Arizona Diamondbacks – swept at home by Nationals

Yasmany Tomas (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Yasmany Tomas (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

With their season spiraling out of control, the Arizona Diamondbacks have lost 12 of their last 15 games

When you’re struggling as mightily as the Arizona Diamondbacks these days, the last thing you want to see is an elite pitcher on the top of his game. That’s exactly what the Diamondbacks faced Wednesday afternoon at home.

Taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning, Washington starter Max Scherzer had a few hiccups along the way, but finished strong. Overall, Chip Hale, manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, thought Scherzer had “no-hitter stuff, which he did in the first few innings.” In going eight, competitive innings, Scherzer, along with closer Mark Melancon, who pitched the ninth, shut down the Arizona Diamondbacks, 8-3 before 17,086 in Chase Field. In the process, Washington completed a three-game sweep in Chase Field, and the accomplishment was their fourth road sweep of the season.

The loss was the fourth straight for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who have now dropped 12 of their past 15 games. Since July 19, they have beaten only the Reds, Brewers and Dodgers in separate wins.

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Despite eight runs allowed, this was a one-run game until the ninth. Thanks in part to a competitive effort from starter Zack Godley, the Diamondbacks remained competitive against Scherzer, who improved to 12-6. That ties the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta and Jose Fernandez of the Marlins behind Scherzer’s teammate Stephen Strasburg (15) and Johnny Cueto (13, before his start Wednesday against the Phillies).

“I thought Zack pitched well, and kept us in the game,” said manager Chip Hale. “There were a few mistakes, but, for the most part, he gave us a good effort.”

With a potential no-hitter nearly half-way through the game, Scherzer gave up a lead-off double to David Peralta in the fifth, who eventually scored on a single from Brandon Drury. From that point, Scherzer allowed home runs to Jake Lamb, in the fifth, and Yasmany Tomas in the sixth, but shut the door the rest of the way.

“Your last 15 pitches are usually your best of the game,” Scherzer said afterward. “In the eighth, and that one-run lead, I knew I had to execute. That’s a really good hitting team over there, and you have to bring your A  game.”

After the homer from Tomas with one out in the seventh to bring the Diamondbacks within one, Scherzer bore down, and retired the side in that critical eighth. Melancon then came in and retired the side to finish this one.

With the Nationals holding a 4-3 lead in the ninth, Hale went to Jake Barrett, his closer, to keep this close.

After getting the first in the ninth, Daniel Murphy, with a 2-for-4 game and a home run, singled. On a 1-2 count to Anthony Redon, Barrett apparently had the Washington third baseman out on strikes with a check swing. Immediately Mark Ripperger, the plate umpire, appealed to Joe West, the first base umpire, who ruled Rendon did check his swing. After the call went against Barrett, and the reliever said, “I thought I had it,” Rendon walked. Two hits and two walks later, the Nationals added four runs and put this one out of reach.

On deck

After a day off on Thursday, the current home stand concludes with a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers.

On Friday night at 6:40 p.m., righty Braden Shipley (1-1, 4.76 ERA) takes on former Diamondback Chase Anderson (6-10, 5.13). On Saturday at 5:10 p.m., look for lefty Patrick Corbin (4-10, 5.30) to face righty Matt Garza (2-4, 5.32). For the Sunday finale at 1:10 p.m., righty Archie Bradley (4-7, 4.75) takes on right-hander Jimmy Nelson (6-10, 3.74).

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Then, it’s on the road for a six-game trip. First stop is Citi Field and three with the Mets in New York. The trip concludes at Fenway Park and three with the Boston Red Sox.