After being unable to ever get comfortable against the Oakland A's and getting swept, the Nationals could ask for nothing more than to get off to a quick start in Arizona against the vulnerable Diamondbacks, a team that has won just three of their first 18 games at home.
Facing Josh Collmenter, leadoff hitter Denard Span fought through four straight cutters before getting a changeup and lacing it for a triple to center field to begin the game. Anthony Rendon brought him home on a sacrifice fly and the Nationals took a 1-0 lead.
Jordan Zimmermann delivered a 1-2-3 inning, including an impressive strikeout of Paul Goldschmidt, and the Nationals led after one inning in Arizona.
Update: Nationals are waiting well on Collmenter's changeup. Similar to Span, Tyler Moore got to Collmenter's change and crushed it for a solo homer in the second. The Nationals have opened up a 2-0 lead.
It is Moore's third homer of the season. Hopefully this will get him going. I believe with his everyday at-bats as a starter, he will be able to get into a nice groove. This is a great start.
Update II: Collmenter hit a rare double in the third off of Zimmermann. One batter later with two outs, Martin Prado delivered a ground-rule double and the Diamondbacks got on the board. That cut the Nationals' lead in half to 2-1.
Goldschmidt than hit an RBI double to right field and Arizona tied the game 2-2. It was the Diamondbacks' third double of the inning.
Miguel Montero then added Arizona's third straight hit off of Zimmermann, a run-scoring single and suddenly the Diamondbacks took their first lead of the game, 3-2.
Aaron Hill then provided his second single of the game and Zimmermann was not fooling anyone. Chris Owings grounded into a force out at second to end a damaging inning. The Diamondbacks pounded out five hits, three of them for extra bases, and Arizona now leads by one. Zimmermann is up to 50 pitches through three frames.
Update III: The Nationals did not let Arizona enjoy that lead for long. In the fourth, following a Wilson Ramos walk, Ian Desmond launched a two-run shot for a 4-3 lead. It was Desmond's first RBIs since May 2.
Update IV: Hill's third hit of the game was a double to lead off the sixth. One batter later, A.J. Pollock crushed a two-run shot over Jayson Werth's head and the Diamondbacks led 5-4.
Pinch-hitter Alfredo Marte hit a double with two outs in the inning and that was the end of Zimmermann's night. Zimmermann went 5 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits, five runs, all earned and no walks while striking out four. He threw 92 pitches, 67 for strikes. Six of the 10 Arizona hits went for extra bases against Zimmermann.
Update V: Facing Evan Marshall, Nate McLouth with a one-out single in the seventh. With two outs, Span cranked a ground-rule double putting men on second and third. It was Span's second extra base hit of the night. Rendon was called out on a grounder to deep short. Manager Matt Williams requested a video replay review. The umpires confirmed the call on the field stands. D-backs lead 5-4 heading to the bottom of the seventh.
Update VI: In the ninth, facing Arizona closer Addison Reed, Danny Espinosa hit a dramatic leadoff solo homer, his sixth of the season, tying the game at 5-5.
Then with two outs, Kevin Frandsen slammed a go-ahead pinch-hit solo home run to give the Nationals the lead again, 6-5. It was Frandsen's second career pinch-hit homer. It is the first time this season the Nationals have hit four home runs in a game.
Rafael Soriano got pinch-hitter Eric Chavez to ground into a double play in the ninth. Then, Gerardo Parra connected for a ground-rule double. But Soriano was able to get Prado to ground out to Desmond to end the game. It is Soriano's eighth save.
The Nationals beat the D-backs 6-5, snapping a three-game losing streak.