Webb again untouchable as Diamondbacks blank NationalsAug 12, 2007 - 4:36 AM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- The Washington Nationals became Brandon Webb's latest victims.
Webb tossed a five-hitter to run his streak of scoreless innings to 33 and rookie Justin Upton delivered an RBI triple as the red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks posted a 1-0 victory over the Nationals on Saturday.
It was the second straight shutout by Webb (12-8), who limited Washington to four singles and a double in breaking his own franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings. On Sunday, the 28-year-old righthander pitched a seven-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I was shooting to break my own streak," said Webb, who set the club mark last season with 30 scoreless frames from May 20-June 5. "Every pitcher wants to go out there and throw zeros. That is what I'm going to try and do. I think (Orel Hershiser's all-time record) streak is like Cal Ripken territory. That might be one of the most difficult records to reach."
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, Webb has not allowed a run since July 20, when he yielded two in the sixth inning of a 6-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
"My last two games, I have been able to locate my fastball as good as I have all year," Webb said. "That is the only difference. I also have been able to locate my sinker and get ahead. It was another good day. I had a great fastball, changeup and unbelievable defense behind me."
Washington staged its only threat against Webb in the first inning as Felipe Lopez led off the game with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice and stole third. But Webb recorded his second strikeout of the inning against Austin Kearns to keep the Nationals off the scoreboard.
Webb did not allow another hit until Ryan Church delivered a two-out double in the fourth. He scattered three singles the rest of the way, finishing with 10 strikeouts and only one walk.
"You know he is going to throw a sinker," Washington's Brian Schneider said. "It's there, but you blink and it's gone. He throws mostly fastballs, but he mixes in the off-speed pitches, and if he throws them for strikes, you are going to be in trouble."
Webb, who finished with 119 pitches thrown, had hoped to return to the mound for the ninth, even though he already has tossed 106 pitches.
"I wanted to go out and finish the game, especially 1-0," he said. "I didn't want anybody to go out there and lose my game. I was feeling fairly tired, but when you get in the ninth inning, it all comes back. I was feeling twice as good in the ninth as I did in the eighth."
The Diamondbacks gave Webb all the support he needed in the fourth inning. Eric Byrnes singled with one out and stole second after Conor Jackson flied out before Upton tripled to deep center field for a 1-0 advantage.
"I got into a hitter's count and I knew with a base open, I had to bear down because (Nationals starter John Lannan) didn't have to throw a strike. But he did," Upton said. "With a man on second, I wanted to drive something in the gap and was able to."
Of the 19-year-old Upton's nine hits since being recalled from Class AA Mobile on August 2, seven have been for extra bases.
"Every time he's up there, you feel that something good is going to happen," Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "He has a presence about him that makes you feel that. He has power to all fields, and once he gets up to speed on the bases, he is fast to watch."
Lannan (1-1) was impressive in his fourth career start, allowing just one run and four hits in seven innings. The 22-year-old lefthander, who walked two and struck out one, has given up only four runs in 19 2/3 innings over his last three outings.
"The one pitch to Justin was up, and that was one mistake that really hurt me," Lannan said. "After that, I wanted to keep the team in the ballgame. (Webb) is pitching really well, so I just tried to do my best."
"I'm very proud of the way he pitched," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "For that kid, just a couple of months removed from A ball, to give up just the one run in seven innings, it was a remarkable performance by that kid."
Arizona (67-51) managed just four hits in winning for the 17th time in 20 games. The victory extended the Diamondbacks' lead in the National League West Division to four games over the second-place San Diego Padres (62-54).
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
WASHINGTON 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
ARIZONA 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 x 1 4 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: WAS - JOHN LANNAN, JON RAUCH (8TH) AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER
ARI - BRANDON WEBB AND CHRIS SNYDER
HOME RUNS: WAS - NONE
ARI - NONE
Aug 11 10:17 PM
AT ARIZONA - SCORING UPDATE
TRIPLE BY JUSTIN UPTON SCORED ERIC BYRNES.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J UPTON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 0
ARIZONA 1 BOTTOM, 4TH
DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: M REYNOLDS (.261, 0-FOR-1)
Nationals vs. DiamondbacksAug 11 9:08 PM
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