Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nats’ rally goes for nought

WASHINGTON—Twice during their extra-inning game against the Cincinnati Reds last night, the Washington Nationals appeared to have game-winning hits.
Twice the Reds made outstanding catches.

There would be no third chance as Todd Frazier’s two-run homer in the 15th inning lifted the Reds over the Nationals 4-3.
“All you can do is hit and sometimes you wish you could steer it after you hit it, but that doesn’t happen,” Nationals’ manager Matt Williams said after watching his team tie the game in the ninth and nearly win it in the 11th and 14th.
First, Brandon Phillips robbed Wilson Ramos behind second base with a runner on third to end the 11th.
Then in the 14th, Billy Hamilton got a great jump and made a diving grab in right-centre of Anthony Rendon’s liner with a man on second.
“I hit it good,” Rendon said.
“I knew he had a chance of catching it, but I was hoping it might die and it didn’t die,” he added.
Phillips singled off Ross Detwiler (0-2) to open the 15th and with one out before Frazier homered to centre.
“I [wanted] to drive something. I had two good at-bats before that,” said Frazier.
“It’s crazy how the game goes,” he added. “You’re 0-for-3 and then you get three more at-bats in extra innings and you go 3-for-3.
“So it’s like a whole new game.”
The home run also ended a 27 2/3 innings scoreless streak by the Nationals’ bullpen.
“Bad execution, bad pitch selection, pretty much bad all the way around,” Detwiler said.
Logan Ondrusek (1-2) worked two innings for the win—allowing an RBI single to Greg Dobbs in the bottom of the 15th before getting Danny Espinosa to fly out to deep right to end the four-hour, 58-minute game.
Washington trailed 2-1 when Espinosa doubled to left off Aroldis Chapman to start the ninth.
He advanced to third on a fly to deep left-centre by Kevin Frandsen and later scored on pinch-hitter Scott Hairston’s fly to deep left.
That rally cost Reds’ starter Mike Leake his first win since April 15.
Last night was the first meeting between Leake and Stephen Strasburg—youth league teammates in San Diego and 2009 first-round draft choices, with Strasburg going first overall and Leake eighth.
Strasburg went seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits.
He walked only one but hit two batters, both of whom scored.
The Reds were without first baseman Joey Votto (strained left quadriceps), who is rehabbing in Cincinnati, for the fourth-straight game.
Elsewhere in the NL, Atlanta dumped Milwaukee 9-3.
Over in the AL, Cleveland edged Detroit 5-4 (10 innings), Chicago topped Kansas City 7-6, and Houston beat L.A. 5-2.

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