PHOENIX - The slide into third might not have been textbook, but Denard Span’s leadoff triple in the top of the sixth has allowed the Nationals to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning here at Chase Field.
It’s also given Span the major league lead in triples this season.
Span roped a first-pitch changeup from Diamondbacks righty Brandon McCarthy into the right field corner and turned on the jets. He slid into third awkwardly, ending up on his backside as his momentum took him past the bag, but got some help getting up from third base coach Trent Jewett, who pried Span off the ground with both hands.
Ryan Zimmerman then followed with an RBI groundout, allowing Span to score the game’s first run.
Span now has 11 triples on the season, most in the major leagues.
The last D.C.-based player to lead a league in triples was Del Unser, who had eight triples in 1969. No D.C.-based player has ever led Major League Baseball in triples.
Dan Haren, meanwhile, is trying to go out with a bang in his final start of the season, and likely his final start as a National.
Haren has thrown six scoreless innings tonight, allowing just three hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He’s needed just 87 pitches (62 strikes) to get to this point, and has located the ball down in the zone well.
This has been the form that’s allowed him to largely turn things around the last couple months after an awful start.
Update: A late insertion into today’s Nats lineup due to an injury to Adam LaRoche, Chad Tracy has had himself a nice afternoon.
Tracy crushed a solo homer over the pool in right-center in the seventh inning, giving the Nats a 2-0 lead. It’s Tracy’s fourth homer of the season.
He also smoked a ball to the 413-foot mark in right-center in the second inning - a drive that went for a loud out - and singled in the fifth. On the defensive end, Tracy has made a bunch of nice scoops on throws in the dirt.
Haren owns a 2-0 lead as he takes the mound for the bottom of the seventh.
Update II: That’ll do it for Haren’s season.
He went seven scoreless innings today, allowing just four hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He threw 107 pitches, 77 for strikes.
He leaves in line for his 10th win of the season. In 15 starts since coming off the disabled list, Haren has a 3.29 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
An awful start to the season for the right-hander, but a pretty strong finish.
Drew Storen will work the eighth with the Nats leading 2-0.
Update III: Storen worked a perfect eighth and Rafael Soriano notched his 43rd save as the Nats closed out a 2-0 win over the Diamondbacks.
Soriano sure didn’t make it easy, allowing a single, a walk and a wild pitch in the ninth to put the tying run in scoring position, but he eventually got the job done.
Haren improves to 10-14 on the season, and the Nats pick up their 86th victory of the year.
Assuming this is actually it for him, Davey Johnson is now guaranteed to finish his managerial career at least 300 games over .500, which Johnson revealed has particular meaning for him.
Turns out the 2013 season was a success after all.