The Washington Nationals took three-straight from the Miami Marlins in their season-opening series in Nationals Park, but on a cold couple of days in the nation's capital neither teams' offense was able to produce much outside of a few home runs by the likes of Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Justin Ruggiano. Nats' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters after Thursday afternoon's win over Miami that he thought the trip to Cincinnati to face the Reds in Great American Ballpark might be just what the team needed to get the bats going. "Hopefully we get a little warmer weather going in there," the 70-year-old veteran said.
For an early season series, the matchup between the defending NL East and Central champions was highly-anticipated, but as Johnson has often said, his team thinks of every single game the same way. "We look at every game as a big game," the Nats' skipper said, "That's the way we look at it and I know everybody likes to hit in that ballpark, so it should be fun." It was fun for the Reds' hitters, who collected six home runs, one a grand slam, and 14 runs total on a big night in Ohio. Not so much fun for the Nationals, however, as they were shut out for the first time four games into the 2013 campaign.
Here's what happened:
The Reds' 26-year-old, '07 1st Round pick, Homer Bailey, needed 13 pitches to retire the Nationals in order in the top of the first. Dan Haren, the 32-year-old right-hander who signed with Washington this winter, made his regular season debut for the Nats in the bottom of the frame, surrendering at two-out single by Joey Votto before striking Brandon Phillips out with a 1-2 fastball that ended a 15-pitch inning. The warmer weather in Ohio didn't help the Nationals in the second either, as Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond went down in order in a 14-pitch inning that had Bailey at 27 pitches total after two scoreless.
A diving 2-2 cutter from Dan Haren got Jay Bruce swinging for the first out of the Reds' second, but a first-pitch fastball to Todd Frazier landed in the upper deck in left as Cincinnati took an early 1-0 lead on Bruce's blast. One pitch later it was 2-0 after Zack Cozart hit the second-straight fastball out of the park, or almost out at least, since it appeared a fan reached over the wall. No review. Eh, why bother, right?. 2-0 Reds after a 22-pitch inning by Haren. 37 overall for the Nats' right-hander.
Danny Espinosa was 0 for 11 in the first three games of the season, but he shaved his Werth-esque beard before today's game and collected the Nationals' first hit of the night when he singled to right to start the top of the third. Kurt Suzuki K'd swinging and Dan Haren K'd bunting for the first two outs of the inning and the third and fourth Ks of the night for Homer Bailey. Dernard Span worked the count full after starting down 0-2 and walked with two down to get Jayson Werth to the plate, but Joey Votto recovered after bobbling a grounder hit his way and tossed to the covering pitcher in time to end the Nats' third.
Joey Votto was 2 for 2 tonight after singling to center to start the home-half of the third. The Reds' outfielder misread a line drive to right he thought Jayson Werth would catch, but the Nats' right fielder bounced a throw to second when he could have had an out. Instead there were two runners on for Jay Bruce, who flew to Bryce Harper in left for out no.1. Todd Frazier, who homered in his first at bat, K'd swinging at a 2-2 cutter in the next at bat, but Zack Cozart was 2 for 2 tonight after homering again in his second at bat, and it was 5-0 Reds after three in Cincinnati. The 23-pitch inning had Haren at 60 pitches after 3.0.
Homer Bailey walked Ryan Zimmerman with one down in the fourth, but got Adam LaRoche and Ian Desmond looking to end an 18-pitch frame at 70 pitches overall. Reds' center field Shin-Soo Choo hit what appeared to be the fourth home run off Dan Haren with one down in the home fourth. Though a fan appeared to reach over the wall (yes, again), when the umpires emerged from the dugout, crew chief Tim McLelland signal that it would count. The fourth home run hit off Haren made it 6-0 Reds after four. Choo's second of 2013. Joey Votto was 3 for 3 tonight after lining Dan Haren's 75th pitch to right for a two-out single, but he was stranded at first at the end of the fourth. An 18-pitch inning had Haren up to 78.
Haren's Nationals debut: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 4 HRs, 78 P, 52 S, 2/2 GO/FO
Roger Bernadina walked in a pinch hit appearance in place of Haren in the top of the fifth. A Denard Span single in the next at bat put two on for Jayson Werth, whose fly to center was caught on the track by Shin-Soo Choo. 6-0 Reds after four and a half. Todd Frazier was 2 for 3 tonight after singling with one down in the bottom of the fifth, and he stole second, took third on a throwing error by Kurt Suzuki and scored on a sac fly by Zack Cozart. 7-0 Reds.
Homer Bailey had six scoreless on 97 pitches after setting Bryce Harper (0 for 3), Ryan Zimmerman (0 for 2 BB, K) and Adam LaRoche (0 for 3) down in order in an 11-pitch top of the sixth. Ian Desmond's second error of the season put debuting 25-year-old outfielder Derrick Robinson on to start the Reds' half of the inning, but a swinging K from Shin-Soo Choo and a double play grounder off Chris Heisey's bat ended Zach Dukes' second scoreless inning of relief work vs the Reds. Still 7-0 Cincinnati after six.
Danny Espinosa hit a ground rule double to center off Reds' lefty Manny Parra with one down in the seventh, but he was doubled up when Brandon Phillips made a diving play to rob Kurt Suzuki of a hit before tossing it to second for the inning-ending DP. 7-0 after Cincinnati after six and a half. 8-0 Reds after Brandon Phillips singled to left and scored from first on a Jay Bryce double off the left-center wall. Todd Frazier followed with his second home run tonight and Cincinnati's fifth. The two-run home run made it 10-0 Reds. Singles by the Reds' catcher Devin Mesoraco and reliever Manny Parra ended Zach Dukes' night, and his replacement, Henry Rodriguez, walked Choo to load the bases before surrendering a pinch hit grand slam by Xavier Paul. 14-0 on the Reds' 6th HR.
Steve Lombardozzi doubled and Denard Span walked to put two on for Bryce Harper with one out in the Nationals' eighth, but the Nats' center field flew to the Reds' center fielder for out no.2 and Ryan Zimmerman grounded to second to end the top of the frame. Jay Bruce doubled to left off Ryan Mattheus in the Reds' eighth and scored on a Todd Frazier single to make it 15-0 Cincinnati on the 19th hit of the night by the home team. Reds' right-hander J.J. Hoover came on in the ninth, and gave up a one-out double by Ian Desmond, but two outs later he stranded the runner at second and ended the game.
Nationals drop this one, 15-0.
Nationals now 3-1