WASHINGTON -- These two offenses entered this three-game series at Nationals Park as two of the hottest in baseball. The D-backs closed the month as the hardest-hitting team in the National League as they paced the league in average exit-velocity. And fresh off their 23-run outburst Sunday, the Nationals were the highest scoring team in baseball.
"I gotta give it up to the bullpen," Walker said afterward. "They really came in and picked me up big-time and got the job done." More >
Both starting pitchers extended themselves beyond their usual pitch count Tuesday night.
"Everybody's pitch count was up," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said with a laugh. "It was a pitch count up day, I guess."
Walker needed 117 pitches to navigate through 4 2/3 innings, one shy of his career-high mark. He gave up three runs on five hits and even though he struck out six, he also walked five. Arizona received a pair of homers in the fourth inning, which began with a solo homer from Jake Lamb followed by a two-run homer from Chris Herrmann that gave the D-backs the lead. Jeremy Hazelbaker added a solo shot off Joe Blanton in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Nats right-hander Tanner Roark needed a career-high 125 pitches to get through six innings of four-run ball on six hits, as he also struck out a season-high eight batters. Roark's 125 was the most pitches Baker has allowed a starter to throw since taking over as Nationals manager last season. Baker said he extended Roark because of a short Nats bullpen. More >
"I'm very happy that Dusty let me go in there and finish the inning," said Roark, who tied Yu Darvish of the Rangers for most pitches by a starter this season. "I wanted to get that last guy. It builds confidence in me and I'm glad he has the confidence in me to finish the inning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lamb, Herrmann deliver big blows: Down 3-1 in the fourth inning, the D-backs flexed their power and took the lead thanks to long balls from Lamb and Herrmann off Roark. The former got the offense going by leading off the frame with a 407-foot solo shot to right-center field with an 103 mph exit velocity, while the latter's two-run shot to left-center gave Arizona a lead it would not relinquish.
Hoover escapes the jam: The Nationals' offense would not go quietly as they formed a two-out rally in the seventh. Bryce Harper drew a two-out walk followed by a single from Ryan Zimmerman, who recorded his career-high fifth consecutive multi-hit game.
But D-backs right-hander Hoover struck out Daniel Murphy on a slider to escape the jam and preserve the two-run lead.
"I knew from the scouting [report] what my game plan was," Hoover said. "I just wanted to go out there and execute. I knew what [Murphy] was looking to do in that situation, so I was able to hang my pitch."
"We did have some opportunities," Baker said. "We left a lot of men on base."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Tuesday's victory saw the D-backs tie a Major League record as they struck out 11 batters for the eighth straight game.
"I think it speaks volumes about our staff," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I've been saying it and preaching it since day one: Our starting rotation and beyond sets the tone for us to play the type of baseball that we want."
With a man on first in the top of the seventh inning, the D-backs challenged a call that pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso was hit by a Blake Treinen pitch. After a minute and one second review, the call was overturned, giving the D-backs two on and none out. Arizona would cash in with a run scored later in the frame to go up 5-3.
Lovullo would challenge a second time in the inning, disputing an out call at first base on the tail end of a double play. The call on the field stood, and the inning was over.
WHAT'S NEXT Diamondbacks: The D-backs will go for three straight wins as they send left-hander Robbie Ray (2-1, 3.56 ERA) to the mound Wednesday at 4:05 p.m MT. The 25-year-old has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his five starts this season.
Nationals:Gio Gonzalez (3-0, 1.62 ERA) will take the mound to try and build off an impressive April in the second game of this three-game set against the D-backs at 7:05 p.m. ET. He has thrown at least six innings in each of his first five starts.