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D-Backs ruin Harper's Nats home debut

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- The Nationals hoped to capitalize on their return to Washington and the excitement generated by teenager Bryce Harper's home debut.

Instead, it was more of the same for the light-hitting Nationals, who managed only six hits in a 5-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

After losing four in a row on the West Coast, Washington continued its slump at home. The Nationals have scored only seven runs during their skid and were mired in a run of 17 consecutive scoreless innings before the eighth. They went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded five against Arizona.

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Washington manager Davey Johnson let out an audible sigh and said, "I feel like we've got the hitters that can hit. Not as aggressive as I'd like to see. We're not getting a good strike and driving it. I know that talent is there. ... It's going to put a strain on the pitching staff if we don't start scoring some runs."

Jordan Zimmermann (1-2) gave up four runs, three earned, in 6 1/3 innings. In four of his five starts, Washington has scored one run or fewer while he was on the mound.

"I can't really speak for the offense," the right-hander said. "I just have to go out there and pitch the way I can pitch."

Harper went 0 for 3. The No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft is 2 for 9 since being recalled from the minors on Saturday.

Arizona starter Trevor Cahill (2-2) allowed one run and six hits in 7 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking one. Arizona starters are 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA over the past five games.

"We kind of build on one another," Cahill said. "Hitters say hitting's contagious. Maybe pitching's contagious, too. ... After the first month you kind of get into a groove, and when everyone's throwing like they are, you kind of build off one another. So it helps out a lot."

After Ian Desmond hit an RBI single in the eighth, Bryan Shaw got the last two outs in the inning and David Hernandez worked a perfect ninth.

Justin Upton had two hits and two RBI, and John McDonald and Miguel Montero each had two hits and an RBI for the Diamondbacks.

Harper received enthusiastic applause from the crowd of 22,675 when he stepped to the plate for the first time in the second inning. The 19-year-old struck out on four pitches, missing badly on his three swings, but the crowd cheered again as he walked back to the dugout.

In this next at-bat, Harper grounded out on a 3-2 pitch in the fifth. He also grounded out in the seventh.

Harper did, however, play well in left field. After Jason Kubel led off the second with a double, Harper fielded a single and threw a no-hopper to the infield to keep Kubel at third. One inning later, Harper sprinted to the line to make a fine catch of an opposite-field liner hit by Gerardo Parra.

Even better, Harper threw a 300-foot, no-bounce dart from left field to the plate on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and barely missed getting the runner.

"I just thought I had a shot," Harper said. "Reared back and gave it my all. That's what I try to do, make plays like that."

Gibson, a former outfielder, said, ""It kind of surprised me. We knew he had a solid arm, but it was a pretty impressive throw."

The kid also impressed Upton, who also made his major-league debut at 19.

"It's fun to watch," he said. "It's fun to see him finally get called up, with all the hype and going out and enjoying the game. He looks like he's having fun out there, and that's what it's all about."

Arizona got runners at the corners with one out in the second inning before Zimmermann struck out Cody Ransom and retired McDonald on a twisting liner to right field.

The next time the Diamondbacks got a runner in scoring position, they didn't waste the opportunity. Paul Goldschmidt reached second on a throwing error by Desmond from shortstop and McDonald delivered an RBI single to left.

Arizona made it 2-0 in the sixth. Upton singled and stole second before Montero hit a two-out, run-scoring double.

Limited to a pair of hits through five innings, the Nationals began the sixth with singles by Desmond and Steve Lombardozzi. But Rick Ankiel hit into a double play and Adam LaRoche bounced out meekly to second.

Zimmermann left after two singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases in the seventh. Ryan Mattheus then hit Aaron Hill with a pitch and yielded a sacrifice fly to Upton.

Upton singled in a run in the ninth.

Notes

  • Kubel, who was sidelined by an illness Monday, returned to go 1 for 4. He has hit safely in 12 of 13 games.
  • Johnson said 3B Ryan Zimmerman (shoulder) began throwing Tuesday, will begin to hit this weekend and could be ready to come off the disabled list Sunday.
  • Hill has reached base in 18 consecutive games.
 
Copyright 2015 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.
 
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Trevor Cahill pitches 7 1/3 effective innings, helping to hold ex-No. 1 pick Bryce Harper to an 0-for-3 outing. (Getty Images)
Trevor Cahill pitches 7 1/3 effective innings, helping to hold ex-No. 1 pick Bryce Harper to an 0-for-3 outing. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Arizona

T. Cahill
IP 7.1
H 6
ER 1
BB 1
K 5
Arizona

J. McDonald
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

Related Video

Arizona Diamondbacks
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Gerardo Parra, CF4110101 .264
Aaron Hill, 2B4001001 .253
Justin Upton, RF4122010 .257
Jason Kubel, LF5020013 .338
Miguel Montero, C5021022 .267
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B4130001 .230
Cody Ransom, 3B4110035 .308
John McDonald, SS3121102 .321
Trevor Cahill, P2000001 .000
    Bryan Shaw, P0000000 .000
    David Hernandez, P0000000 .000
Totals35513527  
Batting
2B - Jason Kubel (6, Zimmermann), Miguel Montero (2, Zimmermann), Paul Goldschmidt (3, Mattheus)
SF - Justin Upton (2)
SH - Trevor Cahill 2 (2)
RBI - Aaron Hill (11), Justin Upton 2 (7), Miguel Montero (14), John McDonald (4)
2-OUT RBI - Miguel Montero (7)
SB - Gerardo Parra (8, 2nd base off Perry/Ramos), Justin Upton (4, 2nd base off Zimmermann/Ramos)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Hill-McDonald-Goldschmidt
Arizona Diamondbacks
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Trevor Cahill (W,2-2) 7.1611150 3.13
Bryan Shaw (H,4) 0.2000010 1.64
David Hernandez 1000020 2.92
Pitches-Strikes - Trevor Cahill 94-66, Bryan Shaw 7-6, David Hernandez 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Trevor Cahill 14-2, Bryan Shaw 1-0
Batters Faced - Trevor Cahill 28, Bryan Shaw 2, David Hernandez 3
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Desmond, SS4021000 .260
Stephen Lombardozzi, 3B4020000 .289
Rick Ankiel, CF4000023 .233
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000002 .314
Jayson Werth, RF3010110 .275
Danny Espinosa, 2B4000022 .195
Bryce Harper, LF3000011 .222
Wilson Ramos, C3000011 .250
Jordan Zimmermann, P2000010 .111
    Ryan Mattheus, P0000000 .000
   a- Roger Bernadina, PH1110000 .186
    Ryan Perry, P0000000 .000
Totals3216118  
a-doubled for Mattheus in the 8th
Batting
2B - Roger Bernadina (4, Cahill)
RBI - Ian Desmond (8)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Rick Ankiel 1
DP - Espinosa-Desmond-LaRoche
E - Ian Desmond (3, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jordan Zimmermann (L,1-2) 6.1843160 1.89
Ryan Mattheus 1.2200110 3.18
Ryan Perry 1311000 9.00
IBB - Parra by Jordan Zimmermann, McDonald by Ryan Mattheus
HBP - Hill (by Ryan Mattheus)
Pitches-Strikes - Jordan Zimmermann 95-67, Ryan Mattheus 30-14, Ryan Perry 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jordan Zimmermann 8-5, Ryan Mattheus 1-2
Batters Faced - Jordan Zimmermann 28, Ryan Mattheus 8, Ryan Perry 5
Game Information
Attendance - 22675
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Chris Guccione