The Diamondbacks played in the nation’s capital on Cinco de Mayo and, as has been regularly the case this season, were forced to endure crap-tastic weather when playing away from the enclosed sanctuary of Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks made some unsuccessful bids in the first. Tim Locastro led things off the way we have come to expect. Unfortunately for Arizona, he was erased by a routine 4-6-3 double play off the bat of David Peralta. Ketel Marte followed that up with a walk, only to be followed by Eduardo Escobar locking up on a 1-2 pitch and watching it go by for strike three. Between the Locastro HBP nad the ealk to Marte, it was pretty clear that Strasburg did not have his curveball working the way he wanted.
For the second outing in a row, Mike Leake did not have a good outing. Unlike his previous outing, this one was not a dumpster fire outing. It was though, still one to quickly put in the rear view. In the first inning, Leake allowed a pair of singles to Trea Turner and Adam Eaton. Juan Soto then grounded into a double play which scored Turner. The bases empty, Leake responded by surrendering another pair of singles to Eric Thames and Asdrubal Cabrera. Starlin Castro then flew out to shallow center. The inning was a sign of things to come for the embattled right-hander.
End of 1st: AZ 0 - WAS 1
In the second inning, Strasburg continued to battle the weather and the control on his curve. He walked the first batter of the inning, Christian Walker. With one out in the inning, Walker was erased by a fielder’s choice off the bat of Carson Kelly. Kelly then ended the inning by getting picked off at first by Strasburg.
Leake retired the Nationals in order in the second.
End of 2nd AZ 0 - WAS 1
In the third inning, the Diamondbacks were finally able to capitalize off of Strasburg’s continued struggles pitching in the rain. Nick Ahmed started things off with an infield single to short. He then took second on a successful sacrifice bunt by Leake. Locastro then swatted a groundball double down the third base line, scoring Ahmed. Peralta then grounded out to third before Marte was caught looking at a beautiful curveball that behaved in filthy Strasburg fashion. Strasburg suddenly finding his release was bad news for the Diamondbacks.
In the bottom half of the inning, Juan Soto hit a two-out wall scraper to the left field corner. How the ball stayed fair or managed to have enough oompf to get over the fence is anyone’s guess. Eric Thames was next up and decided not to risk it the way Soto did. He crushed an absolute bomb 458 feet to straightaway center. Leake then retired Cabrera, but the damage was done. Despite only one Washington hit exceeding 96 mph on exit velocity, the Nationals had a three-run lead.
End of third: AZ 1 - WAS 3
The Diamondbacks went quietly in the fourth. More chip shots and defenders playing careful in the drenched outfield gave the Nationals another run in the bottom of the inning.
End of 4th:
AZ 1 - WAS 4
The Diamondbacks went quietly again in the 5th, Jake Lamb ending the frame pinch-hitting for Leake. Strasburg was no longer having issues with his curve.
Merrill Kelly came out to pitch the fifth inning. He managed to induce a weak groundout from Eaton. Soto followed with a single which had an exit velocity almost 10 mph greater than his wall-scraping home run. Kelly then struck out Thames on a 2-2 fastball on the inside black. As soon as the play was over, Kelly motioned to the bench, calling out the trainer. An emergency call to the bullpen was made and Junior Guerra cam in to pitch. As soon as the call was made, indicating a prolonged pitching change, the umpires decided to send the teams back to their dugouts. After a rain delay of 37 minutes, Guerra finally took the mound. He looked stiff on the mound and managed to throw a wild pitch to Cabrera, allowing Soto to take second before he finally struck Cabrera out to end the side.
End of 5th: AZ 1 - WAS 4
Tim Locastro bunted for a it in the sixth. Neither Peralta or Marte proved up to the task of moving Losasto along, so he took it upon himslf to steal second. off of new pitcher, James Bourque. Escobar then flew out to center.
The Nationals went quietly in the sixth.
End of 6th: AZ 1 - WAS 4
With Strasburg out of the game, the Diamondbacks went to work in the seventh inning. A double by Christian Walker and a single by Kole Calhoun put runners at first and third. A deep fly to right by Carson Kelly brought Walker home. A strikeout of Ahmed followed. Then, Stephen Vogt drew a walk, which then drew a call to the Washington Bullpen, bringing in Daniel Hudson, who struck out Locastro to send the game into the stretch for the few fans remaining in the stands.
End of 7th: AZ 2 - WAS 4
Sean Doolittle came out to pitch the eighth. A single by David Peralta was followed by a hard double to center by Ketel Marte. David Peralta scored and Marte, playing aggressive, took third on the throw. Escobar struck out swinging. Then, Virtual Dave MArtinez turned the ball over to Sam Coonard. Coonard began by walking Walker and striking out the struggling Calhoun. Kelly then brought both Marte and Walker home by lining a double to right, giving the Diamondbacks the lead. Ahmed then struck out swinging to end the frame.
Andrew Chafin came in to pitch the eighth inning. He was unable to hold the lead for Arizona to turn the ball over to Archie Bradley. After two quick outs, Chafin gave up a double to Castro and then a single to Victor Robles, which tied the game. Robles was then thrown out by Kelly attempting to steal second while Kurt Suzuki was batting.
End of 8th: AZ 5 - WAS 5
After pinch-hitter Kevin Cron was unable to get on base, Locastro shot a ball into the right field corner. The line drive had an exit velocity of 110 mh and the ball hit off the wall in the corner. However, Locastro pulled up between first and second and hobbled into second, rather than challenging for a triple. The speedy Josh Rojas was called upon to pinch run for Locastro. Peralta then tapped an infield single to second, putting runners on the corners for Ketel Marte. Alas, Marte grounded into a double play, ending Arizona’s threat to re-take the lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Ginkel got two quick outs. Then, Trea Turner tagged Ginkel for Washington’s third solo home run of the night, sending the Nationals home winners and ending Arizona’s win streak.
Final Score: AZ 5 - WAS 6
The player of the game was Stephen Strasburg. After a rough start to the game, Strasburg battled the elements and his own command issues to find the form so many have come to expect out of him. In 5 2⁄3 innings, Stras allowed only five base runners, despite issues with command and sloppy defensive play due to the rain.
The teams will play again tomorrow. Robbie Ray will face off against Roenis Elias.
The Diamondbacks are now 19-16, 3rd place in the NL West.