Instant analysis: Nats 7, Reds 6 (11)

Instant analysis: Nats 7, Reds 6 (11)
April 6, 2013, 4:45 pm
Share This Post

Game in a nutshell: In the wake of the most-lopsided loss in club history, the Nationals looked like they were going to bounce back with an impressive performance to take Game 2 of this series between top NL contenders. Ross Detwiler tossed six strong innings, escaping a couple of jams along the way. Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Jayson Werth all homered to pace the offensive attack and open up a 5-1 lead that looked comfortable. But then disaster struck, if only temporarily. The Reds scored twice in the bottom of the eighth against Drew Storen, though he would've been out of the inning if not for a double-error by Ian Desmond and Harper, allowing one run to score and the tying run to advance to second base. Storen managed to wriggle his way out of it, though, striking out Xavier Paul to preserve the two-run lead. Rafael Soriano then served up a homer to Shin-Soo Choo to lead off the ninth, followed moments later by Joey Votto's triple off the left-field wall. Soriano's very next pitch wound up at the backstop, bringing Votto home with the tying run. Just like that, this game was headed into extra innings. At which point the Nationals decided to re-take control of this game. First, Desmond atoned for his two-error day with a 439-foot bomb off J.J. Hoover to lead off the 11th. Moments later, Ramos crushed his second homer of the day, providing an insurance run. Hometown boy Craig Stammen then closed this one out once and for all, securing a wild (and much-needed) victory that leaves the Nats 4-1 on the season.

Hitting highlight: Sure, Harper and Werth and Desmond's homers were nice, but they didn't carry as much emotional meaning as Ramos' two blasts surely did. Making his first appearance at Great American Ball Park since tearing his ACL last May, and standing only a couple feet away from the spot where he suffered that fateful injury, Ramos launched a two-run bomb to left-center in the top of the sixth. It was his first homer of the season, his first since he homered in this same ballpark only two innings before tearing the ACL. Then he punctuated a fantastic afternoon with another bomb in the 11th, launching a 438-foot rocket to center. Ramos enjoyed that one, standing at the plate and admiring it for a second before rounding the bases. Given what happened to him the last time he set foot on this field, can you blame him?

Pitching highlight: Needing a quality start barely 12 hours after Dan Haren was roughed up by the Reds, the Nationals got even more than that from Detwiler. The left-hander allowed only one (unearned) run over six innings against a very tough Cincinnati lineup. Most impressive, he got some big outs when he really needed them, inducing inning-ending double-play grounders out of both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. That was a big-time performance from the Nationals' No. 5 starter, on a day when they really needed one. Even with Haren's implosion last night, the Nats' rotation sports a 2.17 ERA. Not bad at all.

Key stat: Desmond has now committed four errors in five games this season, most in the majors.

Up next: The series wraps up with a superb pitching showdown at Great American Ball Park. Aces Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto square off Sunday at 1:10 p.m.