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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Washington Nationals Hold On To Avoid Sweep

The Washington Nationals erased a five-run lead and built one.  They held on with the bases loaded and no outs to win 10-9 and salvage the final game of the three-game series. It snapped the Reds' four-game winning streak.

The Reds trailed 10-8 going into the ninth.

Jonathan Papelbon entered in the ninth. It was the closer's first appearance of the series.

Holt greeted Papelbon with a single. His third hit of the game  Votto walked.  Phillips doubled down the leftfield line to put the tying run on third and the winning run on second.  Dusty Baker elected to walk Bruce to load the bases. Duvall popped to short.  Zack Cozart pinch hit for Blake Wood and struck out.  De Jesus flied out to deep center to end the threat.

"I've been that way my whole career," Papelbon said.  "I don't worry about the last pitch. I just concentrate on making the next one.  I knew the ball De Jesus hit was an out when it came off the bat."

The see-saw game was in doubt at the end.

"We're playing good baseball right now. When we got down we could have easily folded. We couldn't cash in against one of the best closers of this decade. His experience took over and he made pitches when he had to," Bryan Price said.  "I can't speak for Dusty but they walked Jay to set up the double play. They were playing the infield back and I guess they felt that the worst case if they conceded the run was they had the bullpen to finish the game in extra innings."

 Nationals' starter Tanner Roark was rocked by the Reds in the second inning.

Jay Bruce walked to open the inning. Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez singled to load the bases.  Ivan De Jesus Jr. doubled to the leftfield corner, scoring Bruce and Duvall. Suarez.scored when Ben Revere fumbled the ball.  Tucker Barnhart singled up the middle, sending De Jesus to third.  Reds; starter Jon Moscot's sacrifice set the table for Tyler Holt's two-run single.

Jon Moscot allowed one base runner in the first three innings.  Wilson Ramos reached on a throwing error by De Jesus, who gave Zack Cozart a rest.

 "They're a good team," Price said.."We couldn't hold them the second time through the order.'

The Nationals woke up in the fourth.  With one out Bryce Harper, who was 1-for-10 in the last five games, singled to snap the no-hitter.  Daniel Murphy hit his 10th home run.  Ramos followed with his eighth home run.  After Anthony Rendon flied out.  Clint Robinson doubled.  Moscot walked Danny Espinosa to get the the pitcher's spot.  Dusty Baker sent Stephen Drew to pinch hit for Roark.  Drew singled to score Robinson and end the day for Moscot.  Daniel Wright took over and was greeted by a solid single by Ben Revere that tied the score.

 "I have to do a better job at limiting the damage," Moscot said.. "I looked at the pitches they hit out. They weren't exactly where I wanted them. I didn't get the ball in far enough on Murphy. He's one of the hottest hitters in the league."

Shoddy fielding lead to three runs for the Nationals in the fifth.  Harper singled off Wright as Duvall made a sliding attempt to make the catch.. Murphy dribbled a ball to short that went for an infield hit.  Ramos lined a hit to load the bases.  Rendon hit a one hopper to Suarez at third.  Suarez went home with the throw, hoping for a 5-2-3 double play.  Barnhart trying to turn two, missed the throw completely and two runs scored.  Robinson hit a sacrifice fly.

Washington got two runs off J.C. Ramirez.  Revere singled. After Michael Taylor struck out.  Harper laced his third hit. Murphy drove in his third run of the game with a ground single to right.  Ramirez threw a wild pitch to put Murphy on second.  Ramos drilled one off Ramirez that caromed into right field as Murphy score the Nationals' 10th run of the game.  Ramirez suffered a bruised right quad.

Sammy Solis relieved Roark and shut the Reds down with six strike outs.  He allowed one hit and one walk.

Felipe Rivero relieved Solis and continued the strike out trend by fanning Holt. Votto drew a walk and Brandon Phillips dumped a single into no-man's land in rightfield. Bruce launched his 13th home run into the bleachers in right to give him 40 RBI on the season, tying him with Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant for second in the National League.  The blast improved Bruce's batting average to a team leading .280.

 "A lot of people are comparing me to what I did in 14 and 15. i feel good now. I feel normal," Bruce said.. "I'd take that situation every day. I guess they wanted to pick their poison. If we get in that situation every day, we're going to come out ahead most of the time."

Shawn Kelley took over for Rivero and finished off the Reds in the seventh and eighth.

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