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Pollock clocks Nats with bat, glove, wheels

Center fielder hits HR, triple, limits damage with diving grab
Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- On a night when everything was working for A.J. Pollock, it was hard for him to choose what aspect of the game he was most excited about.

"For me, the defense should always be there," Pollock said. "It's always been a part of my game, and I feel like it has to be there. I love the defensive part. But ... offense."

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WASHINGTON -- On a night when everything was working for A.J. Pollock, it was hard for him to choose what aspect of the game he was most excited about.

"For me, the defense should always be there," Pollock said. "It's always been a part of my game, and I feel like it has to be there. I love the defensive part. But ... offense."

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Pollock went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and was a double short of hitting for the cycle as the D-backs used a sixth-inning rally to earn a 5-4 triumph Friday night over the Nationals and improve to a National League-best 18-7.

Video: ARI@WSH: Pollock drives an RBI triple to right-center

"A.J. had a tremendous day," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

Arizona has won the opening contest in all five of its road series and needs a victory in one of the final two games against Washington to become the first NL team to win its first nine series to start a season since the 1907 Cubs.

With the D-backs trailing 4-3 in the sixth, Pollock's triple off the right-field scoreboard drove in Paul Goldschmidt with the tying run, and Pollock would later score the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly from Daniel Descalso.

Video: ARI@WSH: Descalso lifts a sacrifice fly to left field

The center fielder might have saved the game in the prior frame, when his diving grab of a sinking liner from Wilmer Difo resulted in just a sacrifice fly.

Pollock's sixth home run of the season, on an 0-2 fastball from Washington starter Stephen Strasburg, gave the D-backs a 1-0 advantage in the second inning.

Video: ARI@WSH: Pollock smacks a solo homer to right-center

"I made my pitch. It's just kind of how it's going right now," Strasburg said of the homer. "I'm not going to nitpick it too much. It's just something where you tip your cap and learn from that as well."

Pollock showed off his speed in the fourth, coming around to score from first on a Descalso double to tie the score at 3.

Video: ARI@WSH: Descalso rips an RBI double to left-center

Zack Godley was not sharp, allowing 10 hits for just the second time in his career and the first time since July 24, 2016. At least two Nationals reached base in each of his five innings, including the leadoff man three times. But Godley was able to wiggle out of trouble over the course of his 109 pitches to improve to 4-1.

"He walked into the dugout and gave himself a chance to win and that's what I ask these guys to do," Lovullo said. "I ask them to finish their innings so they have moments like that."

Video: ARI@WSH: Godley gets Zimmerman to escape a jam

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Godley's great escape: Godley found himself in a huge jam in the fourth inning, as he allowed three straight Nationals singles, setting the stage for a bases-loaded showdown with NL home-run leader Bryce Harper. Before the at-bat, pitching coach Mike Butcher paid Godley a visit, then the D-backs' starter went to work, serving up a steady diet of curveballs to Harper. On a 1-2 count, Godley went to his power sinker to strike out Harper, and then got Ryan Zimmerman on a harmless grounder to Nick Ahmed to end what could have been a game-breaking frame.

"Going into that at-bat with bases loaded and [one out], that's pretty huge," Godley said. "I tried to attack him just the way I would just about anybody else in that situation. My best pitch is my curveball, so a lot of times, I'm going to throw my curveball. It ended up working in that at-bat."

Video: ARI@WSH: Godley fans Harper with the bases loaded

Bullpen shuts the door: After Godley's five-inning stint, the D-backs turned to their bullpen to finish off the game, and the group responded. Andrew Chafin, Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley each pitched a scoreless inning, and Brad Boxberger worked the ninth for his seventh save in as many chances.

"Tonight was all hands on deck," Bradley said. "It's kind of exactly how you want to see it. I know it's not going to be that clean every time, but when Zack doesn't have his A stuff like that, that's where we have to pick it up and take it, and that's what we want to do."

Video: ARI@WSH: Boxberger K's Sierra to notch the save

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Pollock's amazing diving catch in the fifth prevented at least another run from scoring and helped a laboring Godley get off the hook.

"I was just trying to make a play out there," Pollock said. "You just have to trust yourself. There's a lot of times where I don't go after it, but the game dictates when you need to go after balls and you feel like this is worth the risk. I was fortunate enough to make the play."

Video: ARI@WSH: Pollock makes a great diving grab in center

His quick throw back into the infield also prevented the runners from moving up with just one out.

"He's a very dynamic player and he can do some amazing things at really, really crunch time," Lovullo said. "If it gets by him, obviously, the game is probably over. He made the play, got a huge out and kept us in the ballgame."

Video: ARI@WSH: Pollock on performance in win vs. Nationals

SOUND SMART
The D-backs have not had a player hit for the cycle since Aaron Hill accomplished the feat twice in less than a two-week span on June 18 and June 29, 2012.

UP NEXT
D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin aims to improve to 5-0 in Saturday's 1:05 p.m. MST matchup against Jeremy Hellickson and the Nationals. The D-backs' record for consecutive series wins is nine, accomplished in 1999 and 2007.

Elliott Smith is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Brad Boxberger, Daniel Descalso, Zack Godley, A.J. Pollock