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Nats score 4 in 9th to take series from Diamondbacks
Question of the Day
PHOENIX — Ian Desmond is not known as a first-pitch hitter.
Facing a side-arming right-hander, one who had not allowed a run in 19 games, he changed tactics — and it worked out quite well for the Washington Nationals.
Desmond and Tyler Moore each lined two-run singles off Brad Ziegler in the ninth inning, helping the Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Wednesday to salvage what started as a difficult road trip.
“He’s really good, has some good numbers over the past few years, has been effective,” Desmond said of Ziegler. “I just wanted to make sure I got something up in the zone and let the hands do the work.”
Ziegler (0-1) hadn’t allowed a run in 18 1/3 innings, so pulling off another late-inning victory appeared to be a daunting task.
Denard Span got it started with a gritty at-bat, drawing a walk after fouling off four straight pitches. The Nationals loaded the bases and Desmond came through, lining a single through the left side. Moore followed with another two-run hit, breaking his bat on a single up the middle.
Jayson Werth homered and Tyler Clippard (4-3) tossed one scoreless inning for Washington, which took two of three from Arizona after being swept in Oakland.
“We needed this one,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. “It salvages the road trip. It started off really bad and it’s nice to get this one and head home on a positive note.”
Arizona lost to Washington in the ninth inning Monday night, and then had a surprising meltdown in the series finale by one of baseball’s best relievers over the past few seasons.
“I had a lot of swing and misses over the top and a lot of balls chopped foul,” Ziegler said. “I felt like I had decent stuff. Just didn’t execute pitches that well.”
Acquired from Detroit in an offseason trade, the right-hander spent the first six weeks on the disabled list with a back strain. He returned Saturday against Oakland and was hit hard, allowing seven runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.
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