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Tracy, Haren lead Nationals past Diamondbacks

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Dan Haren and Chad Tracy celebrated a return to Chase Field by helping the Washington Nationals drop the Arizona Diamondbacks below .500 for the first time this season.

Tracy had two hits, including a home run, and Haren scattered four hits in seven scoreless innings to lead the Nationals to a 2-0 victory at Chase Field on Saturday.

"I had a blast while I was here," said Tracy, who had 27- and 20-home-run seasons in 2005-06. "I like playing here. I see the ball well here. Great batter's eye."

Haren (10-14) struck out five, walked one and permitted only two runners as far as second base. He has won at least 10 games and made 30 starts in each of the last nine seasons since joining the Oakland starting rotation in 2005.

"To have a goal winning 10 games is like a hitter having a goal of hitting .250," Haren said. "I'm more so proud of making that many starts for that many years. I take pride in taking the ball, whether I feel good, whether I feel like crap, I just want the ball."

Haren, who signed a one-year, $13 million free agent deal in the offseason, won six of his final nine starts after struggling with a 5.61 ERA at the All-Star break.

"It's been a tough, emotional, mental year for me," said Haren, who had 37 victories in his 2 1/2 seasons with the Diamondbacks from 2008-10, including a career-high 16 in 2008. "The mental side of it just crushed me this year. I'm happy with the way I finished up, but I will still always have that guilt about the way it started and the expectations not met."

Denard Span tripled and scored off Brandon McCarthy (5-11) to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning, and Tracy hit his fourth home run of the season with one out in the seventh.

"The triple to Span was a pitch that I thought was all right, it was one of the only good changeups I have thrown all year. That was a good bit of, I don't know if that is irony, but something," McCarthy said.

Martin Prado singled, Miguel Montero walked and the runners moved up on a one-out wild pitch in the ninth inning, but Rafael Soriano got out of it for his 43rd save. He has not given up a run in his last 12 appearances.

Washington (86-75) has won two in a row to guarantee retiring manager Davey Johnson a career record of at least 300 games above .500.

Johnson is 1,372-1,070 in his 17 major league seasons.

Chris Owings had two hits for Arizona (80-81), which has lost five of its last six games to fall below .500 for the first time this season. The D-backs have scored 11 runs in their last six games and have been shut out seven times this season.

"We just haven't hit," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "(Haren) pitched a good game, but you have to have better opportunities and make the most of your opportunities. You go through cycles like that."

Span tripled on the first pitch in the sixth inning and scored on Ryan Zimmerman's groundout to deep shortstop.

The Diamondbacks had doubles from rookies Owings and Matt Davidson, but did not get a runner past second base against Haren.

NOTES: Johnson will manage his last game on Sunday after announcing his retirement earlier in the season. He is a two-time manager of the year with Baltimore (1997) and Washington (2012). He won World Series as a player with Baltimore (1966, 1970) and as a manager with the New York Mets (1986). ... The Diamondbacks are the only National League team with three players with 35 or more doubles: RF Gerardo Parra (43), Paul Goldschmidt (35) and IF/OF Martin Prado (36). ... LHP Gio Gonzalez, scheduled to start Sunday was scratched after the game in favor of RHP Tanner Roark, 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA. ... Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche (strained biceps) will not play Sunday, Johnson said. Tracy started at first base Saturday.
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