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Nationals rally in ninth for 5-1 win over D-Backs: Ian Desmond's two-run hit lifts Nats

It was all tied up at 1-1 after eight when the Washington Nationals rallied against Arizona Diamondbacks' reliever Brad Ziegler. Ian Desmond hit a bases-loaded two-run single through the left side of the infield to make it a 3-1 game. 5-1 final in the finale in Chase Field.

May 14, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) throws during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
May 14, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) throws during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Photo © Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports

Series Finale Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: Veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy retired the first twelve hitters he faced this afternoon in the series finale with the Washington Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona's Chase Field. McCarthy took the mound in the top of the fifth with a 1-0 lead courtesy of D-Backs' second baseman Aaron Hill, who took a 3-0 pitch from Doug Fister out to left for a solo home run. McCarthy gave up the first hit of the game on an infield single by Ian Desmond, but after retiring the next three batters in order, he'd set 15 of 16 batters down.

It was still 1-0 D-Backs after six, but Jayson Werth got the Nationals on the board with a leadoff blast in the top of the seventh on a 2-0 cutter from McCarthy. Werth's fifth home run of the season tied it up at 1-1.

With the score still tied at 1-1 after eight, D-Backs' right-hander Brad Ziegler walked Denard Span to start the inning. Anthony Rendon doubled to right in the next at bat and after an intentional walk to Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond stepped in and lined a two-run single to left on the first pitch he saw. 3-1 Nationals. Tyler Moore's one-out single to left-center drove in two more, 5-1 Nats.

That's how it ended.

Nationals take two of three from the D-Backs in Chase Field with a 5-1 win.

4. ReDoug: Doug Fister's first start of the 2014 campaign did not go as well as he hoped.

After dealing with elbow inflammation and a minor right lat strain this spring, which led to a DL stint that delayed the start of the 30-year-old right-hander's first season with the Washington Nationals, Fister made his Nats debut in Oakland's Coliseum last Friday, giving up nine hits and seven runs, five earned over 4 1/3 IP in which he threw 79 pitches, many of them up in the zone.

"Lack of execution," Fister told reporters after the first of the Nats' three losses to the A's this past weekend. "That's basically what it is. I failed at it tonight and didn't go out there and get the job done."

"The ball just wasn't sinking much," Nationals' skipper Matt Williams explained. "That's probably a case of feeling maybe too good. And certainly wanting to do well, but he'll be much better next time."

Fister was pitching on a week's rest that night, with seven days between his final rehab start and his first major league outing of the season.

He wasn't willing to blame his struggles on the extra rest, however.

"No matter what day you pitch, it's a matter of going out there and executing," he said. "Whether you're a little sore or whether you're feeling great, you've just got to make the adjustment and I didn't make the adjustment tonight."

In his second start for the Nationals, who acquired him from the Detroit Tigers this winter, Fister faced the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time in his five-plus years in the majors...

1st: D-Backs' leadoff man Gerardo Parra sent a 1-0 fastball back up the middle, over Fister's glove on the mound and past a lunging Danny Espinosa. Martin Prado popped to short-center in the next at bat. Denard Span got a late jump, Espinosa couldn't make it and a charging Jayson Werth had it bounce off his glove. Parra was stuck with no choice but to wait, however, so he was forced out at second on the play. Paul Goldschmidt K'd swinging at an 89 mph 2-2 fastball for out no.2. Miguel Montero chased a high 85 mph cutter he regretted swinging at for a second straight swinging K. 14-pitch first for Fister. 0-0 after one.

2nd: Aaron Hill fell behind 0-2 on two called strikes low in the zone, but took a 2-2 cutter through the left side of the infield for the D-Backs' second leadoff hit in two innings. Cody Ross K'd looking at a 1-2 two-seamer knee-high outside. K no.3. D-Backs' outfielder A.J. Pollock grounded to short in the next at bat, but Ian Desmond dropped it as he made the exchange looking for the force at second. E:6. Chris Owings grounded into a force at third for out no.2. Brandon McCarthy's groundout to first ended a 24-pitch second. 38 overall after two.

3rd: Gerardo Parra singled in his first at bat of the game, sending a grounder back up the middle of the infield. The second time up he lined to center for his second hit of the day. Fister picked him off, however, catching the D-Backs' outfielder trying to get a jump. Martin Prado K'd swinging at a 90 mph 2-2 heater in under the fists. Paul Goldschmidt's fly to short left ended a 14-pitch frame. 52 pitches total for Fister.

4th: Miguel Montero popped out to Jose Lobaton to start the D-Backs' fourth, but four pitches later it was a 1-0 game after Aaron Hill hit a 3-0 fastball out to left field for a no-doubter and a 1-0 lead. Cody Ross grounded out to third for the second out of the inning and A.J. Pollock fouled strike three into Jose Lobaton's mitt to end a 15-pitch frame that left Fister at 67 overall after four. 1-0 D-Backs though...

5th: Chris Owings grounded out to short to start the D-Backs' fifth. Brandon McCarthy took a 3-2 fastball back up the middle for a one-out single. Gerardo Parra was 2 for 3 today after he flew out to left. Martin Prado stepped in with one on and two out and went down swinging at an 0-2 curve to end a 14-pitch frame. 81 overall for Fister. 1-0 D-Backs.

6th: Paul Goldschmidt grounded out to second to start the D-Backs' sixth. Miguel Montero took a fastball on the hip and took first base, but he was erased from the basepaths when Aaron Hill grounded to third to start an inning-ending 5-4-3. Nine-pitch inning for Fister. 90 overall after six.

7th: Cody Ross grounded out to Anthony Rendon at third. A.J. Pollock tested Ian Desmond's backhand. Desmond passed the test. Chris Owings popped out to Jose Lobaton behind home. 10-pitch inning. 100 pitches even after seven by Fister. Nine groundouts.

• Doug Fister's Line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 64 S, 9/3 GO/FO.

3. vs RHP: D-Backs' right-hander Brandon McCarthy entered this afternoon's series finale with a (1-6) record, a 5.66 ERA, 4.02 FIP, 10 walks (1.89 BB/9) and 45 Ks (8.50 K/9) in eight starts and 47 2/3 IP. So, of course, he started the game by retiring the first 12 Nationals' hitters he faced. The strong start for McCarthy wasn't too surprising actually.

Entering this afternoon's outing, the 30-year-old veteran in his ninth major league season, had held hitters to a .162/.192/.280 line, which jumped up to .320/.370/.520 on pitches 26-50, .302/.333/.528 on pitches 51-75 and .410/.400/.641 when he got up to 76-100 so far in 2014.

He needed just 50 pitches total to retire the first 12 hitters he faced in order today.

Ian Desmond reached on an infield single in the top of the fifth to break up McCarthy's nascent no-hit bid, but the D-Backs' starter retired the next three batters in order to strand Desmond at first. Five scoreless on 65 pitches.

Nate McClouth reached on an infield single in the first at bat of the sixth, then stole second. A sac bunt by Doug Fister moved the runner over to third with one out. Denard Span grounded out to first on the first pitch he saw in the next at bat, however, leaving it up to Anthony Rendon... who sent a grounder out toward second that looked like a single until Aaron Hill dove for it and made a strong throw to first to get the final out of the inning.

1-0 D-Backs after five and a half...

Jayson Werth's solo home run started the seventh, but McCarthy kept rolling, retiring the next three Nats in order to end a 16-pitch frame that left him at 93 pitches overall.

McCarthy came back out for the eighth and retired the Nats in order. 1-1 after seven and a half in Arizona.

2. Follow Fister: Brandon McCarthy held the Nationals to one hit through five, but Nate McLouth tried to jumpstart the offense in the first at bat of the sixth, with an infield single (ruled an E:6) and stolen base to get himself into scoring position with no one out. Doug Fister took a strike and missed a bunt attempt to fall behind 0-2, but got the sac down to put McLouth on third with one out. Denard Span grounded out on the first pitch he saw, however, leaving it up to Anthony Rendon, who stepped in with a .262/.283/.571 line with RISP so far this season and sent a sharp grounder toward right that... Aaron Hill dove for and snagged. A strong throw to first beat Rendon to the bag, and it was still 1-0 D-Backs after five and a half.

With the score still 1-0 Arizona after six, Jayson Werth got hold of a 2-0 cutter from McCarthy and sent it out to the seats to the left of center field in Chase Field for a game-tying blast. HR no.5 for Werth. 1-1 game in Arizona.

1. The Wrap-Up: After seven innings by Doug Fister, Nats' skipper Matt Williams went to Tyler Clippard in a tie game in the eighth and retired the D-Backs in order in an 18-pitch frame. D-Backs' right-hander Brad Ziegler gave up a leadoff walk by Denard Span and a double to right by Anthony Rendon that put runners on second and third with no one out. Ziegler walked Jayson Werth intentionally to get to Ian Desmond, who took it personally, lining the first pitch he saw through the left side for a two-run single and a 3-1 lead. Tyler Moore drove in two more with a line drive to left-center and it was 5-1 Nats after eight and a half.

Rafael Soriano took over in the ninth in a non-save situation and gave up a one-out single by Miguel Montero before inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 off of Aaron Hill's bat.

Nationals now 21-19