D-backs’ offensive woes continue, drop Game 1 of doubleheader against Nationals
WASHINGTON (AP) — Victor Robles stepped to the plate batting .045 when his RBI double provided Washington’s first hit off Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner with two outs in the fifth inning, and the Nationals beat the Diamondbacks 6-1 in the opener of a split doubleheader before a record-low announced crowd of 9,261 Tuesday.
Other than in 2020 and 2021, when there were limits on spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic, that was the fewest fans at a Nationals home game since the team moved to Washington from Montreal for the 2005 season. The previous low was 10,999 for a game against Houston in September 2010.
Josiah Gray (2-1) went 5.1 innings for Washington, allowing just one run and three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts against Arizona’s struggling lineup.
Daulton Varsho produced the Diamondbacks’ run by driving a 94 mph first-pitch fastball from Gray to straightaway center in the third. It was Varsho’s second homer this season, the eighth for Arizona as a whole.
The Diamondbacks entered with major league lows for batting average (.152) and runs (21), and the Game 1 loss dropped their record to 3-7.
Bumgarner (0-1) gave up two unearned runs and two hits in his five innings. He walked four and struck out five.
The lefty whiffed the first two batters of the fifth, but that’s when Arizona unraveled, starting with a defensive miscue on a windy afternoon in which napkins flew from the stands and littered the outfield grass: Second baseman Ketel Marte didn’t hold onto a popup that should have been the third out.
That brought up No. 9 hitter Robles. A strike from heading to the sixth with a no-hitter intact, Bumgarner left a 1-2 pitch over the plate and Robles smacked it down the left-field line to tie the game.
César Hernández followed with another RBI double off Bumgarner.
Washington’s Josh Bell, Maikel Franco, Keibert Ruiz and Alcides Escobar drove in insurance runs off relievers.
Bell had two singles and has reached base in all 12 games in 2022.
LET’S PLAY TWO
Game 2 is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. EDT, with Washington’s Joan Adon pitching against Arizona’s Tyler Gilbert. The doubleheader came about because of rain that washed out the series opener on Monday.
This was the first doubleheader of the nascent baseball season — the Giants and Mets started another rain-created twinbill later Tuesday — and the first involving nine-inning games since Sept. 28, 2019. Major League Baseball used seven-inning doubleheaders as part of rules changes amid the pandemic, but restored the full-length games for 2022.
Diamondbacks: Nick Ahmed (right shoulder inflammation) and Jordan Luplow (strained right oblique) played in a simulated game Monday. … Josh Rojas (strained right oblique) is doing coach-pitched batting practice and taking ground balls.
Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (thoracic outlet surgery last year) is still not ready to face hitters. … INF Ehire Adrianza (strained left quadriceps) is still doing strengthening work on his leg and has not yet progressed to running.
Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly (0-0, 0.00 ERA), one of four starting pitchers not to allow a run through a minimum of two starts this season, faces Washington RHP Erick Fedde (1-0, 3.60) on Wednesday night.