Reds 4-3 over Nationals on Todd Frazier's two-run 15th inning home run

Mitchell Layton

Danny Espinosa doubled and scored on a sac fly in the ninth against Cincinnati Reds' closer Aroldis Chapman to tie it up at 2-2, but the Washington Nationals lost in the 15th when Todd Frazier hit a two-run home run into the Red Porch seats. 4-3 final.

Will Strasburg Have His Revenge Top 5?:

5. Quick Recap: It was the second time Brayan Pena tried to do it, and it worked. With runners on first, Pena, and third, Todd Frazier, in the top of the fourth, the Cincinnati Reds' first baseman broke for second base on a 1-2 curveball in the dirt from Washington Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg to Reds' outfielder Chris Heisey that got away from Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos. When Ramos recovered the ball and threw to second without looking Frazier back, the Reds' infielder broke for home and scored easily for a 1-0 lead.

Stephen Strasburg hit Todd Frazier to put the first runner who scored on in the fourth and then hit Reds' shortstop Zack Cozart in the first at bat of the fifth. Cozart two came around to score on an RBI single to center by Skip Schumaker after a sac bunt and infield single moved him from first to third. 2-0 Reds.

It was still 2-0 Reds after six and a half, but the Nationals finally pushed on across against Mike Leake when Denard Span drove Nate McLouth in from second with a two-out single to right field. 2-1 after seven.

With the Nationals trailing by one after eight and a half, Danny Espinosa took a 99 mph 3-1 fastball to left field for a leadoff double. Back-to-back sac flies moved him to third and scored him with Kevin Frandsen flying to left for the first and Kevin Frandsen bringing Espinosa home to tie it at 2-2.

It was still tied at 2-2 after fourteen innings when Ross Detwiler gave up a leadoff single by Brandon Phillips and a one-out, two-run home run to left by Todd Frazier.

4-2 Reds final.

4. Strasburg vs the Reds: Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier about Stephen Strasburg's first inning issues in an interview last week.

"He comes out and tries to establish his fastball," Rizzo said, "and has thrown a lot of first-pitch fastballs and the other teams know who's pitching against them and they're attacking early."

They swing early, the General Manager explained, because they know if they fall behind they're in trouble.

In 26 PAs this season which ended on 0-2 pitches before tonight, 21 have ended in strikeouts. In at bats that started 0-2, hitters have put up a .068/.068/.085 line against Strasburg.

"The thought process against [Strasburg], as I talk to other teams around the league," Rizzo explained, "is that you've got to get him early. You've got to hit his fastball because if he gets ahead of you at two strikes, he's got two wipeout pitches to go to and it's really -- if you don't get him early in the count and early in an at bat he's very difficult to get."

Strasburg gave up seven hits and five runs in the first innings of the two starts he made before he took the mound last time out in Arizona. Against the D-Backs, the Nationals' right-hander threw a quick, seven-pitch, 1-2-3 first. He eventually gave up three runs in what ended up a 3-1 loss, but he managed to avoid another early blow-up.

Tonight in the nation's capital, Strasburg's first inning on the mound was a scoreless 15-pitch frame...

1st: Speedy Reds' leadoff man Billy Hamilton tried to bunt his way on, but popped out to a diving Wilson Ramos to the left of home plate instead. Skip Schumaker lined a 96 mph 2-2 fastball to center for a one-out double. Brandon Phillips K'd swinging at an 80 mph 1-2 curve for out no.2. Devin Mesoraco took a first-pitch curve for a called strike, and grounded out to third on a 96 mph 1-1 fastball. 15-pitch frame. 0-0 after a half.

2nd: Reds' 3B Todd Frazier flew out to right fiel--Jayson Werth dropped a fly to right. Two base E:9. Brayan Pena grounded weakly to third for the first out of the inning, but it was enough to move Frazier to third. Chris Heisey worked the count full with the runner on third but took a full-count curve for a called strike three. Zack Cozart went to a full count as well and grounded out to third to end an 18-pitch frame that left Strasburg at 33 pitches overall after two.

3rd: Mike Leake broke his bat and popped out to first on an 0-2 curve. Strasburg walked stolen base threat Billy Hamilton with one down. Skip Schumaker grounded weakly to second for out no.2. Brandon Phillips sent a low liner to first where Greg Dobbs scooped it up to end the top of the third after 14 pitches by Strasburg, who was up to 47 total after three scoreless.

4th: Reds' catcher Devin Mesoraco flew to right to start the fourth... Jayson Werth caught this one. Todd Frazier took a 95 mph 0-1 fastball on the back of his left arm. Brayan Pena singled to right in the next at bat, moving Frazier around to third with one down. Chris Heisey fell behind 1-2 to Strasburg, but spit on a 1-2 curve in the dirt. When it got away from Wilson Ramos, Pena broke for second and Frazier broke for home and scored when Ramos threw to Danny Espinosa at second base. 1-0 Reds. Heisey K'd swinging to end the frame on the next pitch. 1-0 after a 14-pitch frame by Strasburg. 61 pitches overall.

5th: Zack Cozart took the second HBP from Strasburg, same pitch, same result. Mike Leake bunted the runner over successfully with two strikes. Billy Hamilton reached safely on a weak grounder to short on which Cozart took third. Skip Schumaker's one-out single to center brought Cozart in to make it 2-0 Reds. Brandon Phillips popped out for the second out of the inning. Devin Mesoraco's groundout to short ended a 16-pitch inning. 77 total for Strasburg after five in D.C.

6th: Todd Frazier flew out to right on the first pitch of the Reds' sixth. Brayan Pena grounded out to second. Chris Heisey lined to left for a two-out double, taking a 95 mph 0-1 fastball for a ride. Zack Cozart popped out to short right, where Jayson Werth made a running, two-handed grab to end a nine-pitch inning for Strasburg. 86 overall after six.

7th: Strasburg threw an 0-2 fastball by Mike Leake up high for out no.1 and K no.4. Billy Hamilton hit a bloop single to center with one down. Hamilton stole second ahead of a strong throw by Wilson Ramos and took third on a groundout to second by Skip Schumaker, but got caught off third and run down for the final out of the inning.

• Stephen Strasburg's Line: 7.0 IP. 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 96 P, 64 S, 8/4 GO/FO.

3. Leake = Punk: Six picks after San Diego State University right-hander Stephen Strasburg went no.1 overall to the Washington Nationals in the 2009 Draft, the Cincinnati Reds selected another San Diego, California-born starter, Mike Leake, out of Arizona State. Strasburg and Leake were actually teammates as 11-year-olds, playing together on a traveling team and when Leake was asked about their shared history, he told USA Today writer Bob Nightengale that the Strasburg he knew was a completely different one than the one who was taken with the no.1 pick in the draft:

"'He was overweight, pouty and used to cry,'" Leake said. "'He did a complete 180... It's amazing how he changed.'"

Leake didn't stop there. He told the USA TODAY reporter he was disappointed a 2010 start in D.C. would not be head-to-head with his former teammate, and said he looked forward to a time when he would get to face off against Strasburg:

"'It would have been pretty cool to face him,'" Leake said. "'It would be a nice little competition. That's all right. I'm sure we'll eventually meet up.'"

Though Mr. Nightengale wrote that Leake said no more, he added that, "...in the back of his mind, Leake's friends and family say, he has no doubt he'll beat him."

Four years after those comments, Leake got his opportunity to face Strasburg tonight.

Washington Post writer Dave Sheinen reported in 2010 that Strasburg definitely saw the article.

The WaPost reporter talked to Strasburg's SDSU teammate and catcher Erik Castro, who told Mr. Sheinen, when asked what Strasburg's reaction to the USA TODAY story was, that the Nats' starter was looking forward to the opportunity to face Leake as well:

"'It really fired him up,' Castro said. 'I was the first person to talk to him about it. He got so fired up. He wants to pitch against [Leake]. He said some other things that aren't appropriate to put in a newspaper. But he definitely wants a piece of that kid.'"

Fourteen years after they played together as 11-12-year-olds, Strasburg and Leake faced off tonight in the nation's capital.

In eight starts against the Nationals before tonight's, Leake, now 26, was (3-3) with a 5.53 ERA, 15 walks and 26 Ks in 42 1/3 IP. In the nation's capital, the right-hander was (1-2) with a 5.24 ERA and a .275/.333/.396 line against.

Strasburg grounded into a force with runners on the corners and two down in the first at bat between the two San Diego natives in the second, and Leake popped out to first in the first AB in the third.

Both starters completed three scoreless to start the game, Leake on 45 pitches, Strasburg on 47.

Leake came up with a runner on first in his second at bat against Strasburg and he got a successful, two-strike sac bunt down. The runner he advanced into scoring position with the bunt eventually scored to make it 2-0 Reds after four and a half inning.

Both pitchers were at 77 pitches after five, with the Reds up 2-0.

Strasburg threw an 0-2 fastball up high by a swinging Leake in the first at bat of the seventh.

Denard Span drove in a run with an RBI single to right in the Nationals' seventh, ending Leake's night.

Mike Leake's Line: 6.2 IP, 7 H,

Advantage: Leake

2. "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.":

1. The Wrap-Up: Ian Desmond doubled to start the second, but was stranded at third three outs later.

Anthony Rendon singled with one down in the third, but was thrown out at second trying to stretch it into a two-base hit.

Stephen Strasburg and Denard Span hit back-to-back singles in the bottom of the fifth, but two line drive outs later, both runners were stranded.

The Nationals finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh when Nate McLouth singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a two-out single to right by Denard Span. 2-1 Reds.

Ryan Mattheus took over for Stephen Strasburg in the eighth and threw a scoreless nine-pitch inning.

Jonathan Broxton got the first two outs of the eighth, but Ian Desmond reached on a dribbler toward third and took second when Todd Frazier threw it away. Greg Dobbs stepped in with the tying run on second and grounded out to short.

Mattheus came back out for the ninth and gave up a one-out double to left by Chris Heisey, but stranded him at second.

Aroldis Chapman came on to close it out and gave up a leadoff double to left by Danny Espinosa. Kevin Frandsen flew out to left and deep enough for Espinosa to take third. Scott Hairston stepped in with the tying run on third and one down and hit a sac fly to left field to tie it up at 2-2.

Rafael Soriano took the mound in the top of the tenth and gave up a leadoff walk by Skip Schumaker, who stole second with Brandon Phillips up. Anthony Rendon made a slick play and strong throw on a sharp grounder from Phillips for out no.2. Devin Mesoraco flew to left to end the frame. Still 2-2.

Aroldis Chapman came back out for a scoreless 10th.

Drew Storen took over on the mound in the 11th and gave up a leadoff single to left by Todd Frazier. With Neftali Soto up, Storen bounced a breaking ball that Wilson Ramos picked, but when Ramos threw to first, Greg Dobbs tried to make a tag there while Frazier was sliding into second. Soto K'd swinging at a 1-2 slider for out no.1. Chris Heisey took a one-out walk. Zack Cozart lined out to third, and Anthony Rendon caught it and threw quickly to first for what may have been a double play. [Under Review]. No dice. 2 on, 2 out for Ryan Ludwick. A wild pitch moved both runners up, but Storen got Ludwick looking with a 2-2 change. Three outs.

Reds' lefty Manny Parra retired the first two batters he faced before Danny Espinosa reached on a swinging bunt/E. Kevin Frandsen's fly to left ended the frame.

Tyler Clippard threw a 2-2 change by Billy Hamilton low and away. Skip Schumaker grounded out to second. Brandon Phillips popped out to first.

Reds' right-hander J.J. Hoover walked Tyler Moore in the first at bat of the Nats' 12th. Denard Span bunted into a force at second, but Reds' shortstop Zack Cosart made an ill-advised attempt to double Span up and threw it away. Span took second on the E. Anthony Rendon got up 3-0 and walked. Jayson Werth stepped in with the winning run on second base and flew out to center. Span took third aggressively. Wilson Ramos lined to center for a--- Brandon Phillips robbed him.

Aaron Barrett took the mound in the top of the 13th and walked the first batter he faced, Devin Mesoraco. Todd Frazier singled to center in the next at bat. Neftali Soto bunted into a force at third. Chris Heisey grounded into an inning-ending 5-4-3.

J.J. Hoover came back out for another inning of work. Ian Desmond popped out. Greg Dobbs flew out to center. Danny Espinosa stepped in from the left side and went down swinging.

Barrett returned to the mound in the top of the 14th and gave up a leadoff single to center by Zack Cozart. Ramon Santiago bunted the runner over/gave up an out. Billy Hamilton went down swinging at a slider for out no.2. Skip Schumaker worked the count full and K'd looking at a backdoor slider.

Right-hander Logan Andrusek gave up a leadoff double to left by Kevin Frandsen. Pinch hitter Jose Lobaton K'd swinging for the first out of the frame. Denard Span stepped up next and grounded out to third. Anthony Rendon stepped in with a runner on third and two out and hit a low liner to center that Billy Hamilton dove for and caught. Still tied at 2-2.

Ross Detwiler gave up a leadoff single to right by Brandon Phillips. Devin Mesoraco popped out on the first pitch he saw. Todd Frazier hit a 2-1 change into the Red Porch seats for a 4-2 lead.

Andrusek came back out for the bottom of the inning and gave up a leadoff double to right by Jayson Werth. Wilson Ramos grounded out to short for out no.1. Ian Desmond flew out to left. Greg Dobbs singled to center to score Werth from second and make it 4-3. Danny Espinosa lined out to right to end it after five hours.

Nationals now 23-21

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