Joe Ross leads Nats to 8-3 win

For the third straight game, the Nationals have scored first. Ian Desmond mashed right-hander Jeremy Hellickson’s first offering deep over the wall in the left-center alley in the second. The solo shot was Desmond’s 12th homer on the season.

Nationals rookie right-hander Joe Ross has struck out three over the first two innings while yielding one hit.

Update: Desmond roped a double off the wall in left to start the fourth. A line drive single to center from Wilson Ramos gave the Nats runners at the corners. Desmond then scored easily on Michael A. Taylor’s groundout to second.

Ross has thrown four scoreless frames, allowing just two hits with five strikeouts.

Update II: Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the fifth with a solo homer to right-center field.

Update III: Bryce Harper smoked a one-out single in the fifth. After Clint Robinson lined out to right, Jayson Werth struck out. But, Hellickson’s curveball skipped away from Saltalamacchia, allowing Werth to reach first safely and extend the inning.

Desmond followed with a walk to load the bases. Ramos then blistered a two-run single to left to extend the Nats’ lead.

Update IV: Ross delivered another impressive start, giving up one run on five hits with no walks and seven strikeouts.

Right-hander Casey Janssen took over in the seventh and struggled from the start. Janssen issued a leadoff walk and then consecutive singles to load the bases. Ender Inciarte ripped a one-out, two-run double down the right field line to cut the Nationals lead to one.

Left-hander Matt Thornton came on to finish off the seventh.

Update V: Ryan Zimmerman answered with a two-out pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh.

Update VI: Clint Robinson smacked a three-run homer to right in the eighth. It was Robinson’s fifth of the season.

Recently recalled right-hander Blake Treinen will pitch the ninth.

Update VII: Treinen finished off the Mets in the ninth.

The Nationals beat the Diamondbacks 8-3 to pull within 1 1/2 games of the Mets for the lead in the National League East.

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