Washington, DC – Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson moved 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper up from No. 7 in the batting order to No. 3 prior to Thursday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Harper slapped a go-ahead opposite field RBI double in the sixth inning, lifting the Nationals to a 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks in the rubber match of a three-game set.
The youngest player in the major leagues has been red-hot since making his much anticipated debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. Harper is 6-for-16 (.375) with four doubles, three RBI and two runs scored through five games.
Ross Detwiler (3-1) allowed a run on three hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings for the Nationals, who have won two straight on the heels of a five- game skid.
Tyler Clippard had a 1-2-3 eighth frame, while Henry Rodriguez registered his sixth save of the year after retiring the side in order in the ninth.
Ian Kennedy (3-1) was the hard-luck loser -- his first loss in 13 starts -- after giving up two runs on four hits and a walk in seven innings for Arizona, which has dropped two in a row following a three-game winning streak.
"It was tough out there tonight," said Kennedy. "Detwiler was really good over there and their bullpen did a good job."
After Aaron Hill's RBI double tied the contest at 1-1 in the top of the sixth inning, Washington regained its advantage in the bottom half of the frame.
Ian Desmond, Wednesday's hero who smacked a game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning, led off the frame with a double and moved to third following Steve Lombardozzi's sacrifice bunt.
"I just try to get a pitch I can drive every at-bat," said Harper. "Try to stay as calm as I can no matter what the count is and hope for a pitch up in the zone that I can drive."
Harper stepped up next and laced a slicing double into the left-field corner to plate Desmond, making it 2-1.
Earlier, Rick Ankiel's RBI groundout in the second scored Jayson Werth, who reached on a leadoff double, giving Washington an early 1-0 lead.
Arizona was 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left four men on base...Desmond's double was his seventh of the season...Ankiel recorded his first stolen base of the year.