Grit Index: Former D-backs duo punishes old team
Chad Tracy and Dan Haren — once popular Valley natives turned enemies — propelled the Washington Nationals over the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday, shutting them out 2-0.
Haren out-dueled Brandon McCarthy for seven innings and benefited from just enough run support in a game that took only two hours and 25 minutes.
The Nationals’ Denard Span tripled down the right field line to lead off the sixth inning, and Ryan Zimmerman later sacrificed him in to break the scoreless tie. The following inning, Chad Tracy — who spent six of his nine major league seasons in Arizona — smashed a home run over the pool in right-center field to give Haren some insurance.
But the Washington pitching staff wouldn’t need it.
The D-backs once again waited until the 9th inning to rally, ultimately squandering runners on second and third with one out.
Rookies Matt Davidson and Chris Owings each had their opportunity to tie the game, but struck out and flied out respectively off Rafael Soriano, who earned his 43rd save in the appearance.
Prior to the ninth, Arizona base runners reached second base only twice in the first eight innings, and failed to drive them in on both instances. The lack of run support ruined an exceptional pitching performance from McCarthy, who retired the first 11 batters he faced.
The defeat brings Arizona’s record to 80-81, marking the first time they have dipped under .500 all season. They will try to finish the year at .500 the series and season finale Sunday.
David Hernandez pitched another scoreless inning in relief. He has shutout opponents in 11 of 13 outings since his recall from Triple-A Reno on September 1, and has allowed only one earned run in that span.
Paul Goldschmidt, meanwhile, extended his career-high hitting streak to 18 games with his first-inning single.
The D-backs went 0-4 with RISP Saturday, dropping their situational average to .249 on the year.
He Said It:
“Dan threw a good game and so did “Mac” (McCarthy)… You go 7 innings and give up 2 runs… You expect to win those games.” -Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson
Wade Miley (10-10, 3.63 ERA) will start game 162 for Arizona Sunday, opposing fellow left-hander Gio Gonzalez (11-8, 3.63 ERA) of the Nationals.
Washington skipper Davey Johnson, 70, announced his retirement earlier this year and will be managing his final game.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. MDT and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620 AM.