WASHINGTON — Jean Segura’s bid to break the Arizona Diamondbacks’ record for most hits in a season was slowed by a cramp.
The second baseman left Arizona’s 5-3 loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday in the seventh inning, leaving him at 201 hits after getting a single in the third.
His hit total is the second-highest by a player for a franchise that first played in 1998. Luis Gonzalez finished the following season with 206 hits.
Segura said he was bothered by a cramp in his rib area on a drizzly day.
“Maybe the weather, maybe (being) that late in the year,” Segura said. “I think it’s going to be OK.”
He now has three games at home against the San Diego Padres to try to catch — or surpass — Gonzalez. Segura’s previous career best was 173 hits, as an NL All-Star for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2013.
“He didn’t feel like it was anything of a pull,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said. “He just felt like he had kind of a cramp under his ribs. The trainers feel like he’s OK, but we’ll see tomorrow. You never know until you wake up tomorrow. But we’re hoping he’s OK so he can continue his quest for Gonzo’s record.”
The Diamondbacks, last in the NL West and with nothing to play for other than individual statistics, had an even odder injury issue Thursday: Right fielder Yasmany Tomas was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of a stiff neck.
“Same kind of thing we’ve dealt with kind of all year on the road,” Hale explained. “Sometimes the hotel pillows get him.”
Wilmer Difo hit his first major league homer, and Pedro Severino his second, helping the injury-depleted NL East champion Nationals move closer to clinching home-field advantage in the Division Series.
Second baseman Difo and catcher Severino, both rookies, were in the lineup instead of Daniel Murphy (last started 12 days ago) and Wilson Ramos (out for the season), respectively.
Nationals starter Joe Ross, working his way back from a stay on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, allowed one run in four innings, throwing 90 pitches. Washington wants to stretch him out to be able to start at some point in the playoffs.
Reliever Reynaldo Lopez (5-3) was credited with the win. He pitched 3 2/3 innings, letting up Socrates Brito’s two-run homer in the ninth before being lifted.
Mark Melancon got the last two outs for his 45th save.
RAY WRAPS UP
Arizona RHP Robbie Ray (8-15) allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings, including solo shots by Severino in the third and Difo in the fifth, along with Michael A. Taylor’s two-run single in the fourth. “Not the way you want to finish a year,” Ray said, “but I feel like I made some pretty big strides this year with my breaking ball and I threw some really good changeups today, too.”
Nationals: 2B Murphy (glute muscle) and RF Bryce Harper (left thumb) sat out again. Manager Dusty Baker said he expects to get Murphy back in the starting lineup for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers on Oct. 7. Murphy last began a game on Sept. 17.
Harper, meanwhile, was out of the lineup for a fourth consecutive day, but mainly as a precaution on a wet day. “I’m still a little afraid. If he hits the ball solid, it’s not going to hurt. But if he gets rattled or hits one on the end or gets jammed on one, it’s going to send electric shocks through his body,” Baker said.
Diamondbacks: Open a season-closing, three-game home series against the San Diego Padres, with RHP Braden Shipley (4-5, 5.26 ERA) starting for Arizona on Friday. The Diamondbacks and Padres are two of the four worst teams in the NL.
Nationals: Their final regular-season series begins Friday against the visiting Miami Marlins. RHP A.J. Cole (1-2, 5.09) is slated to pitch for Washington, but he is waiting to hear the outcome of his appeal of a five-game suspension for throwing at a batter.