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Reds snap skid with 5-run 10th vs. Nationals

July 2, 2016

WASHINGTON -- The Reds took advantage of the Nationals' pitching and fielding difficulties in the 10th inning to win, 9-4, at Nationals Park on Saturday. The Reds broke their five-game losing streak, while the Nationals' six-game winning streak was snapped.The game had almost gotten away from Cincinnati, which blew the

WASHINGTON -- The Reds took advantage of the Nationals' pitching and fielding difficulties in the 10th inning to win, 9-4, at Nationals Park on Saturday. The Reds broke their five-game losing streak, while the Nationals' six-game winning streak was snapped.
The game had almost gotten away from Cincinnati, which blew the four-run lead it had amassed by the second inning.
"We really did show some resiliency for a team that could be packing it in, and they haven't, so I'm really pleased with that," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
With the score tied at 4 in the 10th, Nationals reliever Sammy Solis couldn't retire a batter. After Eugenio Suarez and Brandon Phillips reached base on singles, Billy Hamilton tried to bunt his way on. He advanced the runners, but first baseman Ryan Zimmerman couldn't field the ball and was charged with an error that loaded the bases.
Tucker Barnhart then singled to right field, scoring Suarez. The ball went past Bryce Harper for an error, and that allowed Phillips to score.
Rare errors play key role in Nats' loss to Reds
"Any time you can put a crooked number on the board, regardless of how you get the runs, it's huge," Barnhart said. "Especially since we played some close ballgames and seemed to be on the wrong end of those a lot. It's nice to get some separation from them and hold on for a win."
Solis was then taken out of the game in favor of Matt Belisle, but things didn't improve. Hamilton scored on a wild pitch, Barnhart scored on a single by Jose Peraza and Zack Cozart scored on a groundout by Jay Bruce.
"That's something that's rare for us," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of his team's bullpen and defensive collapses. "That was [Harper's] first error, and that was Zim's second error of the year. These are sure-handed guys. These things happen. They don't happen to us much. That's something we have to write off. We were fortunate to be in that game in the first place, but we still had action. We could have won that game on four hits."
Ross hit early: Nationals right-hander Joe Ross had an outing to forget, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings, but he ended up with a no-decision. The Reds went to work on him in the first inning, scoring three runs. Adam Duvall opened the scoring with a two-run double and would later score on a single by Phillips. An inning later, Barnhart scored on a single by Cozart.
Baker indicated that Ross' velocity went down, but Ross insists he isn't injured.
"I was feeling good," Ross said. "I was maybe 94 [mph] or 95 the first few innings. It kind of dropped. I was missing a lot of spots. ... But I felt good. My stuff wasn't there, the command wasn't really there. It's a little frustrating, but I feel all right." More >
Big series for Barnhart: It was a three-hit night for Barnhart, who delivered the game-winner on an RBI single that scored Suarez, with Phillips also going home on Harper's error. Barnhart improved to 7-for-13 in the series and is batting .417 over his last 11 starts, with five doubles.
Smith, Barnhart share pride in Reds' win
"It's getting back to doing what I do well when I'm going well -- trying to string together some good, consistent at-bats and get good pitches to hit," Barnhart said. "I was swinging at some bad pitches, trying to cover the whole plate from the start of the at-bat, which is tough to do, especially with the sheer stuff you see nowadays."

First win for Smith: After Blake Wood struggled in relief of starter Dan Straily in the eighth, walking three batters and allowing the tying run to score, Josh Smith took over with the bases loaded and two outs. Smith got Clint Robinson to pop out to end the threat, then worked a 1-2-3 ninth to force the extra inning, and he earned his first big league win.

No decision for Straily:: On a night a gassed bullpen needed rest, Straily delivered a nice outing, with only two hits over his seven-plus innings. He had four innings of 10 or pitches or fewer, and after Ben Revere's RBI triple in the third inning, he retired 13 of the next 14 batters. Returning for the bottom of the eighth having thrown 88 pitches, he walked leadoff batter Stephen Drew before Danny Espinosa hit a two-run homer to make it a one-run game. Four batters later, Wood was on the mound when Harper singled to left field to score Anthony Rendon to tie the score at 4.
"I fell short of the goal," Straily said. "I tried to throw a complete game, that was really what I set out to do. You set out to do that every time, but especially with the way the last few days have gone, just really trying to throw balls in quality starts and let them get themselves out as often as possible. For the most part, that worked. It allowed me to pitch into the eighth inning; it's only the second time I've been able to do that in my career."

Espinosa is tied with Harper for the team lead in homers, with 16. Espinosa has also reached base safely in 12 of his last 26 plate appearances.

Reds:John Lamb will start Sunday's series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET seeking better fortune than in recent starts. Blown saves took away potential wins in three of Lamb's last five starts, and he had a no-decision from a 7-2 defeat to the Cubs in 15 innings despite his two runs allowed over six innings.
Nationals: Baker announced after the game that right-hander Stephen Strasburg will come off the disabled list to pitch against the Reds on Sunday afternoon at 1:35 ET. Earlier in the day, Baker said that nothing was going to be decided until game time.
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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.