PHOENIX (AP) — Addison Reed left a pitch out over the middle to Danny Espinosa, then did the same to Kevin Frandsen three batters later.
Two pitches, two homers, one disappointing loss for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Espinosa hit Reed’s second pitch of the ninth inning over the wall in right and Frandsen hit a pinch-hit solo shot, helping the Washington Nationals rally to beat the Diamondbacks 6-5 on Monday night in Matt Williams’ return to the desert.
“I just have to keep the ball down and throw the ball where I am trying to throw it,” Reed said. “Location is everything in pitching and right now I am leaving it over the middle of the plate.”
Williams was a fixture in Arizona before becoming Washington’s manager this offseason.
His new team scored four runs early, shut down for four innings, and tied it when Espinosa hit the second pitch of the ninth by Reed (1-3) just over the wall in right.
Frandsen put the Nationals up by lining his second career pinch-hit homer to left and Rafael Soriano stranded a runner at second in the ninth for his eighth save.
Tyler Clippard (3-2) pitched a scoreless inning, Ian Desmond hit a two-run homer and Tyler Moore added a solo shot for Washington, which followed a three-game sweep by Oakland with its 11th comeback victory.
“We needed that win,” Espinosa said. “Coming off the series we just had, we really needed this. It’s a good win.”
The Diamondbacks thought they had it.
Arizona had 13 hits — three by Aaron Hill — and went up 5-4 when A.J. Pollock hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning.
The bullpen did its job for three innings until it got to the ninth, where Reed struggled for his second blown save and Arizona’s first loss when leading after eight innings (11-1).
“There is not controversy here. He is our closer,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “He has done a (heck of a) job for us. Let’s not forget that. It didn’t work out tonight.”
Williams played for Arizona from 1996-2003 and was on the coaching staff from 2010-13 before getting his first shot at managing. He received a nice ovation when he was recognized and a video tribute played on the video board after the first inning.
Williams’ current team limped into the desert for a three-game series against his old one.
The Nationals have lost five of their eight position players from opening day to the disabled list, the latest first baseman Adam LaRoche, who went out Sunday with a strained right quad.
The Diamondbacks have been headed in the opposite direction since getting off to the worst start in franchise history. Ten games under .500 after 18 games, Arizona has started to show signs of life, winning three straight series during a 6-3 road trip that ended Sunday.
Both teams knocked the ball around the ballpark most of the night.
Moore, LaRoche’s replacement, went 0-for-3 after being called up Sunday, but had a quick impact in Monday’s game, hitting a solo homer to left off Josh Collmenter in the second inning to put Washington up 2-0.
Collmenter hit his first career double in the third inning and scored on Martin Prado’s ground-rule double to end Jordan Zimmermann’s scoreless streak at 12 innings. Paul Goldschmidt followed with another run-scoring double and Miguel Montero drove him in with a single to put Arizona up 3-2.
The lead didn’t last long; Desmond lined a two-run homer to left in the fourth to put Washington back up 4-3.
Collmenter allowed four runs on four hits in five innings.
Pollock put Arizona on top again in the sixth inning, dropping a two-run homer onto the pool deck in right.
Zimmermann allowed five runs on 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Randall Delgado, Evan Marshall and Brad Ziegler each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Arizona, but Reed gave up two homers that cleared by a few feet each in the ninth to give Williams bragging rights over his former team for at least one night.
“It’s a good win for us,” Williams said. “We needed that.”
NOTES: Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Frandsen’s other pinch-hit homer was June 22, 2013, against the Mets… Ziegler stretched his scoreless streak to 18 1-3 innings with a perfect eighth. … Arizona RHP Bronson Arroyo, who will start the second game against Washington on Tuesday, is 2-0 and has not allowed an earned run in 14 1-3 innings his past two starts. He will face Stephen Strasburg, who is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA his past four starts.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.