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Thursday, June 2nd (All times Eastern)
Washington Nationals (24-31) at Arizona Diamondbacks (31-25), 9:40 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Jordan Zimmermann (2-6, 3.88) Arizona - Zach Duke (1-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - The Arizona Diamondbacks have been accustomed to winning lately, especially when it comes to one-run games.
The NL West-leading Diamondbacks look to stay on the right path when they begin a four-game series tonight versus the Washington Nationals at Chase Field. They have won eight straight one-run games on the heels of losing six in a row by one run, and recorded a 6-5 victory Wednesday over the visiting Florida Marlins in the finale of a three-game set.
Justin Upton made it all possible when he drove in Willie Bloomquist with the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. The D'Backs battled back from a 4-0 deficit and got a two-run homer from Ryan Roberts during a three- run bottom of the sixth inning. Upton had two RBI, Stephen Drew recorded three hits and Kelly Johnson went 1-for-4 with a run scored and has hit safely in eight straight games. Johnson has also hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games.
Daniel Hudson allowed four runs and 10 hits over seven innings in the start for Arizona, while closer J.J. Putz posted the win even though he allowed a run in the top of the ninth inning for the Diamondbacks, who lead the NL West by just a half-game ahead of San Francisco and have won 16 of 19 games.
"I had trouble with everything," Hudson said. "I had a hard time getting strike one. When I did, it was right down the middle. Those guys are an aggressive team. When it's basically all you're doing is throwing strike one down the middle, they are going to start swinging at it pretty good."
Arizona, which is 14-7 in one-run games and 19-13 in games decided by two runs or less, will send Zach Duke to the mound Thursday and he's made only one start this season. In an 11-3 win at Houston on May 28, Duke, who began the season on the disabled list due to a broken hand suffered in Spring Training, pitched seven shutout innings and hit a three-run homer in the process.
Duke went 8-15 in 29 starts with Pittsburgh a year ago and is 2-2 with a 5.19 earned run average in six career starts against Washington.
Washington won its first series since taking two of three in Atlanta from May 10-12 by doing the same to the Philadelphia Phillies. After losing for a third straight time in the series opener on Monday, the Nationals stormed back with consecutive wins to take the series.
In Wednesday afternoon's 2-1 over the Phillies, John Lannan finally solved the NL East rivals by holding them to one unearned run in 5 1/3 innings. Lannan had been 0-10 with a 6.44 earned run average in 13 career starts in this series and was helped out by a strong bullpen. Drew Storen posted his 10th save to secure Washington's third win in 11 tries.
"I've pitched better against them, but I limited the damage [today] and sometimes that's all you need to do," Lannan said on the Nats' website. "A win is always good, but to do it against a club like that -- especially when I'm pitching -- I guess I got that monkey off my back."
Laynce Nix homered and made a diving catch in the sixth inning to take away a potential go-ahead hit from Domonic Brown.
"It was hit a long way from me but it was slicing back to me," Nix said. "I knew if I could cut down that distance I had a shot at grabbing it, and fortunately I beat it to the spot."
Former Phillie Jayson Werth also knocked in a run for Washington, which will begin an 11-game road trip tonight against Arizona, San Francisco and San Diego and has lost five straight as the visitor.
Jordan Zimmerman will try to get the Nationals back on track as the guest when he takes the ball tonight in the desert. Zimmerman is 0-2 in his last four starts and has dropped back-to-back games, including Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Padres in which he allowed both runs in six innings. He is 2-6 in 10 starts to go along with a 3.88 ERA.
Zimmerman, a right-hander, owns a 1-2 mark in five road starts this season and has never faced Arizona in his career.
Arizona and Washington are meeting for the first time since the Nationals won four of seven matchups a year ago, going 2-2 at Chase Field. The Nationals are 9-4 in the previous 13 encounters with the D'Backs.
06/02 10:35:53 ET
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