What was expected to be a pitcher’s duel turned out to be anything but that as the Nationals jumped on Robbie Ray in the top of the first inning. They batted through the entire order before they were finally retired, but that was after they scored four runs on a leadoff homer, four singles and a walk. With Stephen Strasburg on the hill for the Nationals, it felt like an insurmountable lead.
For the Nationals, Strasburg didn’t allow any runs but he struggled with his command early and never really looked comfortable. After throwing 51 pitches through two innings, Strasburg got pulled from the game with an apparent injury. At the time, it seemed like it could be the break the Diamondbacks needed to get their offense going.
In the top of the 3rd inning, the struggles continued for the D-backs. A throwing error by Chris Owings as he fielded and threw to first base allowed the leadoff runner to reach safely. Daniel Murphy singled, followed by a walk to Anthony Rendon to load the bases. A run scored on a groundout by Adrian Sanchez to make the score 5-0 in favor of the Nationals. The D-backs would get out of the inning with no further damage.
In the bottom of the 5th inning, Ray was pulled for pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta, who singled with one out. The next batter, Daniel Descalso, walked followed by an RBI single by Ketel Marte. David Peralta then singled to drive in Descalso. After a pitching change, the Nationals were able to get the final two outs stranding runners on the corners.
The Nationals would add another run in the top of the 7th inning when Wilmer Difo homered off J.J. Hoover, who replaced Ray in the top of the sixth inning. That made the score 6-2 in favor of the Nationals. And that’s how the game ended.
Stats that matter
- Robbie Ray has seen better outings – 5.0 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 Ks, HR on 101 pitches total
- The D-backs had another bad RISP day as the went 2-for-11 with runner’s in scoring position
The D-backs were never really close in this one, as Ray’s first inning blow-up was too much to overcome. Not that there weren’t chances, because there were, but the D-backs just couldn’t come through with clutch situational hitting.
The D-backs stay in Phoenix for another three-game series, this time against the Atlanta Braves. They play on Monday at 6:40 pm MT. Zack Greinke (11-4, 2.97 ERA) will take the hill against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (6-6, 4.14 ERA) for the Braves.