Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond slammed a home run on Monday for his first extra-base hit since May 2. Sometimes when a hitter finally puts a charge in the ball, it can start something bigger.
Desmond continued his good feeling at the plate in the second inning Tuesday in Arizona. After Wilson Ramos singled off of Diamondbacks starter Bronson Arroyo, Desmond hit a RBI triple to deep right field to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. It was Desmond's first triple of the season.
Right-hander Stephen Strasburg notched a 1-2-3 first inning against Arizona to also get off to a good start. In his last outing on May 7 against the Dodgers, Strasburg allowed four hits and two runs in the first frame, but then settled in for 6 1/3 innings of shutout ball.
He allowed a base hit in the second and survived a Desmnd throwing error. The Nationals remain up 1-0 after two innings.
Update: The Diamondbacks got to Strasburg in the fourth. Paul Goldschmidt led off with a double and then Miguel Montero brought him home quickly with a run-scoring single to tie the game 1-1. Strasburg then rebounded to strike out the side, wrapped around an A.J. Pollock single.
Arroyo has settled in, retiring eight straight Nationals hitters. Now looking back to second, having Desmond at third with one out and not getting him home hurts a bit more the way Arroyo has locked in.
Update II: Goldschmidt added another double in the fifth off Strasburg, but this one hurt more because two men were on. Arroyo and Martin Prado singled in front of Goldschmidt. The two-run double gave Arizona a 3-1 advantage.
Update III: Strasburg finished seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, but he did not walk a batter and struck out six. He cannot win the game, but it was still a solid performance - 98 pitches, 68 for strikes. Unfortunately, Arroyo has been just a little bit better.
Update IV: Possibly the Nationals' last best opportunity came in the eighth. Pinch-hitter Nate McLouth singled with one out. Anthony Rendon went down and got one, a single to center, with two outs. But Jayson Werth flew out to left field to end the threat. The Nationals managed two hits in an inning three times - in the second, fifth and eighth frames - but scored just one run against Arroyo.
Update V: Arroyo locked up his 16th career complete game in the ninth. Ramos flew out to right, Desmond grounded out and Espinosa grounded out to second to end the game.
Arroyo went nine innings, scattered seven hits, allowed one run in the second inning, walked only one and struck out seven. Strasburg falls to 3-3.
The Diamondbacks beat the Nationals 3-1. The rubber match is Wednesday afternoon before the Nationals get to come home.