WASHINGTON -- These two offenses entered this three-game series at Nationals Park as two of the hottest in baseball. The D-backs closed the month as the hardest-hitting team in the National League as they paced the league in average exit-velocity. And fresh off their 23-run outburst Sunday, the Nationals were
WASHINGTON -- These two offenses entered this three-game series at Nationals Park as two of the hottest in baseball. The D-backs closed the month as the hardest-hitting team in the National League as they paced the league in average exit-velocity. And fresh off their 23-run outburst Sunday, the Nationals were the highest scoring team in baseball.
But Arizona's bullpen kept Washington's offense in check and made a lead hold after a short start from Taijuan Walker. Four D-backs relievers -- T.J. McFarland, J.J. Hoover, Jorge De La Rosa and Fernando Rodney -- combined to toss 4 1/3 scoreless innings to preserve a 6-3 victory Tuesday night.
"I gotta give it up to the bullpen," Walker said afterward. "They really came in and picked me up big-time and got the job done." More >
Both starting pitchers extended themselves beyond their usual pitch count Tuesday night.
"Everybody's pitch count was up," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said with a laugh. "It was a pitch count up day, I guess."
Walker needed 117 pitches to navigate through 4 2/3 innings, one shy of his career-high mark. He gave up three runs on five hits and even though he struck out six, he also walked five. Arizona received a pair of homers in the fourth inning, which began with a solo homer from Jake Lamb followed by a two-run homer from Chris Herrmann that gave the D-backs the lead. Jeremy Hazelbaker added a solo shot off Joe Blanton in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Nats right-hander Tanner Roark needed a career-high 125 pitches to get through six innings of four-run ball on six hits, as he also struck out a season-high eight batters. Roark's 125 was the most pitches Baker has allowed a starter to throw since taking over as Nationals manager last season. Baker said he extended Roark because of a short Nats bullpen. More >
"I'm very happy that Dusty let me go in there and finish the inning," said Roark, who tied Yu Darvish of the Rangers for most pitches by a starter this season. "I wanted to get that last guy. It builds confidence in me and I'm glad he has the confidence in me to finish the inning."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lamb, Herrmann deliver big blows: Down 3-1 in the fourth inning, the D-backs flexed their power and took the lead thanks to long balls from Lamb and Herrmann off Roark. The former got the offense going by leading off the frame with a 407-foot solo shot to right-center field with an 103 mph exit velocity, while the latter's two-run shot to left-center gave Arizona a lead it would not relinquish.
Hoover escapes the jam: The Nationals' offense would not go quietly as they formed a two-out rally in the seventh. Bryce Harper drew a two-out walk followed by a single from Ryan Zimmerman, who recorded his career-high fifth consecutive multi-hit game.
But D-backs right-hander Hoover struck out Daniel Murphy on a slider to escape the jam and preserve the two-run lead.
"I knew from the scouting [report] what my game plan was," Hoover said. "I just wanted to go out there and execute. I knew what [Murphy] was looking to do in that situation, so I was able to hang my pitch."
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"We did have some opportunities," Baker said. "We left a lot of men on base."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tuesday's victory saw the D-backs tie a Major League record as they struck out 11 batters for the eighth straight game.
"I think it speaks volumes about our staff," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I've been saying it and preaching it since day one: Our starting rotation and beyond sets the tone for us to play the type of baseball that we want."
With a man on first in the top of the seventh inning, the D-backs challenged a call that pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso was hit by a Blake Treinen pitch. After a minute and one second review, the call was overturned, giving the D-backs two on and none out. Arizona would cash in with a run scored later in the frame to go up 5-3.
Lovullo would challenge a second time in the inning, disputing an out call at first base on the tail end of a double play. The call on the field stood, and the inning was over.
Diamondbacks: The D-backs will go for three straight wins as they send left-hander Robbie Ray (2-1, 3.56 ERA) to the mound Wednesday at 4:05 p.m MT. The 25-year-old has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his five starts this season.
Nationals:Giovany Gonzalez (3-0, 1.62 ERA) will take the mound to try and build off an impressive April in the second game of this three-game set against the D-backs at 7:05 p.m. ET. He has thrown at least six innings in each of his first five starts.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.
Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Diamondbacks on Tuesday.