Diamondbacks Rally, Defeat Nationals, 7-5
PHOENIX, Aug. 5 – Adam Jones cracked two RBI doubles and a crucial two-out, two-run single, and Archie Bradley pitched a two-inning save as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the visiting Washington Nationals, 7-5, on Sunday afternoon.
Former Diamondbacks pitcher Patrick Corbin started for the Nationals, while Taylor Clarke opened for the hosts. The first inning saw only one baserunner – third baseman Anthony Rendon – and he reached base when he was hit by a pitch. In the top of the second, the Nationals jumped out to an early lead. First baseman Matt Adams drew a leadoff walk. The next hitter – second baseman Brian Dozier – lined to center for the first out, but then Gerardo Parra belted a two-run home run to right. No one else reached base, as catcher Yan Gomes and Corbin flied to center and grounded to short, respectively.
Arizona responded in the bottom of the inning. First baseman Christian Walker got things going with a walk. Next, right fielder Adam Jones smoked a double into the left field corner. It was barely fair, causing third base umpire Doug Eddings to lunge to his left to avoid being hit by the rocket. Second baseman Wilmer Flores followed with a walk. Both Jones and Flores advanced by one base on a wild pitch to the next batter, shortstop Nick Ahmed, who doubled to the left-center field corner. With the Diamondbacks holding a 3-2 lead, no one could bring Ahmed home. Catcher Carson Kelly grounded to short for the first out, while Clarke and left fielder Tim Locastro each struck out, retiring the side.
Diamondbacks Homer, Nationals Respond
Turner led off the third with a single to left, making it appear that the Nationals might mount a threat of their own. However, right fielder Adam Eaton ripped a liner directly at Walker, who was holding Turner on. Walker hardly had to move to step on first after catching the drive, putting Turner out at the back end of an unassisted double play. Rendon then popped to first, bringing the Diamondbacks up to the plate.
Center fielder Ketel Marte led off the bottom of the inning with the most exciting play in baseball. He hit a sinking liner to left-center field. Parra’s only chance was to dive, and he missed. As the ball skipped past him to the wall, Marte turned on the jets. He rounded third as the relay man caught the initial throw. As the relay reached the plate, Marte slid, crossing the plate before any tag could get him. His second career inside-the-park home run extended the Diamondbacks lead to 4-2. Only one of the next four hitters reached base, as third baseman Eduardo Escobar flied to right, Walker singled, Jones struck out, and Flores flied to left.
Dozier became the second of the two players who position-pitched the night before to homer, as he hit a two-out solo home run to left, narrowing the gap to 4-3. Parra then singled and advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt by Clarke, but Gomes then struck out, stranding Parra on second. Corbin then sat the Diamondbacks down in order in the bottom of the fourth. The fifth inning went the same for both pitchers, as they each posted a 1-2-3 inning to send the close game to the sixth.
Bullpens Get Involved
Rendon and left fielder Juan Soto each flied out to start the sixth for the Nationals. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo then brought in Andrew Chafin to face Matt Adams, who singled to center. Yoan Lopez then took the hill to finish the inning, and what an adventure it was. Dozier singled to left, putting runners on first and second with two out. Then Parra walked, loading the bases. On a 1-1 count to the next hitter – Gomes – Kelly allowed a passed ball, bringing in the tying run. With runners now on second and third and the pitcher on deck, the Diamondbacks walked Gomes intentionally. Corbin then hit the first pitch hard, but Flores scooped it up easily and stepped on second to end the threat.
Walker led off the bottom of the sixth with a single to right, bringing up Jones. On a 1-1 count, he did what he did in the second inning – ripped a laser down the left field line. Just like the first time, Eddings had to lunge out of the way, and just like the first time, Walker scored from first. Jones advanced to third on a grounder to second by the subsequent hitter, Flores. Ahmed then walked, ending Corbin’s outing.
Daniel Hudson took the hill and struck out Kelly for a crucial second out. Next came David Peralta, hitting for Lopez. During his at-bat, Ahmed stole second, but it did not matter, as Peralta grounded to second, ending the inning.
An Exciting Finish
Turner led off the seventh against new pitcher Yoshihisa Hirano with his second single of the game and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eaton. Rendon followed with a single, bringing Turner across with the tying run. Soto then walked, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position. However, Hirano struck out both Adams and Dozier to keep the game tied going into the bottom of the seventh.
Locastro led off the bottom of the seventh against new pitcher Wander Suero. He reached first when Suero plunked him – the 15th such occurrence for Locastro this season. Marte followed with a single, then Escobar flied to the warning track in center. Locastro tagged at second and advanced to third – a heads-up baserunning play that heavily paid off. After Walker whiffed, Marte stole second on the first pitch to Jones. Two pitches later, Jones poked a single to right, scoring both runners and giving the Diamondbacks a 7-5 lead that they did not relinquish. Pinch hitter Jake Lamb then grounded to first for the final out of the inning.
Bradley Slams the Door for the Diamondbacks
Archie Bradley came aboard to pitch the eighth and shut the Nationals down. His only blemish was a two-out single in the eighth by pinch hitter Andrew Stevenson. Hunter Strickland pitched the bottom of the eighth for the Nationals and had a similar performance, with the only baserunner coming via a two-out walk by Peralta.
Bradley then slammed the door in the ninth, aided by sparkling defense. After Eaton grounded to short, Rendon crushed a liner down the left field line. Escobar dove to his right and snatched the ball out of the air with a highlight-reel grab, energizing both the crowd and his team. It seemed like a foregone conclusion at that point that Soto would not reach base, and it turned out to be correct, as he flied to left to end the game.
Hirano (4-5) earned the win in relief, while Suero (3-6) received the loss. Bradley earned his second save of the season. The win brought the Diamondbacks back to .500 (56-56).
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