PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks were one inning — two outs, really — from earning a series victory over one of the best teams in the National League.
Instead, closer Addison Reed served up a game-winning grand slam to the Washington Nationals’ Michael Taylor, sending the D-backs to a disappointing 9-6 defeat.
It did not have to be this way.
The home team jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when shortstop Nick Ahmed knocked a base hit into left field, scoring second baseman Chris Owings. The Nationals responded with a three-run home run by Jayson Werth in the third to take the lead, but the D-backs came roaring back in the bottom of the frame.
Left fielder Ender Inciarte singled and right fielder Mark Trumbo walked before first baseman Paul Goldschmidt doubled off the wall in straightaway center, plating one. Following an A.J. Pollock groundout that scored Trumbo, third baseman Aaron Hill reached on an error by Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond, with Goldschmidt scoring on the play.
The D-backs tacked on another run in the fifth after a Goldschmidt triple was followed by a Pollock single, but the 5-3 advantage was short-lived as the Nationals scored a pair of runs in the sixth courtesy of a two-run home run by pinch-hitter Tyler Moore.
The back-and-forth affair took another turn in the eighth, when Yasmany Tomas, in a pinch-hitting role, plated Trumbo with a base hit to center, giving the D-backs a 6-5 lead.
Then Reed entered the game, and after third baseman Cliff Pennington saved what was at least a base hit, and maybe even a double, off the bat of Clint Robinson, things began to unravel.
Denard Span and Yunel Escobar singled, Werth drew a walk with the help of some questionable calls by home plate umpire Rob Drake, and with the bases loaded, Michael Taylor — who was in the game because Nationals star Bryce Harper was ejected in the seventh inning — launched the second pitch he saw over the yellow line in center field for the game-winning grand slam.
– Goldschmidt was, once again, outstanding. The slugger singled in his first at-bat, doubled in his second and tripled in his third. Needing “just” a home run for the cycle, he was intentionally walked in the sixth.
A HR short of the cycle, the Nationals walk Paul Goldshmidt. This decision, while prudent, did not please the fans. pic.twitter.com/NrmQgLo4gr
— Adam Green (@theAdamGreen) May 13, 2015
“That’s just part of the game,” Goldschmidt said of the free pass. “So you just try to get on. I’ve got full confidence in everyone else in our lineup as well.”
With one last chance at making history, he struck out looking in the eighth.
While the focus will mostly be on Reed, who allowed four runs on three hits and one walk in just one inning of work, it’s also worth pointing out that Arizona left 12 runners on base in the loss.
Stat of the Game
Mark Trumbo was the only Diamondbacks starter not to record a hit, though he did walk twice.
He Said It
“It just happened, let’s give it a day or so, huh? Every time somebody doesn’t perform they’re either going to get taken out of the rotation or they’re going to get sent down. Know what I mean? Come on, man. It’s a 162-game season, guys struggle, man. Let’s give that team credit. They battled, guy off the bench got put in for a guy who got thrown out, comes up with a big home run. That’s pretty impressive, so, I mean, we’re always trying to get better but we haven’t had a whole lot of those opportunities for him, so it’s hard. We just have to get better.” – D-backs manager Chip Hale on the idea of replacing Addison Reed as closer
– This was Reed’s second blown save in just four save opportunities this season.
– The four hits allowed by D-backs starter Jeremy Hellickson were a season low, though the four walks he surrendered were a season high.
– The Nationals’ Bryce Harper was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing when home plate umpire Rob Drake did not consult third-base umpire Gabe Morales on a check-swing. Nationals manager Matt Williams then came out to protest Harper’s ejection, and he too was tossed.
– Washington’s bullpen of Tanner Roark, Matt Thornton, Aaron Barrett and Drew Storen allowed five hits and one run in four innings. Conversely, Arizona’s quartet of Randall Delgado, Oliver Perez, Brad Ziegler and Reed combined to allow four hits and five runs in 3.1 innings of work.
– The D-backs were just 4-of-13 with runners in scoring position.
The D-backs have Thursday off but will be in Philadelphia, where they will take on the Phillies Friday. Chase Anderson (0-1, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound against Chad Billingsley (0-2, 9.00 ERA).