WASHINGTON -- Adam Dunn should have been celebrating. Instead, he was angry. Dunn's Washington Nationals won their eighth straight game, but he kept talking about games that had gotten away.
After a 9-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, the Nationals have their second longest run in their five seasons in the nation's capital. They won 10 straight from June 2-12, 2005."I knew we were capable of playing like this," Dunn said. "I wish we would have played this loose and had fun early in the year, and we wouldn't be how many games back."
The Nationals were 32-72 prior to their current eight-game winning streak. Washington's winning streak matches the third-longest in major league history for a team that was at least 40 games under .500 at the time the streak started.
When Jim Riggleman replaced Manny Acta four weeks ago, the Nationals were a frightful 26-61. They're 14-11 since."Now It's good that we're finally playing the way we're capable, but it's frustrating because we should have been playing like this since Day One," Dunn said.Dunn had a two-run home run -- his 30th. He has at least 30 in six straight seasons. Ryan Zimmerman had three hits and three runs, and Elijah Dukes drove in three.But the happiest man in the locker room was J.D. Martin, a 26-year-old who finally reached the big leagues last month and got his first win and first hit.Martin (1-2) became the fifth Nationals pitcher to record their first win as a starter -- and the second in two games. He also became the second to get hit with a shaving cream pie."I kind of anticipated it," Martin said. "I feel like part of the team now."On a sultry afternoon, with temperatures in the low 90s, Martin allowed one run and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out one.Martin's only mistake came three pitches in, when Trent Oeltjen led off the game with a homer. It was Oeltjen's second home run in four major league games.Martin's most challenging inning was his last. In the fifth, Alex Romero led off with a single and Chris Young doubled. With runners on second and third and none out, Martin was able to pitch out of trouble.Mark Reynolds homered in the eighth inning off Jorge Sosa -- his 36th of the season. Reynolds homered in each of the three games this weekend and has 11 in his last 13 games.Sosa pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for his second save.Dunn's two-run home run off Yusmeiro Petit (2-6) in the bottom of the first gave Washington a 2-1 lead. Zimmerman scored ahead of Dunn. His double extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and he feels the vibe in the clubhouse."You're confident -- no matter what part of the game it is," Zimmerman said. "It's a good feeling. It's contagious just like everything else."In the third, Zimmerman doubled again and scored on Dukes' RBI single.With two outs in the fourth, Nyjer Morgan singled and stole second. Cristian Guzman hit a slow roller to third. Reynolds threw wildly to first and Morgan scored. Guzman was credited with a single -- extending his hitting streak to 15 games.Guzman's bases-loaded walk in the sixth gave Washington a 5-1 lead.Petit, who didn't give up a hit until the eighth inning in his last start, against Pittsburgh on Aug. 4, gave up four runs -- one unearned -- in four innings. He allowed nine hits, walked one and struck out three. In his previous two starts, he allowed just five hits in 15 innings."We were outplayed. They beat us," Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. "They've caught some good energy, and they're playing on all facets."Washington scored four runs in the eighth highlighted by Dukes' bases-loaded, two-run single.
Oeltjen's leadoff home run was Arizona's third of the season. ... Juan Padilla, who played in the minor leagues for 12 seasons before making his major league debut on Aug. 5, also had his first major league hits. ... Diamondbacks OF Gerardo Parra was held out of the starting lineup with a sore right calf. He pinch hit in the eighth, and saw his 10-game hitting streak end.