“Sometimes it’ll cut a little bit and the ball sinks late so that’s good,” catcher Jhonatan Solano said. “Sometimes he doesn’t throw it on purpose. We took advantage.”
Ohlendorf tossed only 89 pitches, pairing 92 to 93 mph fastballs with a biting slider. He allowed only two hits, the final one coming in his last and only challenging inning. Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez tripled with two outs to plate a run and trim the deficit to 4-1. Up next stepped another slugger, Troy Tulowitzki. He smashed to two balls — a slider and then a change-up — deep, but foul, into the stands. Ohlendorf then fired a 93 mph fastball down the middle and Tulowitzki hit it hard to center but into the glove of Denard Span
The Nationals manufactured enough offense to support Ohlendorf. They worked left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa enough to chase him after 5 1
3 innings and 96 pitches. Desmond gave Ohlendorf a 1-0 lead in the fourth with an RBI single, which extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games.
The Nationals then delivered a crucial inning of breathing room in the sixth. With Jeff Kobernus on first after a one-out walk, Ryan Zimmerman lifted a ball to the wall in deep left-center that fell in as Dexter Fowler and Gonzalez collided.
Desmond delivered a two-out, two-run single against reliever Adam Ottavino to push the lead to 4-0. Adam LaRoche was intentionally walked and a wild pitch moved Zimmerman and LaRoche into scoring position. Desmond then lined a 90 mph fastball in center field, capping a three RBI night.
The Nationals’ have struggled offensively for various reasons, but not because of Desmond. He is hitting .358 (19 for 53) during his hitting streak. He hasn’t made an error in 45 games, the longest active streak among shortstops in the majors. After defensive miscues to start the season, Desmond hasn’t made one since committing his seventh on April 21.
After Rafael Soriano tossed a scoreless ninth inning, the Nationals high-fived each other on the field and retreated happily to the clubhouse. But none was more important to this heartening moment than the pitcher flown in from Syracuse the day before.
“I was really excited about this start,” Ohlendorf said. “I’m glad it went well.”