|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
Back here on South Capitol Street, the Nationals have Jayson Werth back in their lineup after he left Sunday's game with what appeared to be a groin injury. But, in a surprise development, Ryan Zimmerman is not listed on Davey Johnson's lineup card. You wouldn't think he'd need a day off after the club didn't play yesterday, but perhaps there's a little nagging something going on. Stay tuned.
Gio Gonzalez gets the start, hoping to continue his impressive run while actually earning the win for a change. Right-hander Trevor Cahill is on the mound for Arizona.
Updates to come...
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 184
Weather: Partly cloudy, 90 degrees, Wind 9 mph out to CF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
RF Jayson Werth
1B Adam LaRoche
SS Ian Desmond
3B Chad Tracy
LF Roger Bernadina
C Kurt Suzuki
LHP Gio Gonzalez
SS Willie Bloomquist
2B Aaron Hill
1B Paul Goldschmidt
C Miguel Montero
LF Cody Ross
3B Martin Prado
RF Gerardo Parra
CF A.J. Pollock
RHP Trevor Cahill
HP Mike Estabrook
1B Greg Gibson (cc)
2B Hunter Wendelstedt
3B Alan Porter
7:07 p.m. — We are underway on a steamy, 90-degree Tuesday night in the District. Safe to say summer has arrived at last. Gio Gonzalez starts off Willie Bloomquist with a fastball for strike one.
7:14 p.m. — This one started off a bit ragged, with Bloomquist lacing a double to right-center to lead things off. Jayson Werth couldn't get there in time and didn't appear to be moving around real well. I talked to Jayson before the game and he said his groin was fine and didn't think he'd have any limitations tonight. Watching that first play, I'm not so sure about that. The good news: Gio battled back from the leadoff double and escaped without allowing a run. He got Aaron Hill to pop out, the super-dangerous Paul Goldschmidt to ground out and then struck out Miguel Montero on a good curveball to end the inning.
7:31 p.m. — Three hits so far allowed by Gio, but he's been helped out by his defense. Ian Desmond made a really nice play on Cody Ross' bouncer to short. Denard Span then fired a perfect, one-hop strike to Kurt Suzuki to nail Martin Prado trying to score on A.J. Pollack's base hit up the middle. That's Span's third outfield assist of the season .So it remains scoreless as we move to the bottom of the second.
7:50 p.m. — Another scoreless inning from Gio, capped off by an impressive changeup to Goldschmidt for his second strikeout of the night. That's becoming more and more of a weapon for Gonzalez, one that adds another dimension to his repertoire. Still 0-0 as we go the bottom of the third and the Nats still look for their first hit off Trevor Cahill.
8:07 p.m. — Whoa, it's an offensive explosion by the Nats! And I mean a real offensive explosion. Five runs, to be exact. That's only the third time this year they've plated five runs in an inning. And it included a LaRoche three-run homer, only the seventh hit by the Nats this year (plus Desmond's grand slam last week in Philly). Other highlights of the rally: Span delivered the first RBI single up the middle, bringing home Kurt Suzuki. Anthony Rendon then delivered yet another base hit to the opposite field. By my count, 24 of his 31 hits have been hit to either center or right fields. Werth added his own RBI single to left. LaRoche then brought everybody home with a three-run blast to left-center, another opposite-field shot. It's 5-0 Nats after three.
8:40 p.m. — Make it 6-0 Nats after five. Werth got things going with a double to right-center, the third time he's reached base tonight. He later scored on Desmond's sac fly as the Nationals take out their offensive frustrations on Cahill, who somehow remains in this game. Gio, meanwhile, is cruising along, five scoreless innings in the books and thrilled to finally get some run support.
8:56 p.m. — Gio finally started to show some signs of fatigue in the sixth. He gave up three straight hits, allowing his first run, and also issued a two-out walk, drawing Steve McCatty out of the dugout for a chat and putting Tyler Clippard to work in the bullpen. Gio is now at 91 pitches through six, and you wonder if that might be it for him. 6-1 Nats moving to the bottom of the sixth.
9:06 p.m. — Or maybe not. Gio hit for himself in the bottom of the sixth, and now he's back out for the seventh. I'll be interested to see how he looks here. Drew Storen is now warming in the pen just in case.
9:28 p.m. — And "Just in case" indeed happened. Gonzalez lasted just two batters in the seventh before Davey came out from the dugout to make the switch. So in came Storen, who got himself in trouble with a two-out walk to Aaron Hill, forcing him to face the dangerous Goldschmidt in a big spot. And Goldschmidt delivered an RBI single, extending the inning. Making matters worse, Rendon then booted a hard grounder to second, bringing another runner home. All of a sudden, it was 6-3 and Storen was facing the tying run at the plate in Cody Ross. With the count 3-2, Ross swung mightily and something went flying into shallow left field. Fortunately for Storen, it was Ross' bat. The ball wound up in Suzuki's mitt for a big strikeout to end the inning. Its' 6-3 Nats at the stretch.
9:47 p.m. — Golden opportunity for the Nats to tack on in the bottom of the seventh, but a questionable send by Trent Jewett got Rendon thrown out at the plate. Then, with Ryan Zimmerman pinch-hitting for Chad Tracy against a left-hander, the rally fizzled on a pop-up to the center of the diamond. It remains 6-3 Nats and now Rendon is shifting to third base, with Steve Lombardozzi at second base. Tyler Clippard in to pitch the eighth.
9:53 p.m. — This one's not over quite yet, folks. Martin Prado, that noted Nat-killer, launched a solo homer off Clippard to begin the eighth, so that trims the lead to 6-4. Clippard, though, stopped the bleeding right there and retired the side following the homer, so now the Nationals are three Rafael Soriano outs away from a victory.
10:01 p.m. — There's your insurance run. Lombardozzi doubles and then scores as reliever Brad Ziegler couldn't handle Goldschmidt's feed on a potential 3-1 groundout. So it's now 7-4 as Soriano enters for the ninth.
10:15 p.m. — That's it. Soriano closes out a 7-5 victory for his 20th save (the D'backs scored one late and seriously threatened). And Gio Gonzalez gets his long-awaited fourth win, his first since May 5. The Nats are back at .500 (38-38).