Jayson Werth improved to 27 for 91 (.297 AVG) in the month of September with a two-out single to right off Arizona Diamondbacks' lefty Patrick Corbin in the first inning of tonight's game in Chase Field. Washington's 34-year-old outfielder was stranded at first though, when the 24-year-old D-Backs' starter struck 20-year-old Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper out to end a 16-pitch top of the first. Ryan Zimmerman dove to make a backhand play, popped up and fired a strong throw over to first base to get Adam Eaton for the first out of the bottom of the first inning of the series opener in Phoenix, AZ. 25-year-old Nats' righty Stephen Strasburg got two more ground ball outs after that, to end the opening frame of his 30th start of the season after 13 pitches, seven of them strikes. 0-0.
Patrick Corbin was up to 21 pitches when he popped Nats' first baseman Tyler Moore up to end an eight-pitch top of the second. D-Backs' third baseman Martin Prado improved to 4 for 17 career vs Stephen Strasburg with a leadoff double to center field on an 0-1 fastball. Strasburg got the next two outs without Prado moving up. A.J. Pollock fell behind 0-2 in his two-out at bat, and flew out to center to strand the leadoff runner at second. 0-0 after two. 12-pitch inning. 25 total after two.
Nats' left fielder Jeff Kobernus went out to a get a 1-2 change outside and lined it to the right of second base for a two-out single to center in the Nationals' third. Kobernus stole his third base of the year with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate in the next AB, but a fly to center field ended Patrick Corbin's third scoreless frame with the D-Backs' lefty up to 43 pitches. Stephen Strasburg missed with a 3-1 fastball up high and walked Didi Gregorious to start the home-half of the third inning. Corbin took a 1-2 breaking ball off his back foot while trying to bunt Gregorious over/give up an out. Adam Eaton hit an opposite field single to left to load the bases with no one out. Gerardo Parra's RBI single to right made it 1-0 Diamondbacks. Paul Goldschmidt grounded into a 5-4-3, but the second run of the game came in on the double play. 2-0 Arizona after three in Chase Field. A 25-pitch inning had Strasburg up to 50 after three.
Jayson Werth walked to start the fourth, and scored from first when Bryce Harper doubled to center field and off the base of the wall, 413-ish feet from home. 2-1 D-Backs. Harper's 24th double of 2013. Harper got thrown out trying to take third when Miguel Montero blocked a 1-2 slider in the dirt that got Ian Desmond swinging. Desmond reached first safely when the throw went to third instead. Desmond got picked off and thrown out, though, going for stolen base no.22 of the season, and Wilson Ramos K'd looking a pitch later to end the potential Nats' threat. A.J. Pollock singled through short with one down in the D-Backs' fourth, but Stephen Strasburg got a grounder to short from Didi Gregorious and an inning-ending 6-4-3. 11-pitch inning, 61 total after four.
Tyler Moore and Anthony Rendon hit back-to-back doubles off Patrick Corbin in the first two at bats of the fifth with Rendon's line drive to left bringing the Nats' first baseman in to tie it up at 2-2. Moore's 9th. Rendon's 23rd. Jeff Kobernus walked with one down and Rendon took third on a Ryan Zimmerman fly to right, before both runners scored on a 3-run home run to left by Jayson Werth that bounced off the facade of the second deck in left field in Chase Field to make it 5-2 Nationals over the D-Backs after four and a half in Arizona. Stephen Strasburg gave up a two-out single to center by Gerardo Parra, and a line drive to right by Paul Goldschmidt, but Anthony Rendon snagged a low liner off Didi Gregorious' bat to end a 17-pitch fifth that left Strasburg at 78. 5-2 D.C.
D-Backs' right-hander Will Harris took over for Patrick Corbin in the sixth and retired the Nationals in order. Aaron Hill K'd swinging at a 1-2 curve and a 1-2 change to Miguel Montero got the catcher swinging. A.J. Pollock flew out to left-center to end a 12-pitch inning that had Stephen Strasburg up to 90 pitches. The Nationals, Strasburg included, went down in order in Harris' second scoreless inning of relief work. A groundout by Didi Gregorious gave the Nats' starter five straight outs after the D-Backs' back-to-back two-out singles in the fifth. Pinch hitter Cliff Pennington K'd swinging at a 1-2 curve. Adam Eaton's line drive to left ended an 11-pitch inning that had Strasburg up to 101.
Chaz Roe gave up a one-out walk to Jayson Werth in the top of the eighth. Werth's pinch runner, Corey Brown, was forced out at second on a Bryce Harper grounder. Ian Desmond's single sent Bryce Harper from first-to-third with two down, and Desmond moved up on a wild pitch. Wilson Ramos stepped in with two on and two out and hit his 16th home run out to center for a three-run home run that made it 8-2 in the eighth.
• Strasburg's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 101 P, 65 S, 8/4 GO/FO.
• Strasburg in 2013: (W, 8-9), 30 G, 30 GS, 183.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 16 HR (0.79 HR/9), 56 BB (2.75 BB/9), 191 Ks (9.39 K/9).
Tyler Clippard took over for the Nationals in the eighth and retired the D-Backs in order in a 10-pitch inning. Right-hander Matt Langwell hit Anthony Rendon on the wrist to put the leadoff runner on in the Nats' ninth. Chad Tracy's pinch hit single put two on. Two outs later, Corey Brown walked to load the bases and bring Bryce Harper up, but a grounder back to the mound ended the top of the inning. Aaron Hill singled off Fernando Abad to start the home-half of the ninth and took second on defensive indifference. Miguel Montero popped up for out no.1. A.J. Pollock lined to left for a single that put runners on the corners. Didi Gregorious brought in a run with a groundout, 8-3. Pinch hitter Matt Davidson doubled to center to drive in the D-Backs' fourth run, 8-4. Xavier Cedeno took over for Abad. Adam Eaton grounded back to the mound. Ballgame.
Nationals now 85-75