WASHINGTON -- Maybe there is something to this no-batting-practice thing after all.
For the second straight day, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson cancelled batting practice. And once again, the D-backs beat the Nationals, this time by a 4-2 margin in front of 17,881 at Nationals Park.
The two victories came on the heels of a six-game losing streak that had Gibson willing to try anything -- even skipping BP -- to turn the tide.
"No BP tomorrow," Gibson said following the victory. "Absolutely not."
It is a move his players endorsed.
"Probably the rest of the season," said catcher Miguel Montero. "No, I don't know. We've got to keep the superstition going. This is a game with a lot of superstition, and you've got to keep going."
The D-backs did not need much offense with the way Daniel Hudson threw the ball. The right-hander retired 13 straight batters between a third-inning single by Ian Desmond and Laynce Nix double in the seventh, and he came within one out of his first shutout as a professional.
After retiring the first two batters in the ninth with ease, Hudson gave up a first-pitch home run to Nix. Jonny Gomes followed with a homer to left, again on the first pitch, and Gibson removed Hudson in favor of closer J.J. Putz after a lengthy meeting on the mound.
"I don't know if he got tired, or what," Gomes said. "That pitch I hit was probably the only pitch I had to drive all night. Cutter, slider, change, both sides of the plate, power -- I tried to work him, but he was making pitches when he had to."
"Absolutely," Hudson said, when asked if he was thinking about the shutout. "Just two stupid pitches at the end, but at least we won the game, so that's what's important right now."
Putz retired Wilson Ramos on two pitches to end the game and record his 32nd save.
"When you start to get tired like that, you can leave pitches where you don't want them, and we'd seen enough, he'd done his job," Gibson said of Hudson. "He did a great job. I know he wanted to finish it out, but he gave up back-to-back home runs and J.J.'s done a great job in that role, so it was a no brainer, we were going to go to him."
Hudson (13-9) scattered nine hits and did not walk anyone while fanning six in a performance that caught Montero off-guard, given the way Hudson warmed up.
"He was pretty good, man, and I was surprised," Montero said. "I was a little surprised, because in the bullpen, he looked like he had a little bit of a control problem. He got into the game and he was painting those corners, man. It was a shame he couldn't get the shutout."
The D-backs got on the board in the fourth. Justin Upton singled with one out and came around to score when Gomes could not pick up Chris Young's double cleanly in left field.
Young scored later in the inning on a single by Lyle Overbay as the D-backs grabbed a 2-0 lead. Arizona tacked on what proved to be decisive runs in the eighth, when Montero lined a bases-loaded two-run single to right off Nationals reliever Henry Rodriguez.
"I know that kid's got a pretty good fastball, so I was trying to catch up on the fastball, and he threw me a changeup and I got a little bit in front," Montero said before breaking out in a big grin. "But it was a beautiful hit, man, what can I say?"
Newly acquired shortstop John McDonald made his presence felt in the bottom of the eighth.
With runners on second and third, McDonald ranged far to his left to nab a Ryan Zimmerman grounder, did a 360 and threw to first in time to retire the side and likely save a pair of runs.
"That was big," Hudson said. "If that goes through and those two runs score, I probably don't come out for the ninth with a chance to finish it, so it's a great play by him."
"It was a heck of a play," Montero said. "I never thought he even had a chance, and then I saw him over there and I was like, 'Wow.' I heard he can pick it. He showed me today, it was a really nice play."