WASHINGTON -- When he looks back on his Friday night start, there’s one throw that D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray would like to have back.
Sure, maybe a pitch or two didn’t get where he wanted them to go, but for him, the most important miss was when he threw a possible double-play ball into center field in the third inning of Arizona’s 7-3 loss to the Nationals.
“I felt like I had my stuff all night,” Ray said. “I mean, if I make that throw in the third inning, we’re having a different conversation right now, so I’ll just leave it at that.”
The D-backs led 1-0 when Michael A. Taylor opened the third with a single to center. Opposing pitcher Max Scherzer then tried to sacrifice him to second.
Ray fielded the bunt barehanded and threw to second to try to force Taylor -- at worst, he’d get the out at second. The best-case scenario was turning a double play.
But the throw sailed to the first-base side of second and Ahmed was not able to glove it, as it went into center to put runners on the corners with nobody out.
“I just threw it to the wrong side of the bag,” Ray said. “With the runner coming in, Nick is trying to stretch there and make that play. If I throw it over the bag, or to the other side of the bag, it’s an out and maybe a double play. Just made a bad throw.”
Trea Turner followed with an RBI double, Victor Robles drove home Scherzer with a sacrifice fly and Juan Soto capped things with a run-scoring single to give the Nats a 3-1 lead.
“I actually thought he had really good stuff tonight,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “He was pounding the zone and things were going in a really good direction. But I felt after that bunt play, things swayed a little bit. I’m not going to say it was a total momentum changer, but if you collect the out ...”
While Ray was kicking himself for the errant throw, knowing that it led to runs, he did not feel like his error caused him to lose any focus.
“No,” he said. “I felt like I made my pitches all night. I don’t think it affected me.”
The three runs were the first allowed by the D-backs pitching staff in 20 innings, as they had recorded back-to-back shutouts heading into the game.
They could have used all the zeroes they could muster Friday with Scherzer on the mound.
“He throws a lot of strikes, he attacks,” Ahmed said of Scherzer. “You can’t go up there and try to take and work the count, you’ve got to be ready to go. It’s just plus stuff with plus command, too. He’s one of the best.”
Scherzer (5-5) allowed a pair of runs, three hits -- two of which were homers -- while striking out 10 in seven innings of work.
Ahmed and Carson Kelly hit the homers for the D-backs.
“We would have liked to have had some guys on base for those homers, but he does a good job limiting baserunners and we did what we could off him,” Ahmed said. “He made some good pitches otherwise. We tried to get to the bullpen late, but it wasn’t enough.”