CINCINNATI -- After teaming up to play the first Great American Ball Park season-opener without a home run on Friday, Washington and Cincinnati more than made up for it on Saturday.The Nationals and Reds combined to launch seven balls over Great American's walls. Washington got more mileage out of its
CINCINNATI -- After teaming up to play the first Great American Ball Park season-opener without a home run on Friday, Washington and Cincinnati more than made up for it on Saturday.
The Nationals and Reds combined to launch seven balls over Great American's walls. Washington got more mileage out of its four on the way to a 13-7 win.
Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo gave up two homers in five innings. Relief pitchers Austin Brice and Kevin Quackenbush each allowed one, including Brian Goodwin's first career grand slam in the ninth inning off Quackenbush after Goodwin thought he'd drawn a walk and tossed his bat on the ground.
Left fielder Adam Eaton hit one of the Nationals' homers while going a career-best 5-for-5 with two doubles, four runs scored and three runs batted in as their leadoff hitter.
• Schebler takes Strasburg deep
"What a difference he might've made if they'd had him all last year," Cincinnati manager Bryan Price said of the Ohio native, who missed the last five months of 2017 with a knee injury. "He's a terrific player. He gives you good at-bats against lefties and righties. They paid a lot to get him. They felt he was a difference-maker. Having him at the top of their order gives them a different look. It lengthens their lineup."
Castillo racked up six strikeouts and walked just one batter, but he wasn't sharp in his first start of the season. The evidence was immediate as first baseman Matt Adams launched a 460-foot, three-run homer to deep right-center field in the first inning.
"I wasn't locating my fastball well," Castillo said. "I was better with my secondary pitches, and that helped me stay in the game. The pitch to Adams was a two-seamer that ran back over the plate. It was a tough first inning. It wasn't ideal. After that, you just have to pick yourself and go out and compete."
"He was just OK," Price said. "His command in the zone was not great. Adams got an elevated fastball. They got some good pitches to hit and good teams don't miss those pitches.
"He was competing in the strike zone," Price added. "We'll work with a guy who competes in the strike zone."
After opening the season with 12 consecutive scoreless innings, the Reds got on the board in the fourth with Scott Schebler's 371-foot, first-pitch home run into the right-field seats. Adam Duvall added a two-run shot in the eighth and Eugenio Suarez followed with his own two-run homer in the ninth.
"Their bullpen did a good job," Price said. "They have a lot of depth with four lefties and four righties. They come after you. We got ourselves back in the game against a premier pitcher. We had a hard time containing their top four and then they scored seven in the last three innings. That makes it a hard situation."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Reds miss golden opportunity: The Reds mounted a comeback attempt in the seventh inning, loading the bases to knock Stephen Strasburg out of the game and bring the tying run to the plate with the heart of their lineup due up. But the Nationals countered with left-hander Sammy Solis, who struck Joey Votto out on a borderline called third strike and then induced a groundout back to the mound from Scooter Gennett to escape the jam.
Capping his day: As if he didn't do enough damage to the Reds, Eaton drove in the runs that proved to be the difference in the game with a bases-loaded, two-out, two-run single in the eighth. The hit left Washington with a 9-4 lead.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Reds have lost their first two games of the season for the first time since 2010, the year they bounced back to win their first division championship in 15 seasons. They haven't lost their first three games since being swept by Pittsburgh in 2003 -- the year Great American Ball Park opened for business.
The Reds will try to find an answer for Eaton when they face Washington in the finale of their three-game season-opening series on Sunday at 4:10 p.m. ET. As the Nationals' leadoff hitter in the first two games, the Springfield product piled up six hits, including a home run and two doubles, and five runs in his first eight at-bats of the season. Sal Romano, who will be making his first career appearance against Washington, earned his rotation slot with a solid Spring Training. He finished 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 18 strikeouts and just two walks in 15 innings over five "A" games.
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Mark Schmetzer is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Reds on Saturday.