PHOENIX (AP) — Brad Ziegler has been one of baseball's best relievers the past few years. He has been dominating this season, riding a scoreless streak that lasted more than a month.
His run came to a crashing end against the Washington Nationals.
Ziegler's scoreless streak ended at 19 games when Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore each hit a two-run single in the ninth inning of the Arizona Diamondbacks' 5-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday.
"I had a lot of swing and misses over the top and a lot of balls chopped foul," Ziegler said. "I felt like I had decent stuff. Just didn't execute pitches that well."
Washington had a hard time solving Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy, who locked into a pitcher's duel with Doug Fister for the first seven innings.
Ziegler (0-1) hadn't allowed a run in 18 1-3 innings, so pulling off another late-inning victory appeared to be a daunting task.
Denard Span got it started with a gritty at-bat, drawing a walk after fouling off four straight pitches against Ziegler. The Nationals loaded the bases and Desmond came through, lining a single through the left side. Moore followed with another two-run hit, breaking his bat on a single up the middle.
Jayson Werth homered and Tyler Clippard (4-3) tossed one scoreless inning for Washington, which took two of three from Arizona after being swept in Oakland.
"We needed this one," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "It salvages the road trip. It started off really bad and it's nice to get this one and head home on a positive note."
The Diamondbacks had just come off a solid road trip and McCarthy put them in good position to win four straight series for the first time in nearly three years.
Arizona lost to Washington in the ninth inning Monday night, and then had a surprising meltdown in the series finale by one of baseball's best relievers over the past few seasons.
"He has been on an incredible run for us," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "He didn't have his location today."
Aaron Hill homered and made several spectacular plays at second base for the Diamondbacks.
Fister was sharp after a rough debut for the Nationals.
Acquired from Detroit in an offseason trade, the right-hander spent the first six weeks on the disabled list with a back strain. He returned Saturday against Oakland and was hit hard, allowing seven runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.
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