The Associated Press
WASHINGTON–Jacob Turner never imagined his first win in Washington would come like this.
Turner pitched four innings of scoreless relief to save a depleted bullpen, and Ryan Zimmerman doubled in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, as the Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 2-1 last night.
“I don’t think I’ve ever thrown four [innings] out of the bullpen,” said Turner (1-0), who before this outing appeared headed to the starting rotation.
“So I wouldn’t say you come in expecting that, no.”
Zimmerman finished 2-for-3 to set a career high with his sixth-straight multi-hit game.
Left-hander Gio Gonzalez drove in Washington’s other run with a third-inning groundout–making up for an uneven outing that included eight strikeouts and a career high-tying seven walks.
“I can’t explain that line,” said Gonzalez, who allowed three hits but threw 105 pitches.
“I don’t know what to say.”
Robbie Ray (2-2) struck out 10 against the team that drafted and signed him in 2010, but allowed two runs and four hits over six innings.
He helped the Diamondbacks set a major-league record by recording 10 or more strikeouts in nine-straight games.
“It was really unfortunate,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Ray, who is tied for the major-league lead with 49 strikeouts.
“We just didn’t execute behind him in a couple of key situations and unfortunately we couldn’t score some runs.”
Washington had optioned Joe Ross to ‘AAA’ Syracuse on Tuesday, with Turner the likely candidate to replace him as a starter.
Instead, he came on for Gonzalez and cruised, allowing only two hits while striking out four to aid a bullpen that had to work eight innings over its previous two games.
“If we [went] extra innings, they had us outmanned pitching-wise and so we had to make a decision, ‘Do we stick with Turner?'” noted Nationals’ manager Dusty Baker.
“It was a lot easier decision since we were home with the last at-bat.”
After a clean top of seventh, Baker sent Turner to the plate rather than a pinch-hitter.
“Once I batted for myself, I felt like I should finish the game,” Turner said.
“That was very impressive,” Baker said. “He kept throwing strikes. And when he got behind, he threw another strike. . . .
“They’ve got a good lineup over there. And he was dealing.”
Elsewhere in the NL, Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati 7-2, New York bombed Atlanta 16-5, Chicago edged Philadelphia 5-4, Colorado dumped San Diego 11-3, and San Francisco downed L.A. 4-1.
Milwaukee at St. Louis was postponed.
Miami topped Tampa Bay 10-6 in interleague play.