Reds blow lead, comeback falls short in 10-9 loss to Nats
CINCINNATI (AP) After blowing a five-run lead, the Cincinnati Reds almost came all the way back from a five-run deficit.
Cincinnati scored a run and loaded the bases with nobody out in the ninth inning against Washington closer Jonathan Papelbon, but he wriggled out of the jam as the Nationals held on for a 10-9 win Sunday.
''We're playing good baseball right now,'' Reds manager Bryan Price said. ''When we got down we could have easily folded. We couldn't cash in against one of the best closers of this decade. His experience took over, and he made pitches when he had to.''
Papelbon entered in the ninth to protect a 10-8 lead and immediately got in trouble. Tyler Holt singled, Joey Votto walked and Brandon Phillips hit an RBI double.
Jay Bruce was intentionally walked to load the bases, but the Reds were unable to tie the game. Adam Duvall popped up, pinch-hitter Zack Cozart struck out and Papelbon secured his 15th save in 17 tries when Ivan De Jesus Jr. flied out to deep left-center.
''We always talk about staying in the moment,'' Papelbon said. ''My motto is, `Bend but don't break.' I couldn't get a feel for my slider early, but as the inning progressed, I got better feel for it.''
Bruce hit a three-run homer in the seventh for the last-place Reds, who had won four in a row.
Daniel Murphy homered and drove in three runs for Washington. Wilson Ramos also went deep for the Nationals, who overcame an early 5-0 deficit and then nearly squandered a five-run cushion themselves.
Cincinnati right-hander Jon Moscot lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving him a total of 5 2/3 innings pitched over his last two starts.
''I have to do a better job at limiting the damage,'' Moscot said.'' I looked at the pitches they hit out. They weren't exactly where I wanted them. I didn't get the ball in far enough on Murphy. He's one of the hottest hitters in the league.''
Murphy, Ramos and Bryce Harper each had three hits to help Washington salvage the finale of a three-game series, snapping the club's five-game losing streak in Cincinnati over the last two seasons.
Nationals left-hander Sammy Solis (1-1) struck out a career-high six in three innings of relief.
The teams took turns sending 10 batters to the plate in five-run innings. Cincinnati scored five in the second, three when DeJesus hit a two-run double to left field that was bobbled by Ben Revere as it bounced off the wall, allowing a third run to score.
The Nationals matched their season high for runs allowed in an inning. They also gave up five in the third inning on May 23 against the Mets.
Washington starter Tanner Roark lasted only three innings, the shortest of his 60 career starts.
Murphy, the NL player of the month in May, hit a two-run shot and Ramos followed with his homer in Washington's five-run fourth, the Nationals' sixth set of back-to-back homers this season.
Pinch-hitter Stephen Drew had an RBI single and Revere, who was 0 for 17 over the first five games of Washington's road trip, tied the game with a single to right.
The score was tied 5-all in the fifth when the Nationals loaded the bases with nobody out against Daniel Wright (0-2). Anthony Rendon hit a potential double-play ball to third baseman Eugenio Suarez, but catcher Tucker Barnhart couldn't handle Suarez's throw, allowing two runs to score on Barnhart's error.
Clint Robinson's sacrifice fly made it 8-5. Murphy and Ramos added RBI singles in the sixth.
After not allowing consecutive home runs all season, the Reds have done it twice in the last four games.
LEFT ON LEFT
Bruce's homer off Felipe Rivero was his 57th off a left-handed pitcher since 2010, second in the majors to Albert Pujols' 61.
BRYCE BREAKS OUT
Harper, last season's unanimous NL MVP, had his first multihit game since May 21 at Miami and his first three-hit game since April 15 at Philadelphia.
Nationals: LF Jayson Werth, who was 4 for 21 over the first five games of the road trip, was given a day off.
Reds: RHP JC Ramirez exited two outs into the sixth inning with a bruised right quadriceps after being struck by Ramos' single.
After getting Monday off, the Reds start a three-game home series against St. Louis, with LHP John Lamb (1-3) seeking his second straight win.