After falling behind in today’s series finale, the Nationals were on the verge of returning to D.C., with a 1-5 record from their six-game road trip.
To say today’s game was a must-win might be a little exaggerated, but boy was it important.
Denard Span’s leadoff walk in the ninth started the Nats’ rally. Anthony Rendon then doubled before the D-backs intentionally walked Jayson Werth, who had homered previously in the sixth inning.
Desmond then came through with a go-ahead, two-run single with no outs.
“I just wanted to get a fastball and put barrel on it,” Desmond said of his game-winning hit. “... I got something up in the zone and pretty much beyond that let the hands work.”
Span was facing Diamondbacks’ set-up man Brad Ziegler, who had not allowed a run in his previous 18 1/3 innings. Ziegler allowed all four runs in the ninth.
“Those don’t happen very happen off of (Ziegler),” manager Matt Williams said. “He’s got a minuscule ERA for a reason. He’s tough, especially on right-handers, but we were able to stay on him today and get him in there.”
Tyler Moore also drove in a pair of runs with a single in the ninth.
The Nats and Diamondbacks were tied heading to the ninth after Fister threw seven innings, in which he allowed five hits and one earned run and struck out six.
His second outing in a Nats uniform was far better than his first one last Friday against the Athletics when he did not make it out of the fifth inning.
Fister said the main difference between his first start and his one today was finishing his pitches.
“It’s a matter of executing and getting out there,” Fister said. “Same mindset. Same game plan. Same everything. It’s just a matter of finishing.”
Fister was in a pitching duel with his counterpart, Diamondbacks’ right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who also allowed just one run. Fister felt the fast pace of the game worked towards his advantage.
“You’re always making adjustments and try to keep the tempo,” Fister said. “That’s my goal when going out there, to do things as fast as possible. It keeps the defense on their toes and gets us back into offense and gets us a chance to score.”
Although the road trip did not go the way the Nats wanted it to, the club will leave Arizona with a series win.
“We needed this one,” Williams said. “It salvages the road trip. It started off really bad for us. It’s nice to get this one to go home on a positive note.”