Arizona’s A.J. Pollock scores from third with the winning run on Brandon Drury’s RBI single as the Diamondbacks beat the Nats 6-5 on Friday night in a battle of probable National League playoff squads.
NATIONALS 57-38, first in the NL East, 10 games ahead of Atlanta
Arizona 6 Washington 5
WP- Rodney (4-3) LP- Romero (2-4)
HR- Peralta AZ (10), Pollock AZ (4), Lamb AZ (23)
The Nationals began a three series stretch against potential playoff teams last night in Arizona, and dropped a tough one to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Washington battled back from a 5-0 deficit to tie the score in the eighth, but Arizona got the last laugh on a one out bases loaded single by Brandon Drury that was the game winner. Here’s a look at some of the key happenings from game one of the series.
STARS OF THE GAME
A.J. Pollock went 3 for 5 with three runs scored, a home run and a triple to pace Arizona’s attack. The Diamondbacks’ centerfielder led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple off of Enny Romero to set the stage for Arizona’s walk-off win.
With seven career home runs against the Nats, the most he’s had against any non-National League West team, Jake Lamb is earning a reputation as a Nats killer. The left-handed swinging third baseman was at it again on Friday, going 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI.
The Nats eventually got to Arizona starter Zack Godley for four runs in 5.2 innings pitched, but the young hurler was impressive on the night. Godley registered a career high 10 strikeouts, and displayed a tremendous curveball that baffled the Nats’ hitters on occasion.
STRONG IN DEFEAT
Southpaw Matt Grace has flown under the radar to become a solid contributor in the Nats’ bullpen. Grace was amazing on the night, allowing only a scratch single and fanning three in 1.2 scoreless innings. In his last four outings over four innings pitched, Grace has allowed no runs, only one hit and has struck out five batters.
Daniel Murphy broke out of an 0 for 11 slump with three hits in four at bats, a pair of doubles and a RBI. The three hit game was the 13th of the season for the Nats’ hitting machine, only two fewer than the 15 three plus hit games Murphy had in his sensational 2016 campaign.
In 87 career starts for the Nats, Max Scherzer has gone five or fewer innings only nine times. The Nats’ ace’s five innings pitched was the fewest in a start since May 20th when he went five frames in Washington’s 5-2 loss to Atlanta. Scherzer’s shortest outing as a National came on August 14, 2015 when he went only three innings in Washington’s 8-5 loss at San Francisco.
Bryce Harper went 1 for 3 with a run scored and a double and walked twice. Harper’s two free passes give him 63 on the year, tied with Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona for the third most in the National League. The Reds’ Joey Votto leads the way with 69 walks, and St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter is next with 66. Harper’s .444 on-base percentage is the second best in the Senior Circuit, trailing only Los Angeles’ Justin Turner’s .467 mark.
Washington’s Tanner Roark looks for his eighth win of the year tonight at Arizona, with lefty Anthony Banda making his Major League debut for the home team.
Roark is 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA lifetime against Arizona, and is 109 with a 1.80 ERA at Chase Field. Jake Lamb is 2 for 8 with two homers against Roark and Chris Hermann is 2 for 3 with a homer, while Jeff Mathis is 0-9 with six strikeouts.
Banda was 7-5 with a 5.08 ERA at AAA Reno so far this year, and the Corpus Christi, Texas native gave up a whopping 15 hits and seven runs in five innings pitched in his last start against Salt Lake (Angels’ affiliate).