The Washington Nationals went into the 9th inning thinking they had gotten back in the winning ways coming home against the Reds. The Reds had a different idea. Two stubborn teams took it to the 10th inning, but the Reds ended up on the winning side, taking down the Nats 5-4 and winning the series 2 to 1.
The Nationals got a strong starting pitching performance from Craig Stammen, who tossed 6.2 innings, allowed 7 hits and only 1 run. Stammen threw 66 pitches, 44 of which were for strikes. However, closer Matt Capps allowed 2 runs in the ninth inning to blow a save and cost Stammen the win, despite the great performance. Tyler Clippard threw 1.2 scoreless innings and struck out 2 batters.
Joey Votto started the scoring out with an RBI single in the first inning off Stammen. Ryan Zimmerman responded in the bottom of the first with an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1. Ian Desmond knocked in the Nats second run in the 4th inning with his 9th double of the year scoring Bernadina.
The Reds turned it on in the 9th inning after Clippard faced one batter and recorded a strikeout. Drew Stubbs doubled to right field in what was a catchable hit for Bernadina. Jonny Gomes followed it up with a back to back double to score Stubbs and tie the game at 2-2. Scott Rolen then took Capps deep to give the Reds the 4-2 lead in the top of the 9th inning.
BUT, the Nationals were not done. The Nats made some loud noise in the 9th inning with a walk from Josh Willingham and a single from Desmond. Then came Mike Morse. Morse, pinch hitting, doubled in both Willingham and Desmond to tie the game at 4-4. Morse's 2 run double sent the game to extra innings.
Going into the 10th inning, Doug Slaten got the first two batters out. Then Slaten allowed two consecutive hits, giving way to Miguel Batista, who allowed a third consecutive hit by Stubbs and the game winning run to score for the Reds. Nationals did not go quietly in the bottom of the 10th inning, putting on two runners, with a Willingham single and a walk by Bernadina. Desmond came up with two on, but could not produce another critical clutch hit. Reds take the series 2 games to 1, defeat the Nats 5-4.
Offensively, Bernadina was 2 for 2 with a double and a run scored. Desmond went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Desmond lifted his average to .279. Zimmerman was 1 for 4 with an RBI. Morse was 1 for 1 with a 2 RBI double.
Of course, the looming questions grows larger, is it time for the Nationals to turn the closer role over to rookie Drew Storen, the reason Storen was chosen in the first round of last years MLB draft? Have your say. Vote and tell us right here in our Nats Half Street Forum.