Washington Nationals Blow Late Lead, But Beat Cincinnati Reds 7-6 In Extras; Nats Hit 5 HRs In GABP

Joe Robbins

The Washington Nationals got a strong start from Ross Detwiler, but the bullpen couldn't hold it. Rafael Soriano's blown save in the 9th sent it to extras where Ian Desmond's solo home run finally broke things open in the 11th. The Nats fight off the Reds and claim a 7-5 win in game two of three in GABP.

Washington Nationals' left-hander Ross Detwiler has been a project of Davey Johnson's since the veteran manager took over on the bench in the nation's capital in the summer of 2011 and put the '07 1st Round pick back into the rotation. Before that he'd bounced back and forth between starting and relieving under the previous regime. Johnson chose Detwiler as part of the rotation at the end of Spring Training in 2012 as well, and the lefty eventually fought off all challengers for the spot and ended the season with a Game 4 start in the NLDS with St. Louis in which his effort helped lead the Nationals to a season-extending win.

"Det really started learning how to pitch maybe the last three outings," Johnson told reporters this Spring, "I mean, he has such a good fastball, and he's stubborn as a mule, but he could get guys out with just his fastball. I mean, a 93-4 mph sinker, well-located, and he pitched in good, but he found out that if he used some of his other pitches, his curve ball and his breaking ball, it would be a little easier."

The 27-year-old, 6'5'' Detwiler finished his 2013 season with a (10-8) record, a 3.40 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 52 walks (2.85 BB/9) and 105 Ks (5.75 K/9) in 33 games, 27 starts and 164.1 IP over which he was worth a career-best +1.6 fWAR. The St. Louis, Missouri-born left-hander's 2013 season started with a 93 mph fastball outside to Cincinnati Reds' leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo, who hit a one-hop grounder to second for the first out of the bottom of the first. After a grounder back to the mound from Chris Heisey, Detwiler knocked Joey Votto down with a 2-2 fastball inside for which the Reds' first baseman was gifted a base on what was ruled a two-out HBP, but a fly to right by Brandon Phillips ended the first inning three pitches later. 0-0 in Cincinnati and a 14-pitch first for the Nats' starter.

Detwiler K'd swinging with the bases loaded to end the top of the second after Reds' starter Mike Leake gave up a one-out single by Chad Tracy, a two-out double by Danny Espinosa and an intentional walk to Wilson Ramos. Reds' right fielder Jay Bruce jumped on a first-pitch fastball from the Nats' lefty, lining to right to start the bottom of the second. Todd Frazier worked the count full in a seven-pitch at bat that ended with a fly to left. Another fly to left from Zack Cozart and a groundout to short by Devin Mesoraco followed as Detwiler stranded Bruce at first at the end of a 14-pitch frame. 27 total through two.

Jayson Werth hit a one-out double to right off Leake on a 1-1 changeup in the top of third, then one pitch later Bryce Harper made it a 2-0 game with a two-run home run into the right field stands. Harper's third in five games and the 25th of the 20-year-old outfielder's career. Mike Leake and Shin-Soo Choo hit back-to-back singles off Ross Detwiler in the home-half of the third. Chris Heisey grounded into a force at second, but beat Danny Espinosa's throw to first to avoid a double play. Joey Votto stepped in with runners on first and third with one out and grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3... on which it appeared Chad Tracy's foot was off the bag. The nine-pitch inning had Detwiler at 36 overall.

MIke Leake's own nine pitch inning had him up to 58 total, but down 2-0 after three and a half. Ross Detwiler got a weak groundout to short by Brandon Phillips, but Ian Desmond threw one into the first base dugout, putting a runner on second with one down. E:6, Desmond's 3rd. One-out later, Todd Frazier's second double of the year bounced off the left field wall, driving Phillips in from second to cut the Nats' lead in half. 2-1 Nationals. After Zack Cozart flew out to center, the Nats' put Devin Mesoraco on to get to the opposing pitcher, and Detwiler struck Leake out to end a 23-pitch frame. 59 pitches total, 2-1 Nats.

Jayson Werth (2 for 3) singled to center on a 1-0 sinker from Leake with one down in the fifth, but two outs later the Nats' bearded slugger was stranded at first as the Reds' starter retired Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman to end a 12-pitch frame. 70 pitches for Leake. Ross Detwiler's 63rd pitch of the game hit Shin-Soo Choo's right arm, putting the leadoff runner on in the home-half of the frame. A single to lefty by Chris Heisey gave Joey Votto another at bat with runners on, but the Reds' 29-year-old, '02 2nd Round pick popped up to short left and a diving Bryce Harper for out no.1 of Cincinnati's fifth and Brandon Phillips hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3. 2-1 Nats after five. Detwiler up to 70 pitches after an 11-pitch frame.

Mike Leake struck Chad Tracy and Ian Desmond out on seven pitches for the first two outs of the sixth inning, but Danny Espinosa worked a seven pitch walk out of the Reds' right-hander and then appeared to steal second and take third on a throwing error, before he was called back because of catcher interference on the part of Wilson Ramos, whose bat hit catcher Devin Mesoraco on the follow-through. The Nats' backstop worked the count full in a seven-pitch AB, spitting on a 2-2 sinker down low and then homered to left-center on a hanging slider that made it a 4-1 Nats' lead. First HR of 2013 for the 25-year-old Ramos.

Ross Detwiler got two quick ground ball outs from the Reds in the bottom of the frame before Zack Cozart hit one through the left side of the infield for a two-out single, but Ryan Zimmerman cut off a slow roller toward short off Devin Mesoraco's bat and threw to first in time to end a 12-pitch frame with Detwiler at 82 pitches overall.

Reds' right-hander Sam LeCure took over on the mound in to the top of the seventh and gave up a 420-30 ft home run by Nats' slugger Jayson Werth, who hit a tape-measure blast to right-center which left him 3 for 4 today, and a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper singled on a chopper up the middle in the next at bat, but was doubled up on a grounder to second by Ryan Zimmerman. A pop to third by Chad Tracy ended the top of the frame.

Ross Detwiler's line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 82 P, 50 S, 10/6 GO/FO.

Tyler Clippard took over in the bottom of the seventh. A leaping Danny Espinosa pulled down out no.1 on a blooper heading to right off Derrick Robinson's bat. The Nats' right-handed reliever threw an 0-2 fastball by Shin-Shoo Choo for out no.2 and got Chris Heisey to chase a 1-2 change into the dirt for out no.3 and the right-hander's second K. 11-pitch frame for Clippard. .

After a 1-2-3 8th by the Reds' Alfredo Simon, Drew Storen took over on the mound, surrendering a double off the center field wall by Brandon Phillips and a single to left by Jay Bruce that put runners on the corners with one down and Todd Frazier due up. A single through second by the Reds' third baseman on a 2-1 sinker outside brought Phillips in to make it a 5-2 Nats' lead. Storen got up 0-2 on Zack Cozart and got help from Danny Espinosa on a broken-bat pop to short-center the Nationals' second baseman tracked down, but a Devin Mesoraco single shot through Ian Desmond's legs, allowing Bruce to score and a throwing error on Bryce Harper allowed both runners to move into scoring position. 2 Es on the play, two today for Desmond. 5-3 game. Pinch hitter Xavier Paul stepped in as the go-ahead run, but K'd swinging to end the eighth. Still 5-3 Nats.

Right-hander Jonathan Broxton threw a scoreless top of the ninth after which Rafael Soriano took the mound looking for the save. Shin-Soo Choo battled back from an 0-2 count and crushed a 2-2 slider inside for his third home run of the year, sending a shot out to right that got the Reds within one at 5-4. Soriano popped Chris Heisey up for out no.1. Joey Votto got ahead 3-0, took the 3-0 pitch, missed a 3-1 fastball, but tripled to left on the 3-1 offering, bouncing one off the left field wall to put the tying run on third with one down and a wild pitch allowed him to score and tie it at 5-5. Ryan Zimmerman made a diving play and a strong throw to get Brandon Phillips for out no.2 and Jay Bruce flew to center to end the bottom of the ninth.

Aroldis Chapman threw a 1-2 slider by Bryce Harper for the first out of the tenth. A high 98 mph 1-2 fastball got Ryan Zimmerman swinging for out no.2. And Chad Tracy makes three. 12-pitch inning by Chapman. Craig Stammen took the mound in the bottom of the frame and gave up a leadoff single by Todd Frazier on a grounder by third. A sac bunt by Zack Cozart moved Frazier to second. Devin Mesoraco flew out to deep center field, a few feet short of a walk-off, for out no.2. Pinch hitter Jack Hannahan K'd on a check-swing strike three. 5-5 after 10.

J.J. Hoover took over for the Reds in the eleventh. The right-hander hung a 2-2 curve up for Ian Desmond in the first at bat and the Nats' shortstop crushed it, sending a solo home run out to left and into the second deck for a 6-5 lead. Wilson Ramos' second home run of the game went out to straight-center one out later as the Nats' catcher crushed a full-count fastball from Hoover to give the Nationals a two-run lead. 7-5 after ten and a half. Craig Stammen got Choo swinging for the first out of the Reds' eleventh. Chris Heisey K'd swinging for out no.2. Joey Votto walked with two down and advanced to second on defensive indifference, then scored when Brandon Phillips lined to left-center with two down. 7-6 Nationals. Jay Bruce?... Foul-tip strike three. Ballgame.

Nationals win, 7-6 final.

Nationals now 4-1.

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