Nats off to a shaky start out west (Werth’s 25th homer is a bomb)

PHOENIX - Stephen Strasburg’s third inning of work included two walks, including one to the Diamondbacks’ number eight hitter, hitting the opposing pitcher on a 1-2 curveball when said opposing pitcher was squaring around to bunt, and two singles.

Frankly, Strasburg was fortunate to come out of the inning having just allowed two runs.

An RBI single by Gerardo Parra broke a scoreless tie and kept the bases loaded with none out, but Strasburg induced a big 5-4-3 double play, turned nicely by Anthony Rendon despite Parra coming in on him quickly, to help limit the damage.

Strasburg has thrown 61 pitches through four, just 39 of which have been for strikes. He hasn’t been too sharp early on, but has managed to avoid major trouble.

He and his Nationals teammates trail the Diamondbacks 2-1 after four innings, with Bryce Harper having driven in the lone Nats run with a laser of a double off the wall in left-center.

Harper smoked a first-pitch fastball from Patrick Corbin to the 413 mark, and Jayson Werth came all the way around from first to score.

Harper then was thrown out trying to advance on a third strike in the dirt to Ian Desmond, and Desmond was picked off first just minutes later.

Two TOOTBLANs (thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop) in the same inning won’t make Davey Johnson too pleased.

While the Nats have been a little sloppy for the most part tonight, Ryan Zimmerman did make two sparkling defensive plays in the first inning.

He dove to his right to snag a hot-shot grounder off the bat of Adam Eaton leading off the first, hopped to his feet and delivered a strike to first to get Eaton by a step. A tremendous play, one that was followed by a spinning grab of a Paul Goldschmidt grounder into the hole and then a strong throw to get him at first.

Zimmerman’s defensive surge continues.

Update: The Nats put up a four-spot in the top of the fifth, and Werth delivered most of the damage with one sweet swing.

He absolutely demolished a 1-2 fastball from Corbin out to left, a three-run shot that banged off the facade of the second deck. That ball went a long ways, and the homer, Werth’s 25th of the season, gives the Nats a 5-2 lead.

Tyler Moore and Rendon opened the inning with back-to-back doubles, but Werth’s homer is still the talk of the press box. They don’t estimate the distance on home runs here at Chase Field, but we’ll have to check HitTrackerOnline tomorrow to get a guess on how far that one went.

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