PHOENIX (AP)—Nationals manager Jim Riggleman called it a “difficult situation,” and he sure was glad his team was able to leave Chase Field with a victory Sunday.
Riggleman and Arizona manager Kirk Gibson were among four ejections, and Washington was hit by a pitch four times, including second baseman Danny Espinosa(notes) twice. The Nationals also blew a 4-0 lead.
“You’ve got to overcome difficult situations,” Riggleman said. “Great at-bat by Ankiel, that was the key.”
Arizona almost added to its list of 17 comeback wins, tied for the major league lead. The Diamondbacks scored three times in the ninth inning to tie it at 4, but the Nationals bounced back in the 11th to earn a split in the four-game series.
Pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes) led off with a single to center against Joe Paterson(notes) (0-1). Pitcher Jordan Zimmermann(notes) then hit for reliever Sean Burnett(notes) (1-2) and moved Hairston to second with a sacrifice. Roger Bernadina(notes) reached on a high chopper and Jayson Werth(notes) walked with two out to get to Ankiel, who walked on five pitches.
Morse added his second career grand slam, a drive to center for his eighth homer of the season.
Arizona had won 18 of 22 to surge into contention in the NL West and looked primed for another dramatic victory before the disastrous final inning.
The Diamondbacks got to Nationals closer Drew Storen(notes) for three runs in the ninth inning. They put their first three batters on before Juan Miranda(notes) walked to force in a run. Melvin Mora(notes) hit a sacrifice fly off Todd Coffey(notes) and pinch-hitter Xavier Nady(notes) tied it with a run-scoring fielder’s choice.
“I made it tougher than it needed to be,” Storen said. “I don’t want to be taken out, that’s just the guy I am. But I trust that somebody in our bullpen is going to step up.”
The ejections became a footnote after the late-inning drama.
Werth, hit twice previously in the series, was drilled in the arm in the fifth inning, above the same elbow that was struck Thursday night and caused him to miss Friday’s game. Home plate umpire Rob Drake issued a warning to Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy(notes).
“If you look at the whole game, we are not throwing at him,” Gibson said. “We are trying to throw him tight. We don’t want him to get his arms out. Espinosa the same way. I will show you the scouting report if you don’t believe me.”
When Kennedy threw too far inside and hit Morse two batters later, Drake allowed the pitcher to remain in the game. That brought Riggleman out of the dugout to have a word with Drake, but he said he was only lauding the umpire for his judgment.
“Once we give warnings, if we deem it’s intentional then there are ejections. The rest of it will be in our report to the league,” crew chief Gary Darling said, making clear that Drake didn’t feel Morse was hit intentionally.
Upton was hit with pitches four times in the series.
“I don’t necessarily think there was intent, everybody is trying to win the ballgame but at some point the pitcher has to hit his spot,” Upton said. “Getting hit three times in three days is pretty ridiculous. I am not mad about it, it’s a part of the game.”
Said Riggleman: “I can promise you we did not one time have any intent to hit Upton. I feel terrible he got hit four times. Clearly we feel that when there was an open base, they took some shots at Werth. … We’re not throwing at anybody. We’re trying to win the game.”
“He gutted it out to stay in the game,” Riggleman said.
NOTES: Nationals 3B Ryan Zimmerman(notes) was scheduled to make a rehabilitation appearance with Class-A Hagerstown. Zimmerman has missed 52 games since being placed on the 15-day disabled list April 12 with a left abdominal injury … Werth made a leaping catch against the fence in right-field foul territory in the bottom of the fifth to retire Miranda.