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Washington Nationals 6-2 over Arizona D-backs for first back-to-back wins of 2021

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Erick Fedde gave the Nationals a solid start and the bats came through in a 6-2 win over the Diamondbacks.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Erick Fedde matched a career-high in Ks with nine strikeouts from 21 batters faced in five strong innings on the mound in the nation’s capital, where the Washington Nationals guaranteed at least a split of their four-game set with Arizona’s Diamondbacks with a 6-2 win.

Fedde vs Arizona: Erick Fedde struggled in his 2021 debut, giving up six hits, three walks, and six runs (five earned) in just two innings of work against the Atlanta Braves in the nation’s capital before he was pulled from the outing, but he bounced back with 4 23 solid innings of work on the road in St. Louis in which he held the Cardinals’ hitters to two hits, two walks, and one earned run.

The 2014 1st Round pick said afterwards that his focus after the rough initial outing was on not doing too much in reaction to a poor showing, after he liked where he was coming out of the Grapefruit League season.

“I didn’t want to over-panic or immediately say one bad outing was going to be something that was going to make me change everything and hit the panic button,” the 28-year-old told reporters.

“If anything it was just stay calm and just remember where I was at, and try to get back to that point.”

Fedde looked sharp early in start No. 3, striking out six of the first ten batters he faced, as the Nationals jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but a one-out homer to right by Kole Calhoun tied things up at 1-1 in the top of the third (and landed in the second deck).

Fedde was up to 75 pitches (and seven Ks from 17 batters faced) after he retired the D-backs in order in the top of the fourth, and he picked up two more strikeouts and worked around a two-out walk in a 20-pitch fifth which ended his outing after 95 pitches overall.

Erick Fedde’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks, 1 HR, 95 P, 60 S, 2/2 GO/FO.

Weaver vs Washington: One of three players acquired from St. Louis in the trade that sent Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals, Luke Weaver, a 27-year-old, 2014 first round pick, had a rough 2020 campaign, in his fifth season in the majors, going (1-9) in 12 outings over which he put up a 6.58 ERA and a 4.67 FIP in 52 IP.

In his first two starts this season, the right-hander had a 2.13 ERA and a 4.95 FIP, coming off seven scoreless innings of work against Cincinnati in which he gave up one hit and a walk, while striking out eight of the 24 batters he faced.

D-backs’ skipper Torey Lovullo said it was a special day for Weaver, who took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in that outing.

“He throws up seven zeros, has a perfect game for the majority of the game, has a no-hitter for an inning beyond that. He put up those zeros,” Lovullo said.

Weaver’s follow-up to that outing this afternoon saw him toss a quick, 15-pitch bottom of the first, working around some shaky defense for a scoreless frame, but Yan Gomes hit a 1-1 fastball out to left field in the bottom of the second for a one-out solo shot that made it 1-0 Nationals early.

It was 1-1 in the fourth when Starlin Castro and Andrew Stevenson hit back-to-back doubles off the D-backs’ starter, putting the Nationals back on top, 2-1, and Stevenson scored easily from second on Yan Gomes’s second hit of the day, an RBI single, 3-1. Jordy Mercer followed with the fourth straight hit, and Erick Fedde bunted both runners into scoring position with one out and Trea Turner due up. Turner’s grounder to short was bobbled enough that he got to first in time and loaded them up for Juan Soto, who hit a sac fly to deep left, 4-1.

Luke Weaver’s Line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 94 P, 63 S, 4/3 GO/FO.

SOto GOOD: Juan Soto started the third of four with the D-backs in D.C. 12 for 32 (.375 AVG) with a double, two home runs, six RBIs, three walks, and seven runs scored in the previous eight games, with multi-hit efforts in five of the eight, as the club mentioned in pregame notes for the matchup.

Soto went 0 for 2 in his first two trips to the plate, though he did manage to connect for a sac fly in a three-run fourth, and he lined one into the gap in the sixth only to have D-backs’ center fielder Pavin Smith make a diving catch to rob him of extra bases. He finished up 0 for 5 with an RBI and a strikeout.

Bullpen Action: Lefty Caleb Smith came on for Arizona in the bottom of the fifth, and worked around leadoff and two-out singles in a scoreless, 20-pitch frame.

Sam Clay took over for the Nationals in the top of the sixth, and gave up a two-out solo shot to left on a 3-2 sinker to Eduardo Escobar, after starting the count up, 0-2. Escobar’s 6th this season made it a 4-2 lead in the Nationals’ favor.

As the Nationals’ PR team noted, the home run Sam Clay gave up in the top of the sixth was just the second he’s allowed across any level since Aug. 12, 2018 in Double-A ball.

“He’s now allowed just two professional home runs since the start of the 2017 season (126 G/193.0 IP),” the Nationals wrote on Twitter.

Caleb Smith tossed a scoreless sixth to keep it a two-run game, 4-2 Nationals.

Kyle Finnegan completed a scoreless, 25-pitch inning in the top of the seventh, stranding a one-out walk.

Anthony Swarzak gave up an opposite field double to left by Kyle Schwarber in the first at bat of the Nats’ seventh, and Schwarber scored on an RBI single by Starlin Castro, 5-2.

Tanner Rainey worked the eighth for the Nationals, retiring the side in order in a 10-pitch top of the inning, and Ryan Zimmerman added to the Nats’ lead with an opposite field homer to right off D-backs’ reliever Taylor Clarke in a pinch hit appearance, 6-2. Zimmerman’s 2nd.

Wander Suero came on for the Nationals, but after a leadoff walk, he had an issue on the mound which led the club to pull him.

Kyle McGowin took over and got a potential DP grounder out of Nick Ahmed, but Trea Turner booted it. Two on, no one out.

Starlin Castro dropped a pop to short left field, but got an out at third after missing the catch, and McGowin got the final two outs to end it.

Ballgame.

Final Score: 6-2 Nationals

Nationals now 5-7