Nationals take Reds' bullpen deep, and win in 11 innings

Jeff Wallner, Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Such is life in Great American Ball Park. One day after the Cincinnati Reds hit six home runs and scored 15 runs, the Washington Nationals hit five homers including solo shots from Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos in the 11th inning which lifted them to a 7-6 victory Saturday afternoon.
The Reds rallied from a four-run deficit and tied the score with two runs in the ninth before Desmond and Ramos, who hit his first two homers of the season on Saturday for his second career multihomer game, homered off J.J. Hoover helping the Nationals regain the lead for good.
"It was two of the best teams in the National League going at it," said Jayson Werth, who went 3-for-5 with a homer. "This is what it's all about."
Werth's 419-foot homer off Sam LeCure put Washington ahead 5-1 in the seventh, before the Reds fought back. "We had control of the game, then all of a sudden we didn't," Werth said.
Hoover (0-2) took the loss. Craig Stammen (1-0) struck out four in two innings to earn the victory. Cincinnati dropped to 0-2 in extra innings this season.
Washington led 5-3 in the ninth when Shin-Soo Choo began the inning with his third home run of the season off Nationals closer Rafael Soriano.
With one out, Joey Votto tripled off the wall in left-center then scored on Soriano's wild pitch to tie the score at 5-5. "That happens sometimes," Soriano said. "I felt good today. I'm very happy with the team winning."
Cincinnati had a chance to win the game in the 11th, when Votto scored on Brandon Phillips' double to make it a one-run game. But Stammen struck out Jay Bruce to preserve the victory.
The Reds, who collected 32 hits in the first two games of the series, were just 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position Saturday.
"I don't want to talk about resiliency," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "Resiliency is our middle name. We had chances to win the game long before (the 11th). We just have to start hitting with runners on base."
Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the second inning and Ramos added a two-run shot for the Nationals in the sixth.
Harper, following Werth's double, pulled the first pitch from Reds' starter Mike Leake into the right-field seats, putting the Nationals ahead 2-0 in the second.
"Last night, we hit the ball out of the ballpark, today they did," Baker said. "Turnabout's fair play."
Nationals starter Ross Detwiler allowed six hits and an unearned run in six innings, but the Reds' late rally kept him winless in his career against Cincinnati.
The Reds' first run came when Phillips reached base on Danny Espinosa's throwing error. He scored from second on Frazier's double.
Ramos' two-run home run on a 3-and-2 pitch from Leake put the Nationals ahead 4-1 in the sixth.
Washington led 5-1 in the eighth when Cincinnati fought back. Phillips doubled and scored on Frazier's RBI single, before Devin Mesoraco's hard grounder skidded through Desmond's legs and Bruce scored to cut Cincinnati's deficit to 5-3.
Harper and Werth combined to go 5-for-10 with two homers and three RBI.
"It's a long season, a roller-coaster ride," Werth said. "Hopefully, we can keep getting big hits and keep winning. Last night they didn't miss a barrel. I felt like it was our game today."
NOTES: Harper is the first Nationals player to hit three homers in his first five games since the team moved to Washington in 2005. ... Reds pitchers struck out nine batters Saturday, increasing their season total to 52 Ks in five games, which is a franchise record. ... Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche, who has been dealing with lower back stiffness, which caused him to leave Friday's game in the seventh inning, was not in the starting lineup Saturday. Chad Tracy started at first base and batted fifth Saturday, going 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. LaRoche is 0-for-13 to begin the season, but said his back has not affected his swing. ... Reds C Devin Mesoraco made his first start of the season going 0-for-4 on Saturday. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, when Frazier and SS Zack Cozart each hit two home runs Friday night, it was the first time in franchise history they had multiple home runs from a starting shortstop and third baseman in the same game, and the first time for an NL club since 1971.

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