Arizona at Washington

W: J. Patterson (1-1) L: R. Ortiz (1-1)
HR: ARI - L. Gonzalez (3)   WAS - V. Castilla (3)

Nationals 9, Diamondbacks 3

CBS wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Clearly, Vinny Castilla and the Washington Nationals love their new home.

Castilla has yet to make an out at RFK Stadium, going 3-for-3 and driving in four runs for the second straight game to help the Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-3 Saturday night.

"How about that? He's giving us all something to cheer about," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "Maybe he knows something about this ballpark."

John Patterson (1-1) struck out six -- all looking -- over seven shutout innings, and Washington broke open a tight game by sending 11 men to the plate and scoring seven runs in the seventh.

The victory was the Nationals' fourth in a row and kept them atop the NL East at 7-4. Last season, as the Montreal Expos, the club's first four-game winning streak didn't come until May 14-18 -- and it began with the team 10-25.

But ask anyone associated with the Nationals, and they'll tell you: This is not just the 67-95 Expos of 2004 by another name.

"This is a different team. We're competing really well," said Patterson, lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh. "Everybody's happy in this clubhouse."

That includes Castilla, the third baseman who led the NL with 131 RBI for the Rockies last season and then joined Washington as a free agent. So far, he's dispelling any notion that his stats should be dismissed as a product of hitter-friendly Coors Field.

"When I was younger, it bothered me," said the 37-year-old Castilla, who also played for Colorado from 1993-99. "People can say whatever they want."

He has reached base in all eight plate appearances at RFK, where the Nationals made their debut Thursday in the capital's first regular-season major league game since 1971.

"I'm seeing the ball great right now and getting good swings," said Castilla, hitting .452. "The (hitting) background is great."

As part of an $18 million renovation of the 44-year-old stadium, the team put up posters on the green wall behind the fences in left field. One says "Washington," one says "Nationals" and shows Brian Schneider in his catching gear, and a third features pitcher Tony Armas Jr. with the White House as a backdrop.

There was a fourth poster, emblazoned with Castilla taking a swing, when the Nationals played an exhibition against the Mets on April 3 -- but that was taken down and replaced by an ad for an auto maker.

Not to worry. At this rate, they'll build a monument for Castilla. In his RFK career, he has two homers, a triple, two doubles, and a single in six at-bats. That's a 2.667 slugging percentage.

In his other two plate appearances at home, he was hit by a pitch in the eighth Thursday and walked in the second Saturday. His next at-bat, in the fourth, produced a first-pitch, two-run homer off Russ Ortiz (1-1) for the game's first runs.

"He's doing a good job of staying on the ball and not pulling off and not trying to do too much," said Ortiz, who allowed four runs in six-plus innings. "It was a good outing, but I'm never, ever happy or satisfied when we lose."

Castilla later received two standing ovations in one inning -- the big seventh. The crowd of 34,943 greeted him that way when he led off and hit a single. When the order came around again, the fans rose to salute, and he delivered a two-run double.

In between, Brad Wilkerson singled to right off Randy Choate to drive in two runs, and Jose Vidro hit a three-run double.

"It's not a Hall of Fame lineup. It's not Murderer's Row," Robinson said. "But we have the guys who can get you the big hit."

Arizona got on the scoreboard in the eighth with Luis Gonzalez's three-run homer off Luis Ayala. Even with a big, late lead, Robinson needed four relievers, including closer Chad Cordero for the last out with the bases loaded.

"You're a little irritated," Robinson said, "because you have two innings two go, and you're up 9-0, and you have to go through your pitchers and use your closer."

By then, though, even with the stands much emptier than the team's debut two nights earlier -- no presidential first pitch or fireworks, either -- the fans were in another celebratory mood, bouncing up and down to make the stands sway.

"The fans seem to be real supportive these first couple of games, so that's going to help" the Nationals, Ortiz said. "You come in here and you know it's going to get loud in certain situations."


The Diamondbacks put OF Jose Cruz Jr. on the DL with a lower back strain and recalled Scott Hairston from Triple-A Tucson. ... Nationals SS Cristian Guzman went 0-for-2, dropping his season average to .122 (5-for-41).

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Players of the Game

V. Castilla
AB 3
R 2
H 3
HR 1

J. Vidro
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0

Related Video

June 23, 2017
MLB Thursday winners and losers (0:57)
Arizona Diamondbacks
Craig Counsell, 2B3000011 .273
   a- Matt Kata, PH-2B1000101 .000
Royce Clayton, SS3010010 .216
   b- Alex Cintron, PH-SS2110003 .200
Luis Gonzalez, LF4113011 .342
Troy Glaus, 3B3010100 .268
Shawn Green, RF4010002 .289
Chad Tracy, 1B4020011 .371
Chris Snyder, C3000022 .280
   c- Koyie Hill, PH0000100 .167
Luis Terrero, CF3110103 .250
Russ Ortiz, P1000001 .500
    Brian Bruney, P0000000 .000
    Randy Choate, P0000000 .000
   d- Tony Clark, PH1000011 .467
    Mike Gosling, P0000000 .000
   e- Quinton McCracken, PH1000012 .250
a-flied out for Counsell in the 8th
b-doubled for Clayton in the 8th
c-walked for Snyder in the 9th
d-struck out for Choate in the 8th
e-struck out for Gosling in the 9th
2B - Royce Clayton (3, Patterson), Alex Cintron (1, Ayala)
HR - Luis Gonzalez (3, Ayala)
SH - Russ Ortiz (2)
RBI - Luis Gonzalez 3 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Luis Gonzalez 3 (5)
CS - Royce Clayton (1, 3rd base by Patterson/Schneider)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Glaus-Kata-Tracy
Arizona Diamondbacks
Russ Ortiz (L,1-1) 6544241 4.24
Brian Bruney 0.1011100 4.05
Randy Choate 0.2344100 12.27
Mike Gosling 1100000 12.46
IBB - Guillen by Randy Choate
HBP - N. Johnson (by Randy Choate)
WP - Randy Choate (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Russ Ortiz 89-57, Brian Bruney 9-5, Randy Choate 20-10, Mike Gosling 15-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Russ Ortiz 7-7, Randy Choate 2-0, Mike Gosling 1-1
Batters Faced - Russ Ortiz 25, Brian Bruney 2, Randy Choate 7, Mike Gosling 3
Washington Nationals
Brad Wilkerson, LF5122011 .340
Nick Johnson, 1B3110001 .286
Jose Vidro, 2B4013001 .293
Jose Guillen, RF3100102 .311
Ryan Church, CF3200103 .208
Vinny Castilla, 3B3234100 .452
Brian Schneider, C4110012 .257
Cristian Guzman, SS2000001 .122
   a- Carlos Baerga, PH1000002 .000
    Jamey Carroll, SS1000000 .333
John Patterson, P2000020 .000
   b- Terrmel Sledge, PH0100100 .273
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .000
    Joey Eischen, P10100001.000
    Zach Day, P0000000 .333
    Chad Cordero, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Guzman in the 7th
b-walked for Patterson in the 7th
2B - Brad Wilkerson (3, Ortiz), Jose Vidro (5, Choate), Vinny Castilla (4, Choate)
HR - Vinny Castilla (3, Ortiz)
RBI - Brad Wilkerson 2 (6), Jose Vidro 3 (8), Vinny Castilla 4 (11)
2-OUT RBI - Vinny Castilla 4 (6)
Team LOB - 4
DP - Schneider-Castilla
E - Nick Johnson (1, Dropped foul pop)
Washington Nationals
John Patterson (W,1-1) 7400160 1.29
Luis Ayala 0.2333111 4.91
Joey Eischen 0.1100000 4.91
Zach Day 0.2000210 8.44
Chad Cordero 0.1000000 1.17
WP - Zach Day (1)
Pitches-Strikes - John Patterson 88-63, Luis Ayala 23-13, Joey Eischen 6-4, Zach Day 18-6, Chad Cordero 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Patterson 5-9
Batters Faced - John Patterson 25, Luis Ayala 6, Joey Eischen 2, Zach Day 4, Chad Cordero 1
Game Information
Attendance - 34943
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Lazaro Diaz, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Dana DeMuth, Third Base - Jim Joyce