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Diamondbacks edge Nats to finish at .500

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks built a team that would grind though the season, and nothing typified the approach better than a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals in the final game Sunday.

A.J. Pollock's infield single drove in the go-ahead run to cap a two-run eighth inning as Arizona earned its major-league-high 34th one-run win this season. It was the Diamondbacks' 33rd victory in their last at-bat, also a major league high.

"That's who we were all year," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.

Adam Eaton singled with one out in the eighth inning off Ryan Mattheus (0-2) and took third when Paul Goldschmidt extended his career-long hitting streak to 19 with a single to right field.

Martin Prado singled home the tying run with one out. Pollock's single, which he beat out with a headfirst slide, pushed the D-backs to their 42nd comeback victory of the season, fourth in the majors.

The Diamondbacks played a major-league-record 1,538 innings this season, breaking the mark set by the 1964 New York Yankees, who played 1,537 innings in 164 games because of two tie games.

Steve Lombardozzi had two singles and an RBI for the Nationals (86-76), who played their final game under Davey Johnson. The 70-year-old finished his 17-year managerial career with a 1,372-1,071 record.

"I'm really lucky I've had the big league experiences I've had as a manager and a player," Johnson said. "When you love the game as much as I love this game and like the competition, you just enjoy it. Hopefully you can pass that on to other players and managers, give something back. It's been quite a journey."

Johnson, who took over the Nationals in mid-June 2011 and led them to the NL East title in 2012, became the 15th manager in major league history to finish at least 300 games over .500.

"It's not like I'm dying tomorrow," Johnson said when asked to reflect on his career. "Good lord. There'll be something I can do."

Washington, which entered the season as favorites to win the NL East, played its best baseball over the final seven weeks of the season. The Nationals won two of their last three and went 32-16 since Aug. 8, the best record in the majors leagues in that span.

Goldschmidt drove in the D-backs' other run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He finished with a league-leading 125 RBIs.

Goldschmidt hit 35 home runs, tied for the league lead with Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez.

The Diamondbacks, who led the NL West on July 22, finished 81-81 for the second consecutive season. They broke a four-game losing streak in the finale.

"It is not what anyone wanted, but it is something to build off for next year," said D-backs starter Wade Miley, who gave up two runs, one earned, in seven innings. "Everyone has a sour taste in their mouth how it went down and how it happened."

David Hernandez (5-6) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning for the victory, and Brad Ziegler struck out two of the three batters he faced for his 13th save.

Washington rookie right-hander Tanner Roark gave up only an unearned run, three singles and one walk in seven innings.

Willie Bloomquist singled to open the first inning and took third when Roark threw Eaton's sacrifice bunt down the first base line for a two-base error. Goldschmidt followed with his sacrifice fly to center field for a 1-0 lead.

The Nationals, who had runners on base in each of the first five innings off Miley, scored with some help from Arizona in the sixth inning.

Tyler Moore reached on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Prado to open the inning and scored when Zach Walters tripled into the right field corner on a ball that glanced off the tip of right fielder Gerardo Parra's glove. The play originally was ruled an error on Parra.

Lombardozzi followed with a single to drive in Walters for a 2-1 lead.

NOTES: Johnson gave every regular starter the final day off except Anthony Rendon, and Rendon played third base instead of his normal second base. ... Johnson was selected Manager of the Year with the Baltimore Orioles in 1997 and Washington in 2012. He won World Series as a player with Baltimore (1966, 1970) and as a manager with the New York Mets (1986). Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said he would like Johnson to serve as a consultant during spring training. Johnson said he plans a trip to Bora Bora in April or May, "when the fishing is good." ... D-backs manager Kirk Gibson gave C Miguel Montero the final day off but played his other regulars. ... The D-backs' season attendance was 2,134,729.
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