Nationals Avoid the Sweep against the Diamondbacks

Joey Meneses of the Nationals running out the go-ahead homer against the Diamondbacks.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 8

PHOENIX, May 7 — Joey Meneses hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth to bring the Washington Nationals back and beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 9-8. In the process, the Nationals avoided a sweep at the hands of the Diamondbacks.

In front of 17,174 fans, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. continued his hot hitting, but the bullpen, for the second day in a row, could not hold the lead. This time, it led to a loss.

Start the Game

The Nationals went quietly in the first inning. After Lane Thomas flied out to lead off the game, Luis Garcia singled, but the inning ended when Keibert Ruiz grounded into a double play.

The Diamondbacks started off with a Josh Rojas fly out. Ketel Marte singled on a soft bunt ground ball to third baseman Ildemaro Vargas. Corbin Carroll doubled to right, sending Marte to third, but Christian Walker struck out and Pavin Smith popped to the shortstop, ending the threat.

Second Inning

Meneses singled on a liner to center, followed by a walk to Dominic Smith. A passed ball by catcher Jose Herrera moved Meneses to third and Smith to second. Alex Call singled on a ground ball to center field. Meneses scored as Smith went to third, giving the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

Stone Garrett struck out for the first out. CJ Abrams flied to right, where Pavin Smith made a strong throw to Herrera. Dominic Smith was out at home for the third out. Nationals 1, Diamondbacks 0.

The Diamondbacks led off of the bottom of the second with a long home run to left by Gurriel. The ball traveled 414 ft with a 103 MPH exit velocity. Dominic Fletcher singled, followed by a Geraldo Perdomo fly out. After Herrera was called out on strikes, Fletcher was caught trying to steal second to end the inning. Diamondbacks 1, Nationals 1.

After a Quiet Third Inning

It was a quiet third inning by both teams. After nothing in the top of the fourth for the Nationals, for the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the fourth, Walker led off with his eighth home run to left field. The ball traveled 380 ft with a 104.6 MPH exit velocity.

A walk to Gurriel preceded a Fletcher double, moving Gurriel to third. A balk by Nationals pitcher Trevor Williams scored Gurriel and moved Fletcher to third. Perdomo flied out before Herrera struck out to end the inning. Diamondbacks 3, Nationals 1.

Nationals Tie it Up

In the top of the fifth, Garrett singled, followed by an Abrams single. Vargas was out on a sacrifice bunt, moving Garrett to third and Abrams to second. Lane Thomas grounded to second, scoring Garrett. Garcia singled on a line drive to right field, scoring Abrams. Ruiz lined to second, ending the inning. Diamondbacks 3, Nationals 3.

Diamondbacks Take the Lead

Rojas led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk. Marte tripled to right, scoring Rojas to give the Diamondbacks the lead again. The Nationals replaced Williams with Andres Machado. Walker hit a hot smash grounder to third, and Marte quickly got back. Pavin Smith walked, putting runners at the corner. Gurriel hit a 95 MPH sinker to deep left field for his second home run of the game. That home run traveled 391 FT and had an exit velocity of 104.4 MPH. Fletcher grounded out, ending the inning. Diamondbacks 7, Nationals 3.

Joe Mantiply Replaces Ryne Nelson

Ryne Nelson was taken out after five inning and 90 pitches and replaced by left hander Joe Mantiply. After two quick outs, an error by Gurriel kept the inning going. It was his first error in 19 games, but Mantiply got Garrett to chase a third strike to end the inning.

Bottom of Sixth

In the bottom of the sixth, Hobie Harris replaced Machado. He proceeded to give up walks to Perdomo and Rojas, who then pulled off a double steal. Marte walked to load the bases. Carroll struck out before Walker grounded to short, ending the inning. Diamondbacks 7, Nationals 3.

 Diamondbacks Shaky Bullpen

The seventh inning saw Kevin Ginkel replace Mantiply and give up singles to Vargas and Thomas, followed by a walk to Garcia. Ruiz grounded into a force out, with Vargas scoring. Meneses singled on a ground ball to left that had been deflected by third baseman Josh Rojas. Thomas scored.

Kyle Nelson replaced Ginkel and gave up a walk to load the bases but Call grounded into a force out, to Geraldo Perdomo who tossed it Marte and Smith was out to end the inning. Diamondbacks 7, Nationals 5.

Bottom of Seventh

Thaddeus Ward replaced Harris, who gave up consecutive walks to Smith and Gurriel. Smith was replaced by Alek Thomas as the pinch runner. Ward walked Fletcher, loading the bases. Perdomo grounded into a 4–2 force play, Thomas out at home with Gurriel moving to third, Fletcher taking second, and Perdomo heading to first.

Herrera grounded into a force out, to first baseman Dominic Smith, then to shortstop CJ Abrams to force out Perdomo. Gurriel scored, with Fletcher moving to third and Herrera to first. Rojas walked to load the bases. The Nationals replaced Ward with Erasmo Ramirez, who got Marte to pop to the shortstop and end the inning. Diamondbacks 8, Nationals 5.

Top of the Eighth

Defensive changes for the Diamondbacks with a switch from center field to right field for Dominic Fletcher and Alek Thomas remained in the game as the center fielder. Garrett singled, Abrams singled on a bunt ground ball to Marte; Garrett advanced to third, on a throwing error by Marte. Vargas grounded into a double play, Rojas to Marte to Walker, with Garrett scoring. Thomas popped out to end the inning. Diamondbacks 8, Nationals 6.

Diamondbacks Bullpen Crashes

The Diamondbacks went down in the bottom of the eighth and then brought in Miguel Castro to close out the game. He gave a leadoff double to Garcia and single to Ruiz. Meneses then hit a three-run home run to put the Nationals up, 9–8. Smith flied to right field for the first out. Alex Call reached on a throwing error by Castro. Call tried to stretch it to third but was thrown out by Walker to Rojas. Garrett struck out to end the inning, but the damage was done. Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 8.

End of Game

Hunter Harvey came in to close out the game. He got Fletcher to ground out for the first out. Perdomo walked and then Emmanuel Rivera came into pinch-hit for Herrera who hit a hard line drive to third for the second out. Josh Rojas struck out to end the game and keep the Diamondbacks from the sweep.

Ryne Nelson Comments

Diamondbacks starter Ryan Nelson said, “I have to pitch better and clean up my mechanical stuff.” “I need to work on being efficient and work on my command and execution.”

Torey Lovullo Comments

Torey Lovullo commented that this game teaches us every day. “We focus too much on the ninth, but other things led up to it. Not patient enough with hitting and could not extend the leads. Marte had a good day, Gurriel Jr. had a big day with home runs. Walker had another home run.

“Bullpen will be fine. They are a little tired and we asked Castro to do a big task. They will get it done and be fine.”

Diamondbacks Notes

Corbin Carroll extended his hitting streak to 12 with a first-inning double. … It was Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s seventh multi hit game of his career. … The sixth and seventh inning saw the Diamondbacks get seven walks issued to them but only scored one run. The Diamondbacks were walked 11 times, the most this season. … Three errors by the Diamondbacks were the most this season by them.

Looking Ahead

The Diamondbacks (19-15) continue their 10 game homestand on Monday when the Miami Marlins (17-18) come in for a three-game series. Zac Gallen (4–1, 2.53 ERA) goes up against Braxton Garrett (1–1, 5.81 ERA). First pitch is at 6:40pm on Bally Sports Arizona.

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James Marshall

James Marshall

Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils. Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew. In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.

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