock would hit a ground ball to short that the Nats would get the force at second on, but Rendon’s throw to first was high and Pollock was aboard at first. Paul Goldschmidt and Welington Castillo hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Gonzalez would get out of the inning by only giving up one run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Aaron Hill.

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As for De La Rosa, he settled down after the first inning and the Nationals only got one more hit off of him in the next four innings.

Gonzalez started the sixth inning, and allowed a single to Tomas. Gio was relieved, having thrown 95 pitches, and Aaron Barrett took over. Gio left the game with the lead, but it didn’t last long. Barrett gave up a single to Owings. Then, Ahmed bunted to the pitcher, and Barrett overthrew the ball to first, which allowed Tomas and Owings to score and Ahmed to get to third.

Pinch hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia would single to drive in Ahmed and extend the D’Backs lead t0 4-2. Barrett finally got the first out of the inning on a pop out by Inciarte, but then allowed a single to Pollock.

Barrett was relieved by Tanner Roark, who was put in a tough situation because he had to pitch to Goldschmidt with runners on and little time to warm up. Roark got Goldschmidt to fly out to Bryce Harper in right field for a huge out. Roark walked Castillo to load the bases, and then walked Hill to give the Diamondbacks another run. That brought in Tomas again, who started the inning. Roark struck out Tomas to put an end to the inning, but the Diamondbacks had put four runs on the board and the Nationals were behind 5-2.

David Hernandez pitched the sixth for Arizona. Harper led off the inning with a single, which was only the third hit the Nats had managed all night. Zimmerman struck out, Werth flew out, and Espinosa lined out to first base to end that scoring chance.

Roark pitched a scoreless top of the seventh. Addison Reed pitched the bottom of the seventh for Arizona. After Lobaton flew out, Michael Taylor singled. Clint Robinson pinch hit for Roark and reached on a fielder’s choice. Escobar shot a ball to the gap in right field that sent Robinson to third. With runners on the corners, Rendon struck out, which wasted another scoring chance.

Matt Thornton came in to pitch the top of the eighth for the Nationals. He gave up a triple to Inciarte to start the inning. It would have been a double if not for Werth misplaying the ball a bit in left field. Espinosa got an out on a nice play on a hot shot liner by Pollock. Thornton walked Goldschmidt to put runners on the corners. However, Castillo would provide the dagger with a three-run homer to extend the lead to 8-2 in favor of Arizona.

Felipe Rivero pitched the top of the ninth for the Nationals. He hit Owings with a pitch to start off the inning. He induced a pop out by Ahmed. Cliff Pennington would then pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot and he singled. Inciarte also singled to load the bases. Rivero was then called for a balk during Pollock’s at bat, which brought in another run and advanced the runners to second and third. Pollock would end up driving in a run with a RBI single to make it 9-2. Rivero was removed from the game in favor of…Tyler Moore.

It’s a sad state of affairs when the most exciting part of the game is when a position player comes in to pitch. Moore entered the game to wild cheers from the remaining Nats fans in the stadium. To the cheers of “Let’s go Tyler”, Moore had to face Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt reached on a fielder’s choice, but the Nats got the out at second. Another run scored. Moore then hit Castillo, but got Hill to line out to second to end the inning. The Snakes were ahead 11-2.

Daniel Hudson took over the pitching duties for Arizona in the bottom of the ninth. There was no miracle comeback in the cards for the Nats this evening, however the Nationals did not give up. After Espinosa flew out, Lobaton singled. Taylor hit a home run to make the score 11-4. But, that’s all the runs the Nats would score.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals (55-51) finish their series with the Diamondbacks (52-54) tomorrow afternoon at 4:05 PM ET at Nats Park. You can catch the game on MASN. Joe Ross (2-3, 3.00 ERA) gets the start for the Nationals against Jeremy Hellickson (7-7, 4.95 ERA) for the Diamondbacks.

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