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Sixth inning only time D-backs’ Banda uncomfortable in debut

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Anthony Banda throws against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 22, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Making a debut in a new job will make anybody nervous.

Try doing it in front of nearly 40,000 people.

Anthony Banda did exactly that Saturday night at Chase Field, where he made his Major League Baseball debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Besides a rough sixth inning that proved to be the 23-year-old’s last, he looked very comfortable on the mound against the Washington Nationals.

Banda started off the game with a bang, striking out Brian Goodwin. He got Chris Heisey to groundout, but then got a taste of what one of the best players in Bryce Harper can do, when the outfielder launched a solo shot on a hanging curveball.

Many rookies would fold after that moment, becoming rattled they gave up a big home run in their very first inning.

Not Banda though, who followed up by striking out Ryan Zimmerman.

The left-hander looked confident the rest of the way. Although he gave up a hit in the second, third and fourth innings, no further damage was done and he took the D-backs into the sixth tied at 1.

That’s where his inexperience showed a little, as three straight Nationals hammered his pitches for extra-base hits. He was chased from the game with two outs in the sixth and was charged for a run that came in when he was sitting in the dugout, so his final line read 5.2 innings pitched on seven hits, four earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts.

He tossed 82 pitches, 55 of them for strikes.

Not bad for the lefty, who was filling in for Taijuan Walker missing the game for the birth of his child.

In Triple-A Reno this season, Banda made 18 starts, going 7-5 with a 5.08 ERA.

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