Marte homers and Cecconi throws 6 innings to lead Diamondbacks past Nationals 5-0 in series opener

Marte homers and Cecconi throws 6 innings to lead Diamondbacks past Nationals 5-0 in series opener

WASHINGTON – Ketel Marte homered, Slade Cecconi pitched six sharp innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Washington Nationals 5-0 on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series.

Corbin Carroll reached base four times and scored twice for Arizona, which won six of eight and improved to 36-37. The defending champion Diamondbacks haven’t been this close to .500 since they were 12-13 on April 23.

“It was a very clean game for us today,” manager Torey Lovullo said.

CJ Abrams extended his hitting streak to 11 games for Washington, which was limited to four hits and had its three-game winning streak snapped.

The Diamondbacks took an early lead against Jake Irvin (5-6) when Carroll led off the game with a walk and promptly stole second. Marte then drove a 2-2 curveball to right-center for his 15th home run.

Arizona hit two more in the fifth inning when Geraldo Perdomo doubled and scored on Carroll’s triple to left-center. Carroll came around on Marte’s sacrifice fly.

Carroll also walked in the third and singled in the ninth. Last season’s NL Rookie of the Year left Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox in the seventh inning after a difficult throw from the outfield.

“He’s a hungry player,” Lovullo said. “He did a great job. He said he was fine and he proved it. Sometimes you have to avoid the athlete. When they tell you they can do something, you have to trust them, and we certainly trust Corbin.

Irvin ran into foul trouble throughout his outing, allowing the leadoff hitter to reach base in all five innings. But he limited the damage to four runs in part as the Diamondbacks hit four inning-ending double plays.

“He was a little off,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “His command wasn’t quite there, but he fought and he gave us five innings. Today he fell behind a lot of hitters. He walked the first man of the game. That’s not normally what he does.”

Early support was plenty for Cecconi (2-5), who earned his first win since April 21 and completed six innings for the first time since April 27. He retired the first nine batters he faced and allowed three hits and no walks while batting. out of six.

Cecconi, who gave up seven runs in three innings in his final outing Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels, threw just 70 pitches against the aggressive Nationals. The righthander hit four first-pitch outs.

“It seems like every team wants to do that against me, and I understand that,” Cecconi said. “I don’t really run with boys much. They know I’m throwing strikes and they want to go out and hit an error over the middle of the plate. Last week I threw a lot of pitches over the center of the hit plate. I don’t think I did that this week.”

Jesse Winker, stranded on a two-out double in the fourth, was the only Nationals batter to reach scoring position.

Nationals: Winker (right knee) returned to the lineup after a one-game absence. … RHP Josiah Gray (forearm flexor strain) will pitch for Double-A Harrisburg on Wednesday. Martinez said Gray will throw about 75-80 pitches. … RHP Cade Cavalli (Tommy John surgery) threw a bullpen. He is scheduled to appear in rehab Friday in Class A Wilmington.

Arizona RHP Brandon Pfaadt (3-5, 4.38 ERA) faces Washington for the first time on Wednesday, while the Nationals counter with former Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (1-7, 5.84).