It was the first time the Washington Nationals’ right-handed starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg would face-off against his old Little League opponent and Cincinnati Reds right-handed pitcher Mike Leake, but at the end of the night that story wouldn’t be what folks remembered about Monday night. The Reds went on to beat the Nats 4-3 in a 4 hour 58 minute, 15-inning game that left all but four players on the two teams’ active rosters on the bench by the end.
The issue Strasburg faced in his seven innings pitched was a lack of run-support and lackluster defense from those backing him. Strasburg gave up six hits and two runs while striking out four and walking a batter on 96 pitches and 64 strikes. He also threw one wild pitch and hit two batters, which ended up hurting his performance the most.
Reds third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Zack Cozart were both hit by pitches Strasburg threw and both scored the two-runs that kept Cincinnati in the lead for most of the night. Frazier scored in the fourth inning and Cozart followed in the fifth, but what was most concerning for both teams was their inability to score runs with men on base.
At the end of the night, a collective of 27 runners were stranded on the bases — 14 for Cincinnati and 13 for the Nats.
Washington played a bit of catch-up in the seventh, which has been their unintentional approach so far this season. Late-game comebacks are something this team has become accustomed to and Monday night’s performance was no different.
Outfielder Nate McLouth put the Nats on the board in the seventh inning against right-handed reliever Sam LeCure. Then, a ninth inning rally that sent second baseman. Danny Espinosa around to score would tie it up at 2-2 and send the game into extras. It was a tough spot to generate run support from but Espinosa and pinch-hitters Kevin Fradsen and Scott Hairston faced the Reds flame-thrower, left-handed reliever Aroldis Champman and still got the Nats a chance to win it in extras.
Unfortunately, the opportunity to win was not seized and a game in which Nats fans sat through two President’s Races and two renditions of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” was marked as a win in the NL Central standings for the Reds.
Cincinnati eventually won the night facing off against Washington’s left-handed reliever Ross Detwiler who was charged with his second loss of the season. Detwiler gave up three runs, an intentional walk, and two runs in the fifteenth while striking out one batter.
Washington attempted to mount another comeback from behind scenario in the fifteenth inning but a double from outfielder Jayson Werth off right-handed reliever Logan Ondrusek followed by an RBI-single from outfielder Greg Dobbs wasn’t enough and the Nats fell 4-3 to the Reds.