Felipe Lopez tops off an outside pitch from Reds’ righty Edinson Volquez and drills it straight down for an easy play and toss to first from catcher David Ross for the first out of the Sunday matinee of this four game series between the Nationals and Reds in Cincinnati, Ohio’s Great American Ball Park. Ronnie Belliard grounds out to short, Cristian Guzman grounds out to second, Volquez has one scoreless...DC righty Collin Balester steadies himself on the mound and delivers a 1-0 fastball to Jerry Hairston, Jr. that ends up in Wily Mo Pena’s glove on the warning track in left. Jeff Keppinger grounds out to Guzman at short. Ken Griffey, Jr. chases a fastball out of the zone for a swinging strike three and an end to the first.
Austin Kearns pushes a single out to left to lead off in the second. DY chases a two-strike rising fastball for a swinging K. Paul Lo Duca flies out to Griffey in the right field corner. Wily Mo Pena drills Edinson Volquez in the hip with hard hit grounder back to the mound, but Volquez recovers and throws to first to end top of the second...Collin Balester gets three fly ball outs from Brandon Phillips, Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion for his second scoreless frame.
Roger Bernadina bunts for a single to start the third. Collin Balester squares to bunt and Volquez throws high and tight, knocking Balester down and actually hitting him on the pitching hand... Balester’s OK and takes first. Volquez walks Felipe Lopez to load the bases, and Ronnie Belliard singles through short! Bernadina scores. 1-0 Nationals. Cristian Guzman chops a slow grounder to second and beats out the back end of the DP. Balester scores. 2-0 Nationals. AK walks to reload the bases. DY walks to force Lopez in. 3-0 Nationals. Paul Lo Duca grounds into an inning-ending DP to end the DC third(B)...Joey Votto grounds out to Guzman at short for the first out of the Reds’ third. Ronnie Belliard rushes in and throws out Cincy catcher David Ross on a weak grounder to third. Balester gets Volquez looking. 3-0 DC after three.
WMP hits a bloop single to center to start the fourth. Roger Bernadina follows with his own single, this one to right. Balester bravely lays down a successful sac bunt. Brandon Phillips smothers a soft liner from Felipe Lopez and looks WMP back to third, before throwing out Lopez. Belliard grounds out to short. Two stranded...Jerry Hairston, Jr. flies out to left. Jeff Keppinger grounds to short, Guzman fields a short-hop and throws Keppinger out. Balester goes to a full count with Ken Griffey, Jr. and ends up issuing his first walk of the day. Brandon Phillips...lines under a diving Guzman at short for the first Reds’ hit of the day. Adam Dunn takes a fastball for a long trip out to right and way up in the outfield stands. Three-run blast. 3-3 ballgame.
Guzman swings over a sinking strike three in the top of the fourth. AK flies out to Griffey, Jr. in right. DY does the same. 3-3 middle of the fifth...Balester’s back up quickly. Joey Votto’s issued a leadoff walk. Reds’ catcher David Ross doubles into the left field corner, and when WMP can’t come up with it, Votto’s waved around and scores easily. 4-3 Reds. Volquez bunts toward first, and DY can’t come up with it, Balester fields it and tries to tag out Volquez, but he just misses with the swipe. First and third. 0 outs. Jerry Hairston, Jr. beats out the back end of his own DP grounder. Ross scores from third. 5-3 Reds.
Paul Lo Duca flies out to right to start the sixth. Wily Mo Pena strikes out swinging. Roger Bernadina grounds out to end the top of the frame...Balester’s back on the mound in the sixth. Brandon Phillips belts a double by third and into the corner in left field. Balester strikes out Dunn. Encarnacion flies out. Votto gets the intentionals. Balester hits catcher David Ross to load the bases...Jesus “Everyday” Colome comes on to get the final out of the sixth. Pinch hitter Javier Valentin flies out to right. Still 5-3 Reds.
Former DC lefty reliever Bill Bray strikes out pinch hitter Willie Harris. Felipe Lopez doubles off the wall in left center. Ronnie Belliard grounds out to short. Guzman looking to extend his hitting streak to 14 games...goes down swinging. 5-3 middle of seven. Stand up and stretch...Hairston, Jr. singles off Colome to start the Reds’ seventh. Hairston steals second with Keppinger at bat. Colome gets a groundout to second from Keppinger. DC Manager Manny Acta pulls Colome in favor of lefty reliever Charlie Manning, who’ll face Ken Griffey, Jr. again. Lefty vs Lefty. Griffey grounds to Guzman at second, in the dramatic shift, for the second out. Griffey, Jr (0-3) against Manning. Manning walks Brandon Phillips. Manning vs Dunn. Lefty vs Lefty. Dunn swings over a two-strike bender to end the seventh.
Cincinnati’s right-handed reliever Jared Burton will pitch the eighth. DY drives a one-out single to right. Aaron Boone runs for DY at first. Paul Lo Duca bunts, David Ross throws to second to cut down Boone, but the First Base Ump, says it hit Lo Duca, which it didn’t, so after a conference, Lo Duca’s given first. (Weird). Wily Mo Pena takes strike three inside to end the Nationals’ eighth...The Tallest Pitcher in MLB History, Jon Rauch is gonna try to hold DC close. Edwin Encarnacion singles to left. Joey Votto grounds to second, Guzman throws to Lo Duca at first...Lo Duca drops it.(B) Both runners safe...David Ross drops a successful sac bunt. Dunn grounds to second, Felipe Lopez fires home to get Encarnacion before he scores. Two down. Jerry Hairston, Jr. hits a bloop single to right. Votto scores. 6-3 Reds.
Francisco Cordero’s on to close it. Jesus Flores pops out. Willie Harris goes down swinging. Felipe Lopez hits a two-out single...Ronnie “Walk-off” Belliard grounds under Votto’s glove at first. Lopez takes third, and scores on an infield single from Guzman*, who grounds to short and beats out the throw. 6-4 Reds. AK singles on an 0-2 pitch. Belliard scores. 6-5 Reds. Wil Nieves with men on first and second...full count...Nieves fouls off the first full-count pitch and then stares at a nasty bender for a called third strike to end the Reds’ home sweep of the Nationals. 6-5 final.
(B) = BLAME Game
* = Guzman extends hitting streak to 14 games.
Nationals now 34-56.