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Sedona Red Recap: D-backs’ Robbie Ray, bullpen get beat up by Nationals

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Two touchdowns beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in each of the past two games.

One touchdown plus one field goal was what it took on Tuesday.

The Washington Nationals hit three home runs to hand the D-backs a 10-4 defeat in front of an announced crowd of 19,919 at Chase Field.

Wilson Ramos, Chris Heisey and Jayson Werth all went deep with Ramos and Heisey going back-to-back in a four-run fifth inning against D-backs starter Robbie Ray, who lost his third straight game.

Ray (5-11) looked good at the onset but then ran into trouble in the middle innings. The Nationals scored five times in the fourth and fifth innings combined.

Ray went six, allowing six runs—five earned—on eight hits with two walks and nine strikeouts.

The one bit of good news: The nine strikeouts extended Ray’s streak of striking out five or more batters to 21 straight starts, the longest such stretch in the majors this season.

Meanwhile, the D-backs bats came up short against Tanner Roark.

Early 1-0 and 2-1 leads did not hold up.

Yasmany Tomas and Jake Lamb both homered off Roark, who exited with a 6-3 advantage and one out in the seventh. Roark (11-6) gave up three runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

He won his second straight decision.

The Nationals have won two in a row and four of six.

The D-backs, now 21-games under .500, have lost three in a row, five of six and 11 of 14.

THE GOOD

Once again, the D-backs plated a first-inning run, something they’ve done in 13 of their last 15 games (22 runs total). And it was Jean Segura who opened the action, beating out a ground ball hit deep in the hole at shortstop. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and no outs, Segura scored when Jake Lamb grounded into a 4-6-3 double-play. Segura has now reached base safely in nine of his last 11 appearances when leading off a game, going 7-for-9 with a home run and two walks in that time.

Well, there’s something you don’t see every day, or ever. With one out in the third inning, Tomas smashed a 2-2 pitch halfway up the seats in left field to put the D-backs in front, 2-1. It was the result of a seven-pitch at-bat. The homer was Tomas’ 18th of the season but only his fourth at home. He has now hit safely in nine straight starts (.429; 15-for-35) with three doubles, five home runs and 11 RBI. Tomas finished 2-for-3 with a walk.

It had been 16 days since Lamb put a baseball over the fence. He left no doubt about his solo shot in the sixth inning. Leading off the frame, Lamb blasted an 0-2 offering several rows up in right field, pulling the D-backs to within 6-3. It was Lamb’s 22nd home run of the season, tops on the team. It was also his first since July 17 at the Dodgers, at which point he was batting .302. His average had dipped to .279 entering Tuesday thanks to a 3-for-36 (.083) stretch that included one double, one RBI, two walks and 14 strikeouts.

THE BAD

Only 11 pitches into the game, the D-backs found themselves down 1-0. Back-to-back hits to lead off the first inning followed by Daniel Murphy’s RBI groundout put the Nationals in front. The run was unearned because, on Jayson Werth’s single to center field, Michael Bourn misplayed the ball, allowing Trea Turner, who had singled in the at-bat prior, to advance to third base. Bourn has committed four errors this season. As a team, the D-backs have 66.

Entering the fourth inning, Ray had retired four straight and nine of 10 overall. A leadoff double ended that run. Anthony Rendon hit a ball into the left-field corner and came around to score the game-tying run four batters later on Wilmer Difo’s single up the middle. It was Difo’s second single in as many at-bats, and if you go back to the series opener, his third straight hit. He doubled home two runs in the eighth inning of Washington’s 14-1 victory on Monday. He finished the game 3-for-5.

That elusive third out. And that troublesome fifth inning. Both took center stage. Through four innings, Ray had allowed two runs on five hits. In the fifth alone, he allowed four runs on three hits. And all with two outs. Ray retired Turner and Werth quickly but then here’s what happened: single, walk, home run, home run. Ramos’ three-run shot came on a 1-2 pitch, while Heisey hit the first offering he saw as the Nationals recorded back-to-back home runs for the 13th time.

It’s difficult to watch. Daniel Hudson continues to struggle. Coming off a shutout outing at the Dodgers, Hudson was one out away from back-to-back scoreless appearances for the first time since mid-June. Instead, he allowed four straight base hits, including RBI singles from Turner, Murphy and Anthony Rendon to push the Nationals lead to 10-3. Since June 23, Hudson has allowed 26 earned runs in 9.2 innings. Do the math and that’s a 24.20 ERA, raising his overall ERA to 7.22.

STAT OF THE GAME, part I

38: For just the second time in their history, the D-backs have allowed 38 runs in three games, according to STATS Insights. The only other time was Sept. 21-23, 2002 (39).

STAT OF THE GAME, part II

.351: What opponents are batting the third time through the order against Ray after the Nationals went 3-for-8 with two home runs and a walk.

HE SAID IT

“It’s unfortunate,” manager Chip Hale said, referring to Ray. “His stuff is good. His stuff is real good. His top-end velocity, he’s getting swings-and-misses, getting a lot of strikeouts, but again, it’s (about) developing into a winning pitcher.”

NOTED

– Paul Goldschmidt went 3-for-5 and has reached base safely in 31 of his last 35 home games.

 First base umpire Mark Ripperger had two calls overturned, both challenged by the Nationals.

 Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper was scratched from the original lineup because of illness.

 Wearing the home alternate teal uniforms with teal outline “A” cap, the D-backs are now 5-13.

 Due to a rain storm outside, the game was played inside with both the roof and panels closed.

 NASCAR’s Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 Chevrolet SS, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

– Prior to batting practice, the D-backs smiled for their annual team and team/employee photos.

UP NEXT

Because facing double-digit winning pitchers in games one and two wasn’t hard enough, the D-backs will battle a third in the series finale Wednesday.

Max Scherzer, the one-time D-back, takes the mound. He’ll be opposed by a fellow right-hander, rookie Zack Godley.

First pitch is scheduled for 12:40 p.m. MST with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

Scherzer (11-6) has two wins in his past four starts, including his most recent outing when he held the Giants to a run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in seven innings, a mark Scherzer has reached in all four starts.

Against the D-backs, the team that drafted him 11th overall in 2006 and with whom he played his first two big league seasons, Scherzer is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA (5 ER in 20 IP) in three career starts.

Meanwhile, Godley is just beginning his career. He’ll be making his fourth straight start and fifth overall this season.

Godley (3-1) did not factor in the decision the last time out, though he did record a quality start—his second of the year—with six innings of three-run ball at the Dodgers, a game the D-backs eventually lost, 9-1.

Godley has not faced the Nationals this season.

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