What the Washington Nationals lacked in offensive support on Monday night, they more than made up for on Tuesday during right-handed pitcher Doug Fister’s D.C. debut with the team. The Nats beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-4 while celebrating a note-worthy night for many of the team’s players, including outfielder Jayson Werth’s birthday.
Fister’s home field debut went better than his initial season debut. The Nats’ newest arm acquired this off-season from Detroit threw seven innings and gave up six hits and two runs while walking one and striking out five batters. Fister threw 109 pitches and 72 strikes.
The game remained within either team’s reach despite one of the best pitchers, if not the best in the game at the moment, pitching against the home team. Right-handed starter Johnny Cueto appeared to be in good form at first. Cincinnati even managed to strike early and score a run in the first inning. But, even so, the Nats came back to take the lead in the third inning before blowing it open in the sixth with a seven-run rally.
Fister would be the first to score on the night for Washington after reaching on an error in the third inning. With one out, outfielder Denard Span (5-for-5, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 2 runs) started his best night in a Nationals uniform with a RBI-bunt single to third base. Span would go on to score his first run of the night after a throwing error by the Reds and a sacrifice fly hit by third baseman Anthony Rendon to center field; Nats 2, Reds 1.
Both pitchers continued to toss smoothly against each team’s respective line-ups but Washington would end up knocking Cueto out of the game after 5 1/3 innings pitched with a seven-run rally in the sixth inning. Washington became the first team during the 2014 season to score more than two runs off Cueto. The Nats also celebrated scoring the most runs in a single frame so far this year.
Washington batted around their order in that seven-run sixth inning rally. Two batters were hit by Cueto, who lasted seven batters in that frame before being replaced by Cincinnati’s left-handed reliever Sean Marshall. The lefty pitched 1 1/2 innings and gave up two hits and one run; Nats 9, Reds 1.
The Reds did mount a late game comeback of sorts when they managed to score off Fister in the seventh to make it a 9-2 ballgame. But even the two additional runs given up by the Nats’ left-handed reliever Ross Detwiler in the ninth couldn’t stop right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus from coming into the game, making the final two outs, and closing out the night with a 9-4 victory.