D-backs fail to pick up key hit, leave 13 runners aboard in loss to Nationals
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks led Sunday’s game against the Washington Nationals from the bottom of the first inning until the top of the seventh at Chase Field.
They, though, left the door open for the Nationals by stranding 13 runners on base, their second most this season, and the visitors broke through late en route to a 4-3 victory.
The Nationals (32-65) tied the game in the seventh and took the lead in the eighth, as catcher Keibert Ruiz drove in the go-ahead run against D-backs All-Star reliever Joe Mantiply.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 24, 2022
The D-backs (42-53) created an opportunity to take the lead right back in the eighth with the bases loaded, no outs and three-hole hitter Ketel Marte up.
Marte popped up for out No. 1, and Christian Walker grounded into a devastating inning-ending double play.
“There’s identifiable situations that we had and unfortunately we couldn’t get a big hit when we needed it or make a big pitch, do the right things at the right time to create a little bit of space as far as the score goes,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame.
Ten hits, five walks, a hit-by-pitch and three Nationals errors equated to only three runs.
Arizona led at some point in each of their last four losses.
“I felt like we did a lot right in this game today with the exception of scoring runs, and we had opportunities to score and blow this game open but it just didn’t happen,” Lovullo said.
The D-backs started fast, literally, to take an early lead Sunday.
Josh Rojas and Alek Thomas hit singles to start the bottom of the first. Thomas’ knock went off the glove of diving second baseman Cesar Hernandez, and Rojas skipped over to third. Thomas advanced to second on a throw.
The aggressive base running paid off as Marte brought home Rojas with a sacrifice fly, and Daulton Varsho drove in Thomas with a single.
Rojas added another run on a single in the fourth, as he finished Sunday’s game with three base knocks.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 24, 2022
Corbin Martin took the ball for the D-backs after getting recalled Sunday morning from Triple-A Reno.
Martin, making his first MLB start of the year, had command issues with five walks in four innings of work but made big pitches to strand runners.
He exited with a 3-1 lead after allowing one run on four hits.
The Nationals left six runners on base over the four three innings, including the bases loaded in the third. A key sliding catch from Thomas helped Martin out.
Alek Thomas is having himself a DAY in centerfield pic.twitter.com/EouMEhW1Ce
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 24, 2022
“I was going through the middle of the outing, I was like, ‘I just gotta make a pitch when it matters,'” Martin said postgame. “I was getting behind guys, offspeed wasn’t in the zone. So I was just trying to make the best pitches I could to get us out of big situations, keep us in the game as long as I could.”
The back end of the D-backs’ rotation is in flux due to injuries, and Martin saw Sunday as an audition.
“Every opportunity I get, the goal is to go prove something not only to them, but to myself,” Martin said. “I know I belong here and I will continue to work to get better.”
A low throw by Rojas led to a Nationals run in the sixth, and Washington tied the game in the seventh after a key challenge.
First baseman Josh Bell hit a rocket to the corner in right with a runner on first against D-backs reliever Ian Kennedy. It was ruled a ground-rule double on the field, but the call was overturned which allowed the run to score.
The D-backs are now 18-6 when it picks up at least 10 hits in a game this year.
Still, Arizona put up double-digit hits in three straight games after the All-Star break and won its first series since July 4-6 over the weekend.
“We put ourselves in a good spot (to sweep) by playing good baseball in the first few days … but not a darn thing we can do about it now other than learn from what we just saw,” Lovullo said.
The D-backs return to Chase Field Monday night against the San Francisco Giants. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. with Tyler Gilbert on the hill for Arizona.
Catch the game on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.