Series: Game 3 of 3

Arizona won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, May 9
Game 2: Tuesday, May 10
Game 3: Wednesday, May 11

Nationals 2

(18-16, 11-10 away)

Diamondbacks 3

(20-15, 14-8 home)

    6:10 PM ET, May 11, 2005

    Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona 

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    WAS 010000100 2 6 2
    ARI 00001011 - 3 10 1

    W: L. Cormier (2-0)

    L: J. Rauch (1-3)

    S: B. Lyon (13)

    This time, Tracy's RBI hit the difference

    PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are learning how to scratch out wins. That's a good sign, especially to those who remember the 2001 World Series champions.

    Chad Tracy hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, and the Diamondbacks beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 Wednesday -- their second consecutive victory by that score.

    "We've been battling the whole nine innings, and we came out with a couple wins," Tracy said. "That's the nature of the game. It's fun to play in those games, but it's only fun when you win."

    Manager Bob Melvin, who was Arizona's bench coach when the Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in a memorable, seven-game series four years ago, said playing tight games -- and winning -- can harden a team.

    "I'm not equating this team to that team," Melvin said. "We've got a long way to go. But I'm saying those kind of games can really build character, and if you play quite a few of them, it really makes you battle-tested."

    Javier Vazquez pitched seven solid innings for the Diamondbacks, who earned their second straight win over a team that had bedeviled them. The Washington franchise won 10 straight against Arizona over the last two years before Tuesday night's 3-2 Diamondbacks victory.

    With the score tied at 2, Troy Glaus and Shawn Green singled off Jon Rauch (1-3) with one out in the eighth. Tracy followed with a sharp liner to right, scoring Glaus and giving Arizona a 3-2 lead.

    An intentional walk loaded the bases, but Rauch escaped further damage.

    Lance Cormier (2-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win -- taking advantage of second baseman Craig Counsell's second spectacular defensive play -- and Brandon Lyon needed only six pitches to retire three Nationals in the ninth for his major league-leading 13th save.

    Counsell, who also had three hits, ranged deep behind second for Vinny Castilla's grounder and threw him out in the second. He trumped that by diving to stop a smash by Ryan Church in the eighth, flipping the ball to Alex Cintron at second for an inning-ending forceout.

    "He got it on his hands a little bit, and it's one of those right at the edge of your range," Counsell said.

    Brian Schneider had two doubles for the Nationals, driving in a run with the first and giving them a 2-1 lead in the seventh when he scored after the second. Rookie Tony Blanco got his first major league RBI with a pinch-hit single in the seventh.

    But Arizona answered in its half on Counsell's bloop RBI single.

    Washington's Claudio Vargas allowed an unearned run and six hits in six innings in his first start since Sept. 17 at Philadelphia, and only his second start since June 18.

    "We had opportunities to put them away and we just didn't take advantage of it," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "We had multiple opportunities and just couldn't get that big hit."

    Vargas spent most of the second half of last season in the bullpen, and went on the disabled list March 16 after spraining his right elbow. He was activated late Tuesday.

    Vazquez allowed two runs and six hits, striking out seven. It was his first no-decision in five starts. He won the last four.

    "The guys have been scoring a lot of runs when I pitch," he said. "There are going to be times like this in 162 games."

    The Diamondbacks tied it at 1 in the fifth after loading the bases on three straight singles, including an infield hit by Vazquez. Cintron lined out to Castilla at third, but when Castilla tried to double up Vazquez at second, Carlos Baerga's fielding error allowed a run to score.

    "The throw was perfect," Baerga said. "The ball kind of hit, a little bit, the pitcher -- you know, his arm, and kicked the other way."

    The Nationals scored in the second on back-to-back doubles by Baerga and Schneider. Vazquez then settled in, allowing only a bloop single by Vargas over his next 17 batters.

    Game notes

    Washington's two errors were its first in 90 innings, keeping the Nationals from tying the franchise record of 10 consecutive error-free games. The 1977 Expos set the mark, and last year's club tied it. ... Schneider's RBI double extended his hitting streak to eight games. ... The Diamondbacks said LHP Randy Choate cleared waivers and has accepted his assignment to Triple-A Tucson.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press