Nationals rally for win in Matt Williams’ return to Phoenix

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PHOENIX — Red and blue lights flashed in the darkness as rap music blared and smoke filled the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse.

The party ended at the door of the manager’s office.

Inside it, Matt Williams, the one person who should have been celebrating, was subdued, calmly talking about his team’s latest comeback win.

With his team’s recent struggles, he was just happy to get a win — no matter where it was.

Pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen and Danny Espinosa each hit solo homers in the ninth inning, helping the Nationals rally for a 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday night in Williams‘ return to the desert.

Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams (9) and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson (23) shake hands before a baseball game, Monday, May 12, 2014, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams (9) and Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson ... more >

“It’s good win for us,” Williams said. “We needed that.”

Williams was a fixture in Arizona before becoming Washington’s manager this offseason.

His new team scored four runs early, shut down for four innings, and tied it when Espinosa hit the second pitch of the ninth by Addison Reed (1-3) just over the wall in right.

Frandsen put the Nationals up by lining his second career pinch-hit homer to left and Rafael Soriano stranded a runner at second in the ninth for his eighth save.

Tyler Clippard (3-2) pitched a scoreless inning, Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer and Tyler Moore added a solo shot for Washington, which followed a three-game sweep by Oakland with its 11th comeback victory.

“We needed that win,” Espinosa said. “Coming off the series we just had, we really needed this. It’s a good win.”

The Diamondbacks thought they had it.

Arizona had 13 hits — three by Aaron Hill — and went up 5-4 when A.J. Pollock hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning.

The bullpen did its job for three innings until it got to the ninth, where Reed struggled for his second blown save and Arizona’s first loss when leading after eight innings (11-1).

“There is not controversy here. He is our closer,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “He has done a (heck of a) job for us. Let’s not forget that. It didn’t work out tonight.”

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