Chase Field Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Denard Span shot a 1-2 change from Arizona Diamondbacks' right-hander Josh Collmenter into the right-center gap and by D-Backs' center fielder A.J. Pollock for a leadoff triple in the first game of three for the Washington Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field. A sac fly to center by Anthony Rendon brought Span in from third and the Nats took a 1-0 lead early in AZ.
Another change from Collmenter in the second ended up 15 rows deep in the left-center seats when Tyler Moore flat-out crushed it, sending a no-doubter out of the field of play for his 3rd HR of the year and a 2-0 Nats' lead.
Collmenter helped his own cause when he doubled to right field with one down and scored one out later on a ground-rule double to center by Martin Prado. Prado then scored when Paul Goldschmidt snapped an 0 for 15 streak at the plate with the third double of the D-Backs' third inning, 2-2, and then 3-2 when Miguel Montero singled to center field to bring Goldschmidt rumbling home.
Ian Desmond battled Josh Collmenter for seven pitches before sending a full-count fastball out to left field in Chase Field for a two-run blast that gave the Nationals a 4-3 lead after three and a half.
Aaron Hill doubled to center to start the D-Backs' sixth, then two outs later scored when Arizona outfielder A.J. Pollock took a 94 mph 1-0 heater out to right for an opposite field blast, his 4th, and a 5-4 lead.
Randall Delgado, Evan Marshall and Brad Ziegler preserved the lead through nine, but Danny Espinosa took D-Backs' closer Addison Reed deep to right and over the fence for a solo blast that tied things up at 5-5. Two-outs later, Kevin Frandsen took Reed deep to left to lift the Nats to a 6-5 lead.
Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth... and earned save no.8 of 2014.
4. Long Week: Jordan Zimmermann's last start was a short one. Washington's 27-year-old right-hander was up to four scoreless innings against Los Angeles in D.C. when rain delayed last Monday night's game for 3 hours and 17 minutes, ensuring that the starter would not return to the mound. The Nationals returned to the field later that night and finished the game against the Dodgers, but Zimmermann did not figure in the decision, so after seven starts this year, the '07 Nats' 2nd Round pick was still (2-1) with a 2.92 ERA, a 2.94 FIP, eight walks (1.95 BB/9) and 38 Ks (9.24 K/9) in 37 IP.
With a week between starts because of the off-day that followed the series with LA, Zimmermann took the mound again tonight in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field on extra rest in the first game of a three-game set against the Diamondbacks, against whom he was (2-2) with a 2.70 ERA, six walks (2.03 BB/9) and 18 Ks (6.08 K/9) in 26 2/3 IP before tonight, over which he held D-Backs' hitters to a .227/.279/.330 line.
A great place to watch a game with the roof open. pic.twitter.com/peqG63hwy2— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) May 13, 2014
In Chase Field, the Auburndale, Wisconsin-born, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point educated starter was (1-0) in his only previous career outing before tonight's with a 1.29 ERA in seven innings on the mound.
Zimmermann's fifth career start against Arizona began with a groundout to second...
1st: D-Backs' leadoff man Gerardo Parra sent an 0-1 fastball back over the mound, under Zimmermann's glove but right to Danny Espinosa, who threw to Tyler Moore at first. One down. Martin Prado sent a 94 mph 0-1 fastball out to short where Ian Desmond handled it. Zimmermann "missed" low with a 1-2 fastball to Paul Goldschmidt, but got the D-Backs' slugger swinging with a full-count slider to end an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
2nd: Miguel Montero grounded out to short to start Arizona's second. D-Backs' second baseman Aaron Hill took a 95 mph 0-2 fastball back up the middle for a one-out single off Zimmermann. Shortstop Chris Owings battled for nine pitches before sending a weak fly out to right. A.J. Pollock's groundout to second ended an 18-pitch inning that left Zimmermann at 29 total after two.
3rd: D-Backs' left fielder Ender Inciarte grounded out to short to start the third with the fifth ground ball out of the game by Arizona's hitters, but D-Backs' pitcher Josh Collmenter doubled to right on a 94 mph 0-1 fastball from Zimmermann in the next at bat. Gerardo Parra fell behind 0-2 quickly and ended up striking out swinging through a 1-2 slider from the Nats' right-hander. Martin Prado crushed a 94 mph 1-1 fastball, hitting a ground-rule double to center that brought Collmenter in to make it a 2-1 game in Arizona's favor. Zimmermann left a 2-1 slider up to Paul Goldschmidt, who snapped an 0 for 15 streak at the plate with an RBI double to right that tied things up at 2-2 and he scored as well when Miguel Montero lined a 1-0 curve to center field for an RBI single. 3-2 Diamondbacks. Aaron Hill's single to right was the fifth hit of the inning, but Zimmermann ended the frame when he got a force at second on a grounder to short by Chris Owings. 21-pitch inning, 50 overall after three.
4th: Given another lead to work with after Ian Desmond's two-run home run in the top of the fourth, Zimmermann gave up a leadoff single on a 1-1 curve to A.J. Pollock in the first at bat of the bottom of the inning. The D-Backs' center fielder moved into scoring position on a groundout to second by Ender Inciarte, but two outs later he was stranded there at the end of a 16-pitch frame that left Zimmermann at 66 pitches overall after four.
5th: Martin Prado lined out to right. Paul Goldschmidt flew out to right. Miguel Montero went down swinging at a 1-2 fastball to end a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 frame.
6th: Aaron Hill doubled to start the D-Backs' sixth, taking a 94 mph first-pitch fastball to center field. Chris Owings K'd swinging for out no.1 and K no.4, but A.J. Pollock hit a 94 mph 1-0 heater out the other way for a two-run blast and a 5-4 D-Backs' lead. Ender Inciarte grounded out to third for out no.2, but pinch hitter Alfredo Marte hit the fifth double of the night to left with two down... ending Jordan Zimmermann's night.
• Jordan Zimmermann's Line: 5.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 92 P, 67 S, 9/2 GO/FO.
3. Welcome Home, Coach: Matt Williams finished out his 17-year major league career with a six-year run in Arizona which featured a World Series win in 2001. After his playing days were over he returned to the D-Backs as an executive, "minority owner," television broadcaster and then coach. He stayed with the Diamondbacks until he was hired by the Washington Nationals this past winter, becoming a manager for the first time outside of a stint on the bench in the Arizona Fall League in 2012. Williams returned to Arizona tonight to take on the D-Backs.
He said it was a little odd being back in his former place of employment, though he got to spend the night at his Scottsdale, AZ home last night instead of in a hotel.
"'It’s odd,'" he told reporters today as quoted on CurlyW.com. "'But that’s part of it. I signed up for this.'"
Diamondbacks' manager Kirk Gibson told reporters, including MASN's Dan Kolko that he was looking forward to the matchup with his former coach:
Kirk Gibson on facing Matt Williams: "You know he wants to win. I want to beat his ass, too."— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) May 12, 2014
Williams responded jokingly when informed of Gibson's comments, telling reporters including MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr he would expect nothing less:
"'A little birdy told me that he said something to the effect that, 'I want to win, but he wants to beat my (butt).' I would echo those thoughts. So we want to win. That is why we are here. We are here to beat those guys and hopefully we can do that. ... He started it, so I will go back.'"
2. #Steak: Denard Span tripled to start the game. Anthony Rendon hit a sac fly to bring in the game's first run, then singled the second time up to get off to a good start in Arizona after a rough 2 for 12 series in Oakland. Tyler Moore crushed a mistake pitch from Josh Collmenter, sending a changeup soaring out to left field. But no hit was more welcome for the Nationals than Ian Desmond's fourth inning home run, which was his first since he hit a ninth-inning blast off former Angels' closer Ernersto Frieri on April 21st. It was a long 75 plate appearances between dingers, and it came at the end of a seven pitch at bat on a full-count pitch. Even after the homer, however, the Nats' shortstop was sporting a .221/.274/.359 line on the year. #moarsteak
1. The Wrap-Up: Jerry Blevins took over for Jordan Zimmermann in the sixth with a runner on second and two down and got the final out of the inning with two pitches to Gerardo Parra.
Nate McLouth singled with one down in the Nationals' seventh and one out later took third on a ground-rule double to center by Denard Span, but he had to stop there when the ball left the field of play, so it was up to Anthony Rendon, who hit a broken bat grounder to short, but was unable to beat Chris Owings' throw to first base.
Still 5-4 D-Backs.
Aaron Barrett gave up a leadoff single in the D-Backs' seventh, but got a called strike three on Paul Goldschmidt and a double play grounder out of Miguel Montero to end a 16-pitch frame.
Arizona right-hander Brad Ziegler struck out two batters in an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth.
Tyler Clippard needed just 11 pitches to retire the D-Backs in order in the bottom of the eighth.
Danny Espinosa stepped in against closer Addison Reed and took a 1-0 fastball low in the zone out to right field for a game-tying solo home run. 5-5 in the ninth. Kevin Frandsen stepped in one out later and hit the second blast of the inning, this one to left, to make it 6-5 in the Nationals' favor.
• Eh, watch it again?:
Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Strike'em out, Soriano! Rafael Soriano blew his first save of the season last time out against Oakland. He got his second chance at save no.8 tonight in Arizona.
Ender Inciarte lined the first pitch from Soriano to left for a leadoff single, but he was doubled up on a grounder to second by pinch hitter Eric Chavez. 4-6-3. Gerardo Parra doubled to left with two down on a line drive that bounced over the fence in the corner, but a Martin Prado grounder to short ended it. 6-5 Nationals.
Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!!
Nationals now 20-18