Ross, offense come up big as Washington Nationals earn split with 8-3 win


After last night’s brutal loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Washington Nationals returned to the win column with a big victory over Arizona Thursday afternoon at Nationals Park. It was an 8-3 win for the Nationals, who secured a split of the four-game series against Arizona.

Today’s win was especially encouraging because of the Nationals’ rare, offensive outburst, but it all started with starter Joe Ross, who turned in yet another brilliant effort and set the tone for the rest of the game.

Ross dominated, throwing six innings of work while allowing just one run on five hits. The right-hander struck out seven batters and didn’t walk anybody, lowering his ERA to 2.80 along the way.

Ross’ only blemish came in the top of the fifth inning when a home run by Jarrod Saltalamacchia put the D-backs on the board. But that was all the damage Arizona could do against Ross, and by that time, the Nationals had already taken the lead.

Ian Desmond got the scoring started for the Nationals with a solo home run in the bottom of the second. The Nationals made it a 2-0 game on an RBI groundout by Michael A. Taylor. After Saltalamacchia’s fifth-inning home run, the Nationals got the run right back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Wilson Ramos, giving Washington a 4-1 lead.

Despite the three-run advantage, the Nationals nearly lost control of the game in the top of the seventh. with the usually dominant Casey Janssen on the mound in the seventh, the Diamondbacks scored two runs to trim the Nationals’ lead to 4-3. Fortunately for the Nationals, Matt Thornton came into the game and retired two batters to end the inning and leave the tying and go-ahead runs on base for the Diamondbacks.

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After the D-backs failed to tie the game in the top of the seventh, Ryan Zimmerman gave the Nats an insurance run with an RBI double in the bottom of the inning. Unfortunately for Arizona, Washington’s offense wasn’t done.

With two runners on in the bottom of the eighth inning, Clint Robinson connected on an 86 MPH sinker from Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler and sent it over the wall in center field for a three-run homer. It was Robinson’s fifth home run of the season, and it stretched the Nationals’ lead to 8-3.

That was all the offense the Nationals would need on the night, as Thornton, Drew Storen and Blake Treinen each turned in a scoreless inning of work to secure the win for the Nationals. Apart from Janssen, it was an encouraging game for the bullpen as a whole and for Treinen in particular, as the right-hander had been called up from Triple-A Syracuse hours before tonight’s game.

Next Game: Jordan Zimmermann and the Nationals kick off a three-game series against Jorge De La Rosa and the Colorado Rockies tomorrow night at Nationals Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

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