WASHINGTON -- The D-backs took advantage of an Aaron Barrett throwing error to grab the lead in the sixth inning en route to an 11-4 victory over the Nationals on Wednesday night at Nationals Park. The Nationals, who have lost five of their last six games, are now two games behind the Mets in the National League East.
Washington had a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Nationals manager Matt Williams took Gio Gonzalez out of the game after the lefty allowed a leadoff single to Yasmany Tomas. With runners on first and second, Nick Ahmed bunted the ball toward Barrett, who threw it past first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, allowing two runs to score. Ahmed went all the way to third base on the error.
Welington Castillo hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to make it a five-run game before Arizona tacked on three more runs in the ninth.
"Definitely some big hits there," D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said. "Nick, great bunt, just moving them over, it turns into scoring two runs giving us the lead, and Castillo really breaking open the game and putting it away."
"I think it looks bad because of what happened," Williams said. "Our guys are not trying to go out there and give runs up. ... The bunt was the decider, but it seemed like anybody we brought in tonight just wasn't throwing it the way they wanted to. It was prolonged, extended at-bats and base hits. It's the way it goes sometimes. We have to be prepared for tomorrow."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Top of order delivers: After going 1-for-12 in Tuesday night's loss, the top three hitters in the D-backs' order -- Ender Inciarte, A.J. Pollock and Goldschmidt -- combined to collect nine hits and scored four runs.
"Definitely better at-bats, a bunch of hits," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "They did a nice job."
Nats' bats in slumber: The Nationals scored their two runs in the first inning off Rubby De La Rosa, but they collected just four hits from the second until the eighth before Michael Taylor hit a two-run homer in the ninth. They had a runner in scoring position in the seventh inning with two outs, but the Nationals couldn't score when Anthony Rendon struck out to end the threat.
"We haven't scored many runs," catcher Jose Lobaton said. "We have been scoring runs in the first inning, and then kind of shut it down. We have to keep trying. We have a better team than what we are showing right now. Hopefully, we can come back tomorrow and try to win then."
Rubby rebounds: It looked like it might be a short outing for De La Rosa when he allowed the first three runners of the first inning to reach base, including a pair of walks. However, he was able to limit the damage to just two runs in that inning and wound up not giving up any further runs while getting through five frames.
"I think they tried to jump me right away when I tried to throw my four-seam fastball," De La Rosa said. "From there, I had to switch my plan and figure something out so I could give the opportunity to my team to compete and get the 'W.'"
Too many pitches for Gio: Gonzalez threw 95 pitches in five-plus innings. He allowed two runs, walked one and struck out seven. The fourth inning was the only time he had an easy inning.
"He is making pitches when he has to, but he is losing the strike zone a little bit," Williams said. "He will be ready for the next one."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Inciarte reached base on an infield single in the top of the third inning, but Williams thought Inciarte was out and challenged the call. After a review of three minutes, 29 seconds, the call stood and the Nationals lost their challenge.
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs:Jeremy Hellickson will get the start in Thursday afternoon's series finale at 1:05 p.m. MST as he looks to rebound from one of his worst outings of the season. Hellickson gave up seven runs on seven hits and lasted just 3 1/3 innings Saturday night in Houston.
Nationals: The fourth game of a four-game series starts at 4:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Joe Ross will get the start for Washington. On Saturday, he settled for a no-decision against the Mets, allowing two runs over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts. The rookie has pitched at least six innings in all but one of his six career starts. He's never faced the D-backs.