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Early runs help Nats overcome Stras' early exit

MLB.com

PHOENIX -- After watching the D-backs score four runs in the first inning in the series opener, the Nationals did likewise Sunday afternoon in the series finale and went on to beat the D-backs, 6-2, to take two of three games at Chase Field.

The win capped a nine-game road trip for the Nationals, who went 7-2 on the trip.

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PHOENIX -- After watching the D-backs score four runs in the first inning in the series opener, the Nationals did likewise Sunday afternoon in the series finale and went on to beat the D-backs, 6-2, to take two of three games at Chase Field.

The win capped a nine-game road trip for the Nationals, who went 7-2 on the trip.

View Full Game Coverage

"That's what we wanted to do," Nats manager Dusty Baker said. "We wanted to come out strong after the break and maybe catch some teams that are still on break maybe. That's one of the things we stress a lot."

The Nationals didn't give D-backs starter Robbie Ray (9-5) any time to settle in, as Brian Goodwin led off the game with a homer and Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Jose Lobaton each added RBIs during the five-hit frame.

Video: WSH@ARI: Rendon goes up the middle to plate Harper

Early command troubles prove costly for Ray

Nats starter Stephen Strasburg didn't get to enjoy the run support for very long, as he left the game after the second inning as a precaution after having trouble getting loose due to an achy forearm. He will be further evaluated by team doctors Tuesday.

Video: WSH@ARI: Strasburg exits for precautionary reasons

"I've had so much stuff happen, just trying not to be selfish out there," Strasburg said. "I'm not really helping the team if I'm going out there and continually throwing through these things."

The Nats' bullpen picked up the slack, as five relievers -- highlighted by 2 1/3 key innings from left-hander Matt Grace -- helped keep the D-backs, who stranded 11 runners, at bay.

"Offensively, I know there were a number of opportunities with runners in scoring position that we were not able to cash in on," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "What I've been saying all year long is that these guys have been doing that at a pretty amazing pace, and when they don't do it, it's kind of startling. Hitting with runners in scoring position is a very difficult task. They spoil us."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Romero reigns them in: With one out in the sixth, the D-backs got back-to-back hits from Brandon Drury and Gregor Blanco to put runners on the corners with one out. But left-hander Enny Romero settled down and struck out A.J. Pollock swinging and got Daniel Descalso to ground out and end the inning.

Video: WSH@ARI: Romero retires Pollock, Descalso to end 6th

However, Romero would leave the game during the seventh inning after feeling a back spasm. He did not seem overly concerned after the game and believes he can avoid a trip to the disabled list.

Blanton to the rescue: The D-backs scored a pair of runs in the fifth on back-to-back singles from Ketel Marte and David Peralta and had runners on the corners with one out. Baker brought in Joe Blanton, who struck out Paul Goldschmidt and got Chris Owings to hit into a fielder's choice to end the threat.

Video: WSH@ARI: Blanton retires Owings to finish the 5th

QUOTABLE
"We'll spit that one out. We got sucker-punched, and we didn't take advantage of some opportunities offensively, and they beat us." -- Lovullo

UPON REVIEW
Blanco hit a grounder to short that Adrian Sanchez fielded but threw low and off-target, forcing first baseman Zimmerman to stretch to his right to field it. First-base umpire Jim Reynolds called Blanco out, but Lovullo challenged the call, which was confirmed after a review of 2 minutes, 11 seconds.

Video: WSH@ARI: D-backs lose challenge as Nats nab Blanco

WHAT'S NEXT
Nationals: The Nationals have an off-day Monday after this 10-day road trip before opening a three-game series with the Brewers on Tuesday at Nationals Park. Edwin Jackson looks to build off a strong start in his return to the Nats; he threw seven innings of two-run ball in a victory over the Angels. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET.

D-backs: The D-backs open a three-game series with the Braves on Monday night at Chase Field with ace Zack Greinke on the mound. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 2.41 ERA in 11 home starts this season. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. MST.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.