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Diamondbacks 6, Nationals 2: Can’t spell Washington without a W

TL;DR: The offense struck early and late, former D-Back Corbin took the hardluck loss, and Zach Davies earned his first win of the season.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Record: 37-25. Pace: 97-65. Change on 2022: +8

[Jim here, with a quick recap until Ben gets back later] The last time Zach Davies won a game, the D-backs starting lineup included Cooper Hummel, Matt Davidson and Seth Beer, while among those following Davies from the bullpen were Noe Ramirez, Ian Kennedy and Mark Melancon. Yeah, it has been a while: April 21st last year, to be specific. That was 24 consecutive winless starts by Davies, easily breaking the previous franchise record of 17, set by Brian Anderson back in 2001-02.

But it’s over now. The D-backs jumped on Patrick Corbin for a three-spot in the first, with a two-run double by Emmanuel Rivera the big blow there. Though the productive hits were hard to come by thereafter, it was enough to get it done. Davies did his job admirably. A two-run third was his only wobble, and he worked 6.2 innings without further damage. Evan Longoria had two RBI, including a welcome insurance run in the seventh, and Corbin Carroll homered late. Austin Adams, Scott McGough and Andrew Chafin kept the lead down the stretch, as the D-backs improved to 12 games over .500. More to come later!

[Thanks to Jim while I was out getting married].

Wowee, when this team is cooking, it is cooking. The offense returned to its dynamic April style, Zach Davies pitched a gem, and a lifeless Nationals’ lineup was mostly silenced. There isn’t much more you can ask for as a baseball or Diamondbacks fans. It’s also a cherry on top to see the D-Backs take care of business against a scuffling Nats team - especially as the mighty Dodgers struggle against the Reds. Pssst, just in case you were wondering, tonight’s victory gave Arizona an additional game lead in the division over those same Dodgers. Let’s get into the fun details!

For those that might remember, Patrick Corbin came in the top-15 for Cy Young voting as recently as 2019, but that feels like an entire lifetime ago these franchises and Corbin himself. The Nats were coming off a World Series title and had an excellent rotation and several excellent young players in the lineup to threaten any pitcher. For the D-Backs, 2019 was the last season where the team ended with a winning record. Since those halcyon days, Washington has undergone a full rebuild while Arizona boasts a division-leading team and a deep, excellent farm system to help support the major league club. And as for Corbin? He’s posted a putrid 5.68 ERA alongside a 21-47 record over the past three-plus seasons since that World Series run.

That ugly statistical reality bore itself out on Wednesday as D-Backs hitters were reading every pitch coming out of Corbin’s hand. Of the first eight pitches, there was a double from Ketel Marte, a bunt single from Corbin Carroll, and a two-RBI double from Emmanuel Rivera to absolutely blitz the southpaw veteran in the first. They would add a third run in the first inning off an Evan Longoria double, but those three runs were the limit of the damage Corbin would allow. While he bent plenty across his six innings - giving up 11 hits and a walk - he managed to wriggle out of every threat the D-Backs threw at him over the following five innings. Corbin did not have a single clean inning, but to his credit (and our frustration), the Arizona offense could not find the big hit as they were limited to just 3-15 with runners in scoring position for the game.

Luckily, Davies and the Arizona bullpen didn’t need much run support. While he labored in the bottom of the third - giving up a run on consecutive single, double, single from Alex Call, Lane Thomas, and Luis Garcia respectively and a sac double play - he found another gear to retire eight Nats in a row and pitch a season-high 6.2 innings. He then yielded to a tandem of Austin Adams, Scott McGough, and Andrew Chafin who (nearly) completely shutdown a hapless Nationals squad. It was a needed performance from the trio who have struggled at various times throughout the season - especially on the road where the staff has pitched to a 4.99 ERA and a WHIP of 1.409 compared to a 3.85 and 1.288 respectively at home.

Even still, the D-Backs offense wasn’t quite finished, although it might be more accurate to say that Corbin Carroll wasn’t quite finished at the plate. The NL ROY frontrunner had a spectacular day with a 4-5 performance while collecting two RBIs off a two-run homer in the ninth and scoring half of the six total Arizona runs. One of those runs was tacked on in the seventh on a Longoria double to give us our 6-2 final score. It’s always fun to see former players and franchises meet because of the different narratives that can stem from the dynamic and it’s even better when the player performs well and your preferred team wins in the end. It’s even sweeter when it helps a surprisingly resilient - and NL-West-leading - D-Backs squad as we move deeper into the season.

A steady but sure victory for the D-Backs