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Clint Robinson rebounds from strikeout with homer in Washington Nationals' 8-3 win

By
David Driver, The Sports Xchange
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the second inning at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on August 6, 2015. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (58) pitches against the Washington Nationals in the second inning at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on August 6, 2015. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON -- Clint Robinson wasn't too happy when he struck out looking with the bases loaded in the third inning and voiced his displeasure with home-plate umpire Tripp Gibson.

But Robinson said there was no carry-over to his at-bat in the eighth inning when he crushed a three-run homer to right field that put the finishing touches on a much-needed 8-3 win for the Washington Nationals over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

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"That at-bat was over. He took it, that was it," Robinson said as the Nationals left the bases loaded in the third. "I put a good swing on it" for the homer.

There were plenty of heroes for Washington. Starting pitcher Joe Ross continued his impressive rookie season by allowing one run in six innings and catcher Wilson Ramos had two hits and two RBIs.

"It was a total team effort. The hits haven't been there for us," said Robinson, a 30-year-old rookie.

Ross (3-3), making his seventh career start, gave up five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts. The right-hander has 47 strikeouts and allowed just four walks in his first 45 innings after he was called up from Double-A Harrisburg on June 6.

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Washington manager Matt Williams announced after the game that Ross will stay in the rotation and veteran starter Doug Fister, who is 4-7 with a 4.60 ERA, will move to the bullpen when Stephen Strasburg comes off the disabled list to start Saturday.

"I need to go thank him," Ross said of Fister. "I will try to continue to help the team."

Robinson said of Ross: "Joe is confident in his abilities. We love having him in the rotation."

The Nationals (56-51) gained a split of the four-game series and won for just the second time in the last seven games. Arizona (52-55) ended its three-city road trip with a 6-4 record after winning the first four.

"Too many 3-2 counts," Arizona manager Chip Hale said of starter Jeremy Hellickson. "It was a pretty tight (strike) zone today, both ways. For the most part, he kept us in the game. He battled and that is what we expect."

Washington is now 1 1/2 games back of the National League East-leading New York Mets, who were off Thursday.

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Nationals pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman had an RBI double for some breathing room to make it 5-3 in the seventh inning. Robinson, starting in place of Zimmerman, crushed a three-run homer in the eighth off Brad Ziegler to pad the cushion to 8-3.

Washington right fielder Bryce Harper reached base all five times, with three walks and two singles. Arizona right fielder Yasmany Tomas and center fielder Ender Inciarte had two hits each.

The Diamondbacks had trimmed their deficit to 4-3 in the seventh with a two-run double by Inciarte off reliever Casey Janssen. But left-hander Matt Thornton came on to get the last two outs in the inning.

Drew Storen pitched a scoreless eighth and Blake Treinen worked the ninth for the Nationals after coming back from the minors earlier in the day.

"A little edge on him," Thornton said of Treinen.

The Nationals scored two runs in the fifth and benefited from a wild pitch by Hellickson (7-8) that allowed left fielder Jayson Werth to reach first after he swung at strike three for what would have been the third out of the inning as the ball got past catcher Oscar Hernandez.

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"It is the big leagues. We expect a lot out of these guys," said Hale, who admitted he expects a ball like that in the dirt to be blocked.

Washington shortstop Ian Desmond, who had two hits and two runs, followed with a walk and Ramos lined a two-run single to left to make it 4-1.

Desmond homered in the second to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead. It was the 12th home run of the year for Desmond, who entered the game hitting .148 in his last seven games.

The Nationals grabbed a 2-0 lead on an RBI fielder's choice in the fourth by center fielder Michael A. Taylor. Arizona's Jarrod Saltalamacchia, starting at first base for the first time since 2007, homered in the fifth to cut the margin to 2-1.

Hellickson struggled with his control, giving up four walks, a wild pitch and a hit by pitch in addition to yielding five hits and four runs.

NOTES: The Nationals called up RHP Blake Treinen from Triple-A Syracuse and sent RHP Aaron Barrett to Triple-A. Barrett was the losing pitcher on Wednesday when he threw away a bunt single that led to two runs in the sixth inning. ... Arizona RHP Chase Anderson (4-4, 4.37 ERA) will face Reds RHP Raisel Iglesias (2-3, 5.13) on Friday as the Diamondbacks return home after a trip to Seattle, Houston and Washington. The Nationals begin a series at home on Friday against the Colorado Rockies. RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-7, 3.54) will face RHP Jorge De La Rosa (7-4, 4.87). ... Nationals manager Matt Williams met with his team before the game after losing five of the last six. "We're best when we're aggressive," he said. ... Washington OF Bryce Harper entered Thursday having reached base in 31 of his last 32 games.

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