By Associated Press - Sunday, April 29, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - One start after expressing frustration about an early exit, Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez had no issues Sunday - with either his manager or the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Gonzalez struck out eight over seven strong innings as Washington earned a 3-1 victory in the finale of the three-game series.

Manager Dave Martinez pulled Gonzalez one batter into the sixth inning in Monday’s loss at San Francisco. This time, Gonzalez (3-2) threw a season-high 114 pitches while largely taming the Diamondbacks.

“Communication is key, and I think he did a great job by feeling confident in me and letting me go out there and definitely helping me feel a little bit better about saving some arms in the pen,” Gonzalez said.

Sean Doolittle pitched the ninth for his fifth save in as many chances for Washington, which had dropped six of its last seven.

The Diamondbacks lost starter Robbie Ray to a strained oblique muscle in the second inning. He waved to the dugout after throwing a ball to Matt Wieters with one out. Arizona manager Torey Lovullo and an athletic trainer came to the mound, and Ray soon departed. He was replaced by T.J. McFarland, who surrendered a home run to Wieters.

“I felt great up until that one pitch,” Ray said. “I was probably in the middle of my delivery, I was letting go of the ball and just felt my side grab and I wasn’t able to finish the pitch and left it up and away. I just wasn’t able to get anything on it.”

Lovullo said Ray will undergo an MRI on Monday.

“The DL is likely,” Lovullo said. “You guys obviously can assume that.”

Ray allowed one hit and struck out two in 1 1/3 innings. An All-Star in 2017, Ray is 2-0 with a 4.88 ERA this year and has won eight consecutive decisions dating back to last season.

After allowing Wieters’ homer, McFarland (1-1) loaded the bases and bobbled a grounder to allow another run to score. Michael A. Taylor homered in the third off McFarland, who pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief.

Arizona didn’t score until the seventh inning, when it put the first two men on base and pushed a run across on Daniel Descalso’s one-out sacrifice fly. Martinez stuck with his starter, and was rewarded when Gonzalez struck out David Peralta for the fourth time to end the threat.

“One, he had an extra day, and two, he was getting ground balls, his fastball looked live, his breaking ball was good,” Martinez said. “I said . ‘Hey, I think he’s really good for 115 pitches today, so we’ll try to get him through Peralta,’ and it was perfect.”


Washington recalled RHP Austin Voth from Triple-A Syracuse, where he was 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA in four starts. The Nationals optioned RHP Austin L. Adams to Syracuse, a day after Adams walked in the winning run in Saturday’s 4-3 loss. Adams has walked three and allowed one hit and no runs in an inning over two appearances.


Nationals SS Trea Turner stole second in the seventh inning and is 12-for-12 on stolen base attempts this year. He matched Adam Kennedy (2010) for the most consecutive steals without being caught to start a season since the franchise moved to Washington.


Diamondbacks: Lovullo said LHP Patrick Corbin had no ill effects from taking a grounder off his pinkie finger in the sixth inning Saturday. “I think we got lucky,” Lovullo said. “He’s feeling fine.” . 3B Jake Lamb (sprained left shoulder) will start a throwing progression Monday. . OF Steven Souza Jr. (pectoral strain) is expected to throw from about 110-120 feet Monday. . RHP Shelby Miller (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday.

Nationals: Martinez said 3B Anthony Rendon (bruised toe) took ground balls, ran and swung the bat Sunday but is unlikely to return Monday. It is uncertain whether Rendon will require a minor league rehabilitation assignment before rejoining the active roster.


Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (2-2, 4.80 ERA) takes the mound Monday as Arizona opens a four-game series at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Nationals: Washington’s homestand continues as Pittsburgh arrives Monday for a four-game series. RHP Tanner Roark (1-2, 3.77) seeks his first victory since April 2.

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