The Reds erupted for 11 hits including a pair of solo homers to knock off the NL East leading Washington Nationals, 5-2, on Friday at Great American Ballpark.
Anthony DeSclafani (3-4) turned in another quality start for the Reds as he allowed two runs over six innings of work. Meanwhile Stephen Strasburg only stuck around for 16 pitches before leaving the game with neck discomfort.
Before his exit, Joey Votto made sure to get the Reds (20-27) on the board against the All-Star pitcher with a first inning home run that made it 1-0. He pitched to one hitter in the second inning when he walked Brayan Pena after having him in an 0-2 count to start the at bat. Taylor Jordan (0-1) and provided the Nationals (28-20) with 4.2 innings of relief.
Washington scratched its first run of the game against DeSclafani when Wilson Ramos doubled to begin the fifth inning. The next two hits in the inning were in no man’s land between the pitcher and third. Jordan executed a perfect sacrifice bunt and ended up reaching as Todd Frazier and DeSclafani waited to see if the ball would roll foul. Ian Desmond followed two batters later with a lightly hit ground ball that Frazier couldn’t get to in time allowing Michael Taylor to score and tie the game. The Nationals took the lead in the sixth when Ramos singled home Ryan Zimmerman, who was able to avoid a diving tag attempt by Pena.
The Reds were able to disrupt Jordan’s rhythm when Marlon Byrd walked and then Skip Schumaker doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning. Pinch-hitter Brandon Phillips, still being used off the bench as he recovers from a lingering toe injury, was able to score Byrd on a sac fly to tie the game. Billy Hamilton followed with a bloop single to right center to bring home Schumaker and give the Reds the lead. Aaron Barrett came on in relief of Jordan with two outs in the inning and gave up and RBI single to Zack Cozart after Hamilton put himself in scoring position with his 19th stolen base of the season.
Jumbo Diaz came on in relief of DeSclafani in the seventh and struck out two of the three hitters he faced, but a wild pitch allowed Denard Span to get into scoring position for Bryce Harper. Tony Cingrani came on to face the lefty and it was clear that his control may be a problem when he hit the former Rookie of the Year. He was able to escape the jam by getting Zimmerman to line out to Votto. Frazier added and insurance run in the seventh when he homered off Blake Treinen to make it 5-2.
Cingrani came back out in the eighth and walked the bases loaded with two outs. J.J. Hoover came on a got a big strikeout of Desmond to end the threat. Aroldis Chapman struck out two of the four hitters he faced en route to his eighth save of the season.
The two teams will hook up again for a mid-day showdown with the first pitch set for 4:10 p.m. Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 4.53 ERA) is set to take on Raisel Iglesias (1-1, 4.26 ERA). Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen have returned to the rotation after Jason Marquis was moved to the bullpen and while Johnny Cueto continues to work his way back from an elbow injury. Iglesias appeared in place of Cueto last Sunday against the Indians and only lasted three innings after throwing 84 pitches.