D-backs use 4-run sixth as jumping-off point

D-backs use 4-run sixth as jumping-off point

WASHINGTON -- They didn't hit the ball hard in the sixth inning, but the D-backs were able to capitalize on a costly error to put up four runs en route to an 11-4 win over the Nationals on Wednesday night.

The inning started innocently enough with a ground-ball single back up the middle by Yasmany Tomas and a bloop base hit to center by Chris Owings.

Nick Ahmed then laid down a bunt to try to move the runners up a base, and Washington pitcher Aaron Barrett threw the ball down the first-base line, allowing two runs to score and Ahmed to make it all the way to third.

Pinch-hitter Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed with another bloop hit to score Ahmed, and later in the inning Aaron Hill drew a bases-loaded walk to cap the scoring and give the D-backs a 5-2 lead.

Salty's RBI single

"Just pesky," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of his team. "Kept fighting. Sometimes that's our game -- single them to death. I didn't hear that one tonight in the pregame, but I did hear, 'Be very patient and [Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez is] going to pick around the zone,' and I thought our guys extended at-bats and got hits at big times."

The D-backs were on the other end of the bloop single situation in Tuesday night's loss to the Nats when Wilson Ramos blooped a two-run single in the eighth to give Washington a 5-4 win.

The top of the D-backs' lineup, which struggled in Tuesday's game, came up big with the top three hitters combining for nine hits.

That includes Paul Goldschmidt, who came into Wednesday's game in a rare slump. The All-Star first baseman had gone four games without a hit -- his longest such streak of the season.

Hale told Goldschmidt that he was thinking of giving him a day off Thursday, and Goldschmidt responded, "Maybe I can change your mind." Whether his 3-for-5 performance Wednesday did remains to be seen.

"It's a lot better when you're getting results like that," Goldschmidt said. "I didn't play well the last few games, and tonight was better and hopefully it will continue. Like I said last night, it's how the game of baseball goes. Some nights you have some at-bats and you don't get results. Tonight, first couple of at-bats I didn't hit those the greatest, but found a couple of holes out there and then was able to hit a couple of balls hard."

Castillo's three-run shot

Hitting the ball hard -- and far -- is something that Welington Castillo has done since coming over from the Mariners in a trade at the beginning of June. Castillo blasted a three-run homer, his 11th for the D-backs, in the eighth to put Arizona up, 8-2.

"Honestly, I don't know how to explain what's going on right now," Castillo said. "I'm just going up there, trying to see the ball and hit the ball and keep everything simple and not think about anything. I'm feeling good. But the most important thing is this team is giving me the opportunity to be out there every day and have a chance to be better and better every time."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.