Bumgarner Pitches Well, Diamondbacks Salvage Split with Nationals

Diamondbacks Nationals

Diamondbacks 5, Nationals 2

Madison Bumgarner pitched five innings of two-hit, one-run ball as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the host Washington Nationals Sunday afternoon, 5-2, to split the four-game series. Second baseman Josh Rojas went 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, and three runs scored. Newcomer Nick Heath, the center fielder, added three hits to help pace the offense.

The game began with a bang for the Diamondbacks in the top of the first, as Rojas ripped a 2-2 fastball for the first lead-off home run of his career. In the bottom of the third, the Nationals tied it up on a solo home run by Trea Turner, the first of two solo shots from him in the game. Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly led off the fourth with his fourth homer of the season, giving the visitors the lead for good.

More runs came in the seventh, eighth, and ninth. Rojas drew a two-out walk in the seventh, scoring on a double by Pavin Smith. In the eighth, David Peralta led off with a double and advanced to third on a passed ball by Nationals catcher Yan Gomes. He scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Eduardo Escobar. In the ninth, a leadoff single by Rojas turned into a run. After he had advanced to second on a groundout by Asdrubal Cabrera, Peralta reached first on an intentional walk. An attempted pickoff to first by Gomes ended up in right field, allowing Rojas to score from second while Peralta reached third. No more scored after that, giving the game its 5-2 final score.

Bumgarner, Heath Reflect

The big stories of the day were the three-hit debut of Heath and the bounce-back start from Bumgarner. “It felt good for things to go the way they went,” Bumgarner said. “A lot of people, including me, have been trying hard to get things going the way we know they can. (It was) nice to see that turn around some.”

Heath had a “roller coaster of emotion” over the past two days. He was at the alternate site of the Kansas City Royals in Northwest Arkansas two days ago when the team told him that he was being designated for assignment. Late that night, while in his hotel room, he received a phone call. He had been traded to the Diamondbacks. When he was about to pack his bags, the Diamondbacks called him and said his flight to DC would leave at seven the next morning.

“God had a plan for me,” Heath said. “He understood that it was all going to work out in the end. Crazy enough, here I am in DC instead of Northwest Arkansas. (I’ve) gone out today and had a good day with a new squad. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, but it works out how it’s supposed to.”

“Good day” might be an understatement, as Heath went 3-for-4 and made a nice running catch near the wall in center.

Looking Ahead

The Diamondbacks ran their record to 6-10, while the Nationals fell to 5-8. Bumgarner (1-2) earned the win. Espino (0-1) — filling in for the just-injured Stephen Strasburg — took the loss, and Stefan Crichton earned his first save of the season. The Nationals will open a three-game home series with the St. Louis Cardinals Monday evening. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are off Monday as they head to Cincinnati for a three-game series with the Reds.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players Mentioned:
Madison Bumgarner, Josh Rojas, Nick Heath, Trea Turner, Carson Kelly, Pavin Smith, David Peralta, Yan Gomes, Eduardo Escobar, Asdrubal Cabrera, Trea Turner, Carson Kelly, Pavin Smith, David Peralta, Yan Gomes, Eduardo Escobar, Asdrubal Cabrera, Stephen Strasburg, Stefan Crichton

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