Diamondbacks 11, Nationals 3
A night after suffering an embarrassing blowout loss, the Arizona Diamondbacks had a huge night of their own as they whipped the visiting Washington Nationals, 11–4, Saturday evening. Diamondbacks third baseman Eduardo Escobar had a huge night, snapping out of a recent cold spell by going 3-for-5 with two home runs, three runs scored, and seven RBI.
“That was a great bounce-back win,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “You talk about mental toughness and resiliency…. I’m really proud of these guys for the way they came out today and prepared. (They) trusted the process — trusted themselves, then went out and scored a ton of runs and won a big ballgame.”
Diamondbacks right-hander Seth Frankoff — recently called up — made his first major league start, allowing three hits and two earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. He fell behind, 1–0, in the first inning, but it could have been worse. Trea Turner, who led off Friday’s game with a second-pitch home run, laced a second-pitch double to the left-field corner. He reached third on a wild pitch to the second batter — Josh Harrison, who ultimately walked. A grounder to second by Juan Soto plated Turner and sent Harrison to second. Harrison advanced to third on another wild pitch, this time to Kyle Schwarber.
Nerves looked to be getting the best of Frankoff. Varsho went to the mound to chat with him and make sure the game didn’t get out of hand just like Friday’s. Veteran shortstop Nick Ahmed joined the group and settled both down. “He said let’s get this guy. Let’s get a ground ball and get out of it,” Frankoff told reporters after the game. It worked, because Frankoff struck out Schwarber and retired the next hitter, Starlin Castro, on a grounder to third. “Those guys had my back behind me and made some great plays,” Frankoff continued. “They were able to get out of it there. (It allowed me to) extend the outing a little bit and hopefully give the team what they needed.”
Diamondbacks Respond to Early Run from Nationals
The Diamondbacks responded forcefully with in the bottom of the first. Four straight hits opened the frame against Nationals starter Joe Ross. The third hit was a two-run single by Escobar, snapping a 1-for-34 personal skid dating back to May 5. Escobar ultimately scored on an RBI single by Daulton Varsho, ending the first with the Diamondbacks holding a 3–1 lead.
A pair of singles sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt led to another Nationals run in the second. Escobar’s next trip to the plate, coming in the bottom of the fourth, made the 3–2 game a 6–2 game. With runners on first and second, two out, and the count full, Escobar sent a piped fastball into the right-field bleachers. It was his first home run since April 25 in Atlanta, but he wasn’t done. Four innings later, he belted a two-run dinger to right that made the score 11–3.
Two of the other three Diamondback runs came in the fifth thanks to a single, walk, run-scoring wild pitch, and RBI single. The third came on a solo home run by left fielder David Peralta in the bottom of the sixth.
“The night, offensively, was about Eduardo Escobar,” Lovullo said after the game. “I know David (Peralta) had two hits and a home run. Several others had a couple of hits with some nice approaches. (However,) the game was clearly broken open for me with Eduardo’s three-run home run…. You’re talking about two home runs and seven RBI in one game — that’s a great week for some people. Eduardo has been working his butt off to make good days like that happen, so I’m super happy for him.”
Since Frankoff did not pitch the requisite five innings for a starting pitcher to get a win, Alex Young (1–3) earned it in relief. He relieved Frankoff with two outs in the fifth and struck out Kyle Schwarber with the bases loaded to protect what was then a 6–2 lead. Ross (2–3) took the loss. The Diamondbacks (18–22) and Nationals (15–20) play again Sunday in the rubber match of the three-game series. Erick Fedde (2–4, 5.29 ERA) of the Nationals will face Luke Weaver (2–3, 5.00 ERA) of the Diamondbacks. First pitch is at 1:10 pm Arizona Time.
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Eduardo Escobar, Torey Lovullo, Seth Frankoff, Trea Turner, Josh Harrison, Juan Soto, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Ahmed, Starlin Castro, Joe Ross, Daulton Varsho, David Peralta, Alex Young, Erick Fedde, Luke Weaver