WASHINGTON (AP)Arizona closer Mark Melancon retired Juan Soto with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, helping Cooper Hummel’s tiebreaking two-run home run hold up in the Diamondbacks’ 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday.
Soto popped up to third base with two outs, ending Melancon’s second save of the season.
Melancon retired the first two hitters before allowing two singles and hitting Cesar Hernandez with a pitch. Following a mound visit by pitching coach Brent Strom, Melancon retired Soto on an 0-2 cutter.
”I thought it was a great mound visit by (Strom), and Melancon made a quality pitch to their best player, arguably one of the best players in baseball,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Hummel had two hits, Matt Davidson and Jake McCarthy also homered, and Arizona split the four-game series with consecutive wins for the first time this season.
Davidson was called up from Triple-A Reno on Thursday after hitting eight home runs in 11 games. He homered in his first at-bat in the majors since Sept. 6, 2020 with the Reds.
”I trust my swing a hundred percent,” Davidson said. ”Sometimes you’ll get hits, sometimes you won’t, but obviously it’s good to get off to a good start. I trust it for the long haul and we’ll see what happens.”
Arizona starter Zach Davies (1-1) gave up two runs on two hits in five innings. He struck out seven and walked two. Four Arizona relievers combined to allow a run on three hits, including the two off Melancon in the ninth.
Nelson Cruz homered for Washington and Keibert Ruiz had two hits.
Josh Rogers (1-2) allowed four runs and six hits – three of them home runs – in 4 1/3 innings.
Hummel’s homer off Rogers gave Arizona a 4-2 lead in the fifth.
Washington got within 4-3 in the eighth when Josh Bell reached on a catcher’s interference call against Jose Herrera with two outs and the bases loaded, but Ruiz popped out to end the threat.
”We had opportunities the last couple of innings to put the game away and we just couldn’t do it,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. ”But I’ll take my chances with those guys, especially Juan up there in that situation (in the ninth).”
After solo home runs by Davidson and McCarthy made it 2-0, Cruz tied it with a two-run homer after Soto walked leading off the fourth.
It was the second catcher’s interference of the series for Herrera after having one in a 6-1 loss on Tuesday.
”He’s trying to make a good adjustment to the baseball. Catchers aren’t just catching the ball, there’s a lot of finesse and angles to what they’re doing,” Lovullo said. ”Just a quick adjustment and he’ll be fine.”
WALK THIS WAY
Soto’s walk was his 15th of the season. He has reached base in 18 of his last 33 plate appearances with two doubles, a homer, 11 walks and a hit by pitch.
Nationals: 1B Bell was in the lineup one day after leaving in the third inning with left knee tightness. An MRI on the knee Thursday was clean. … RHP Hunter Harvey went on the 10-day injured list with a right pronator strain. RHP Erasmo Ramirez was promoted from Triple-A Rochester.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zac Gallen (0-0, 0.00 ERA) starts the first of a three-game series against the visiting Mets. He pitched four scoreless innings against the Mets while allowing two hits on April 16 in New York.
Nationals: LHP Patrick Corbin (0-2, 7.50) pitches the opener of a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. Corbin is 9-8 with a 2.95 ERA in 26 games – 24 starts – against the Giants.
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