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Ian Desmond, Joe Ross lift Nationals to 8-3 win over Diamondbacks

Washington Nationals Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper are

Washington Nationals Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper are congratulated by teammates after they scored in the fifth inning of a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. Credit: AP / Jacquelyn Martin

WASHINGTON - Ian Desmond broke out of a prolonged slump with a home run and Bryce Harper reached base five times to help the Washington Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-3 on Wednesday.

Desmond's 12th homer of the season ended a 2-for-35 skid. His double to left leading off the fourth inning gave him more extra bases hits than he had produced in his previous nine games. He advanced to third on Wilson Ramos' single and scored on a fielder's choice by Michael Taylor.

Joe Ross (3-3) pitched strong solid innings just giving up a solo homer to Jarrod Saltamacchia in the fifth inning. The rookie pitcher gave up five hits and struck out seven.

The victory enabled the struggling Nats, who had lost four of their past five games, to split the series and move within 1-1/2 games of the idle front-running New York Mets in the NL East.

Jeremy Hellickson (7-8) gave up four runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.

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