WASHINGTON (AP) - As the Washington Nationals approach the midpoint of their season they are hovering around the .500 mark, waiting for the offense to find some consistency.
Didi Gregorius drove in the go-ahead run with a bunt single in the 11th inning and Aaron Hill homered as the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Nationals 3-2 Thursday night to salvage the finale of a three-game series.
Ian Desmond homered and Adam LaRoche had two hits for the Nationals (39-39), who completed a 4-3 homestand but missed a chance to sweep the NL-West leaders and improve to two games over .500 for the first time since May 28.
Miguel Montero led off the 11th with a ground-rule double off Craig Stammen (4-3). A.J. Pollock ran for Montero and Cody Ross bunted him to third. After Jason Kubel drew a walk, Gregorius bunted down the first-base line on a 1-1 pitch. Pollock ran on contact and scored the go-ahead run and Gregorius beat the throw at first.
``When that play is executed right, it's pretty much unstoppable,' Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said.
The Nationals got a one-out single in the bottom of the 11th from LaRoche, but failed to score.
``It was that kind of ballgame,' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. ``A couple home runs, and then a safety squeeze beats us.'
Josh Collmenter (4-0) pitched the 10th inning and Heath Bell picked up his 14th save as the Diamondbacks snapped a three-game losing streak.
The game featured a pitching duel between Stephen Strasburg and Arizona's Patrick Corbin, who came in 9-0. Both left after allowing two runs in seven innings.
``It was two young pitchers going at it,' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ``Patrick true to form gave us a great performance, matched Strasburg and we ended up getting the win.'
Strasburg gave up six hits while striking out four and walking two as he threw 113 pitches. It was the first time Strasburg allowed as many as two earned runs in a game since May 4.
``I felt pretty good out there. The fast ball felt really good,' Strasburg said. ``Just maybe having that extra day (between starts), I felt like my curveball was you know hanging a little bit, but I was able to make the adjustment.'
Strasburg has received less than three runs of support in 11 of his 15 starts.
``We just need to get a little something going,' Johnson said of the offense. ``Eight hits, two runs, 11 innings. The pitching did OK, we just keep kind of sputtering in scoring runs.'
Corbin allowed five hits while striking out six and walking two. He threw 111 pitches in his fifth straight no-decision.
``Nobody's been scoring runs off of that guy, just like nobody's been scoring runs off the guy (Matt Harvey) we're going to face tomorrow,' Zimmerman said. ``I wish we were going to score seven runs every game, but there's good pitchers in this league too, and over the past week, week and a half, we've started to get a little bit better, and we've just got to keep rolling with that.'
The Diamondbacks trailed 2-0 when Corbin led off the sixth with a single.
``I think I have a tendency, especially this year, of just kind of not giving them credit, enough credit,' Strasburg said of facing opposing hitters. ``You know, he's got a bat in his hands and I've got to treat him just like any other guy in the lineup.'
One out later, Hill homered to tie the score.
Washington went ahead in the fourth. Corbin retired the first two Nationals, but walked Adam LaRoche. Desmond then hit a 2-2 breaking ball into the visitors' bullpen for his 13th homer of the year to make it 2-0.
``He threw me a couple of good sliders that I was able to take, and I just kind of shortened it up and he hung it a little bit and I was able to get the barrel to it,' Desmond said.
In the seventh, after Washington pinch hitter Chris Marrero singled and pinch runner Jeff Kobernus stole second, Denard Span hit a shot down the line, but first baseman Paul Goldschmidt made a diving stab and beat Span to first.
NOTES: Stadium security evacuated several sections of the upper deck in right field during the 11th inning after a bank of lights started crackling and smoking. . The start of the game was delayed 62 minutes by rain. ... OF Bryce Harper (left knee bursitis) continued his rehab assignment, joining Double-A Harrisburg for a game at Bowie, Md. Johnson said the goal is for Harper to play again for Harrisburg on Saturday and rejoin the Nationals Monday. ... Washington's Ross Detwiler (2-6, 4.18) opposes the Mets' Matt Harvey (7-1, 2.05) Friday in New York.
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