CINCINNATI (AP) — Forget about it.
That’s the only thing the Nationals could do after absorbing their worst loss since they returned to Washington in 2005. The Cincinnati Reds hit six homers — two each by Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart and a pinch grand slam by Xavier Paul — while pulling away to a 15-0 win on Friday night.
The Nationals swept their opening series against Miami while allowing only one run. The last team without a loss in the majors went down hard.
It was the Nationals’ most lopsided loss since baseball returned to Washington in 2005, topping a 15-1 defeat to Detroit on June 19, 2007, according to STATS LLC.
“I’ve had my share of bad games along with good games,” said Dan Haren, who gave up four homers in his Nationals debut. “They’re tough to deal with, but the sooner you forget about it, the better.
“It’s such a long season. I’ve probably got 30-plus starts left. This start isn’t going to define how the year goes.”
The Reds connected every which way, piling up three solo homers, a two-run shot, a three-run shot and Paul’s first career grand slam.
“There was something in the air tonight,” Paul said. “We were able to put 15 runs on the board, and not many teams have done that against the Nationals.”
The series matches the NL’s top two teams from last season. Washington led with 98 wins, followed by the Reds with 97. The teams have a history of close games — four of their last eight had gone to extra-innings.
This one quickly turned into a rout in one of the majors’ most homer-friendly ballparks. The Reds had 19 hits, including a single by reliever Manny Parra, and finished with more homers than the Nationals had hits (5).
It started with Haren (0-1), who signed a one-year, $13 million deal in the offseason to join a formidable pitching staff. Cincinnati finished with its most lopsided shutout win since a 17-0 victory over Milwaukee at Cinergy Field on Aug. 7, 1998.
“Just one game,” manager Davey Johnson said.
Homer Bailey (1-0) gave up two hits in six scoreless innings. The right-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last 19 regular-season innings, a streak that includes his no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28. He gave up a run during the playoffs.
Bailey even got a double.
“That’s when you know the team is having a good night, when I get a hit,” Bailey said.
Frazier hit a solo shot into the upper deck in the second inning. On the next pitch, Cozart broke his 0-for-11 slump to start the season with a homer that a fan caught at the top of the wall in left field. Johnson talked to the umpires about fan interference, but they declined to review it and stuck with the call.
It would be that kind of a night for the Nationals.
Cozart hit a three-run homer off Haren in the third, giving him two homers in three pitches from the right-hander. It was his first career multihomer game.
Shin-Soo Choo added a solo homer in the fourth that barely cleared the wall in center as a fan reached to catch it. Johnson asked for a review of that one and got it. Three minutes, 39 seconds later, the umpires upheld their call.
Cozart got his career-high fifth RBI on a sacrifice fly. Frazier added a two-run homer in the seventh, his third in two games. Paul’s pinch-hit grand slam off Henry Rodriguez made it 14-0.
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