The Washington Nationals are close to matching their longest win streak in franchise history. They can move a step closer by tying their longest on the road.
The Nationals will seek that ninth straight victory away from home - and their ninth in a row overall - during Sunday's series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks .
Washington (71-43) is closing on its first division title in franchise history on the strength of its major league-best 39-21 road record. The Nationals' success there has helped put them 4 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East.
After falling behind by three runs early Saturday, they found a way to keep things going by rallying for a 6-5 victory. Ryan Zimmerman singled in a pair of runs in a five-run fifth, and Jesus Flores drove in what proved to be the go-ahead score with another single.
"We were able to get a win. It wasn't necessarily the way that I planned for it to go, but somehow it worked," pitcher Edwin Jackson said.
Washington has outscored its last eight overall opponents 46-23 and its last eight road opponents 47-26.
"I really like our offense. I like the way everybody's approaching the at-bats," manager Davey Johnson told the team's website. "It's a lot of fun for me."
That win put the Nationals within two of matching a franchise-best 10-game streak, accomplished four times and most recently June 2-12, 2005. To get a crack at that milestone, Washington must first tie its nine-game road win streaks set July 29-Aug. 10, 1994, and equaled Sept. 12-26, 2011, on Sunday.
Ross Detwiler (6-4, 2.99 ERA) will try to lead his team to that victory while continuing his recent success against the Diamondbacks (57-57), losers in six of eight. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA over his last two matchups, including a 2-1 win May 3.
Detwiler allowed one run and three hits over 6 1-3 innings in that game but gave up a career-high seven runs - four earned - during his only outing at Chase Field on Aug. 5, 2010.
He has allowed a combined two runs and six hits over his last 14 innings but might have to outduel fellow left-hander Patrick Corbin (3-4, 3.53).
Corbin is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his two starts since being called up from Triple-A Reno on Aug. 1. After pitching six scoreless innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers , the rookie fanned a season-high seven and gave up two runs over six innings Tuesday during Arizona's 10-4 win in Pittsburgh.
Corbin was 2-3 with a 5.27 ERA during his first five major league starts before being sent back to the minors May 22. He pitched exclusively in relief following another call-up June 27.
With Corbin's help, the Diamondbacks will try to avoid their first home sweep to the Nationals since May 14-16, 2004, when that franchise was playing its final season as the Montreal Expos.
Washington recorded its most recent sweep in the all-time series from Aug. 7-9, 2009.
|August 05, 2012||Mark DeRosa||15-Day DL||Left abdominal strain|
|August 01, 2012||Henry Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|July 29, 2012||Adam LaRoche||Day-to-Day||Left game - Back tightness|
|July 22, 2012||Ian Desmond||15-Day DL||Torn left oblique|
|July 18, 2012||Jhonatan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|July 01, 2012||Chien-Ming Wang||15-Day DL||Strained right hip|
|August 09, 2012||Willie Bloomquist||15-Day DL||Lower back stiffness|
|August 09, 2012||Josh Collmenter||15-Day DL||Ulcers|
|August 06, 2012||Henry Blanco||15-Day DL||Sprained left thumb|
|June 27, 2012||Daniel Hudson||15-Day DL||Right foream tightness|
|June 25, 2012||John McDonald||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|June 25, 2012||John McDonald||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
PHOENIX (AP) -- A brief return to the minors has done wonders for Patrick Corbin .
The 23-year-old rookie has had three outstanding starts since coming back from Triple-A Reno.
Corbin allowed four hits through seven innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Washington 7-4 on Sunday, snapping the Nationals' season-high winning streak at eight games.
He is 2-0 in three starts since he was recalled, allowing four runs in 19 innings in that span.
"Just having some confidence against these guys," Corbin said, "just knowing you can go out there and pitch your game. That's something I've been doing since I came back up. It's been working out."
Corbin (4-4) retired 16 in a row after Bryce Harper 's infield single in the first. He gave up two runs, struck out seven and walked none. He also brushed back a couple of Nationals, something that pleased manager Kirk Gibson .
"He threw the ball really well and Washington's been tough on us this series and he shut them down," Gibson said. "He executes very well. You saw him stand a couple of guys up, and I believe in that. Those are very good `purpose' pitches. It has an effect on the next few pitches and the next at-bat."
Another Arizona youngster, 24-year-old Paul Goldschmidt , drove in three runs with a double and single and scored twice. Aaron Hill , Justin Upton and Miguel Montero each had RBI doubles for the Diamondbacks.
Ross Detwiler (6-5) allowed four earned and three hits in 4 2-3 innings.
"He was really under the weather before he even started the game," manager Davey Johnson said. "He was ill, he lost it during the game and you could tell by his mannerisms that he didn't feel right. ... He almost got us through the fifth. I was a little worried about him. He was having a hard time standing up after the fourth but he gutted it out."
Detwiler, though, wouldn't use illness as an excuse.
"If I am feeling bad and still get my pitches down, I get outs," he said. "I don't think that was the excuse why I did bad at all."
After the Nationals scored twice off Takashi Saito in the ninth, J.J. Putz got the final two outs for his 13th consecutive save and 22nd in 25 opportunities, striking out Roger Bernadina .
Arizona scored without a hit in the second. Goldschmidt reached on third baseman Ryan Zimmerman 's throwing error and took second on the play. Goldschmidt stole third, then scored when catcher Kurt Suzuki , in his sixth game since he was acquired a trade with Oakland, threw the ball into left field. It was just Suzuki's third error of the season.
"They weren't holding me that first pitch (when he was at second) at all," Goldschmidt said. "They were pretty far away, so I saw an opportunity, and luckily they made another error, so it worked out."
The Diamondbacks didn't get a hit off Detwiler until the third. Chris Young doubled down the left-field line with one out. After Hill popped out, Jason Kubel was hit in the left elbow by a pitch, and Goldschmidt doubled to the left-field corner to bring both runners home.
Young started Arizona's four-run fifth with a walk, then scored when Hill doubled to deep center. Craig Stammen relieved Detwiler with two outs in the inning, but the Arizona hits kept coming,
Goldschmidt singled up the middle to bring home Hill, then scored from first on Upton's double. The Diamondbacks' third double of the inning, by Montero, scored Upton and Arizona led 7-0.
Corbin's string of 16 consecutive outs ended when Danny Espinosa led off the seventh with a double. After Harper struck out, Zimmerman singled in Espinosa to spoil the shutout. Zimmerman took third when Michael Morse singled and scored on Adam LaRoche 's sacrifice fly. Kubel's throw from left was ahead of the runner but the catcher Montero bobbled the ball trying to make the tag.
Harper reached in the first on a slow bouncer with one out in the first. Shortstop John McDonald fielded the ball but threw past the first baseman Goldschmidt. It was ruled a hit, but Harper couldn't take second on the play because he collided with first base umpire Mike Muchlinski, thus preserving McDonald from an error. A moment later, Harper was picked off.
NOTES: The Nationals move on to San Francisco in a matchup of division leaders. LHP Gio Gonzalez (14-6, 3.32 ERA) goes for Washington, RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-5, 2.27) for the Giants in Monday's opener. ... Arizona, after its only three home games in a span of 20, has Monday off before opening a three-game series at St. Louis ... Goldschmidt is among the league leaders with 34 doubles. ... Detwiler caught a sizzling line drive off the bat of Kubel in the fifth, the last batter he faced. ... Morse extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Corbin's seven strikeouts matched his career high set in his previous start.