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Arroyo's bat and arm shuts down Nationals

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Over the last few weeks, Diamondbacks’ right-hander Bronson Arroyo has lived up to his half of the bargain.

Now may be the time where the rest of the rotation can feed off of Arroyo’s recent success.

In defeating the Washington Nationals 3-1 before 19,025 Tuesday night in Chase Field, Arroyo turned in his fourth straight quality start and served notice he is ready to pick up the baton from a beleaguered starting rotation.

In desperate need of production and leadership, Arroyo’s emergence could not come at a better time for the staff. Despite missing most of spring training and a set-back for treatment on a budging desk in his back, Arroyo appears to be settling into a routine both valuable and constructive.

In going the distance against Washington, Arroyo turned in his 16th career complete game. Now, he possesses a sparkling 3-0 record with a 0.39 ERA in his last three starts.

“It’s always great to turn in that complete game,” he said. “Before the game, I spoke with (pitching coach Mike) Harkey and he said our closer and set-up would be pretty much shut down.”

Arroyo responded with a110 pitch effort and that represented his highest of the season. Previously, Arroyo threw 99 pitches in a game against the Cubs in 5.1 innings on April 21.

This time, he used all four quadrants of the plate and mixed pitches.

“At the start, my sinker was not working too well so I went to the curve,” Arroyo added. “(Washington) put out predominately a right-handed line-up and that made going after them a little easier.”

As well, Arroyo became only the second pitcher to reach Nationals’ starter Stephen Strasburg for two hits in a game. That was Arroyo’s eighth multi-hit encounter of his career and only Tim Hudson, then pitching for Atlanta, reached Strasburg for two hits in one game.

If Arroyo was dominating with his arm, his bat became influential in the eventual outcome.

After the D-backs tied the game at 1-1 on a double from Paul Goldschmidt and single off the bat of Miguel Montero in the fourth, Arroyo lead off the fifth with a single to right. After Gerardo Parra field to right, Martin Prado laced a single to center and Goldschmidt jumped on a hanging curve for two-run double to left center field. That was all Arroyo needed and the 37-year-old native of Key West, Fla. did the rest.

“(Arroyo) was unbelievable and mixed his pitches well,” said Goldschmidt. “We needed this win at home and, yes, it was fun. As a hitter, it’s not fun to face him and we saw him from that side the last few years.”

The added benefit of Arroyo’s complete game was relief for the bullpen. On Tuesday night, manager Kirk Gibson did not have to use set-up reliever Brad Ziegler, who leads the National League in appearances. As well, there was no Addison Reed and the leftover residue from his Monday night implosion.

Because the Diamondbacks are off Thursday, the bullpen gets two of three days off. Gibson, his staff and fans can only hope the rest will help an overworked bullpen.

CURTIN CALL

The series with Washington closes Wednesday afternoon at 12:40 p.m.

Brandon McCarthy (1-6, 5.66 ERA) goes for Arizona and right-hander Doug Fister (0-1, 10.38) for the Nats. Fister is coming off an injury-plagued spring training and making only his second start of the season. This will be Fister’s third career start against the National League West and sports a lifetime mark of 1-1 and 0.60 ERA.

The D-backs and Nationals will hook again later this season. They engage in a four game series from Aug. 18-21 at Nationals Park in the nation’s capital.

MORE HONORS

Reno infielder Nick Evans was named the Pacific Coast League player-of-the week for the period May 5-11. Evans hit .483 with seven extra base hits and a minor league -bet 15 RBIs in seven games.

Evans is a graduate of St. Mary’s Prep in Phoenix, born in Glendale and currently lives in Phoenix.

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