WASHINGTON — Twice during their extra-inning game against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night, the Washington Nationals appeared to have game-winning hits.
Twice, the Reds made outstanding catches.
There would be no third chance as Todd Frazier’s two-run homer in the 15th inning lifted the Reds over the Nationals 4-3.
“All you can do is hit and sometimes you wish you could steer it after you hit it, but that doesn’t happen,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said after watching his team tie the game in the ninth and nearly win it in the 11th and 14th.
First, Brandon Phillips robbed Wilson Ramos behind second base with a runner on third to end the 11th.
Then in the 14th, Billy Hamilton got a great jump and made a diving grab in right center of Anthony Rendon’s liner with a man on second.
“I hit it good,” Rendon said. “I knew it and I knew he had a chance of catching it, but I was hoping it might die and it didn’t die.”
Phillips singled off Ross Detwiler (0-2) to open the 15th and with one out, Frazier homered to center.
“I (wanted) to drive something. I had two good at-bats before that. It’s crazy how the game goes,” Frazier said. “You’re 0 for 3 and then you get three more at-bats in extra innings and you go 3 for 3. So it’s like a whole new game and I got a ball up, elevated and tried to drive it.”
The home run also ended a 27 2-3 innings scoreless streak by the Nationals’ bullpen.
“Bad execution, bad pitch selection, pretty much bad all the way around,” Detwiler said
Logan Ondrusek (1-2) worked two innings for the win, allowing an RBI single to Greg Dobbs in the bottom of the 15th before getting Danny Espinosa to fly out to deep right to end the 4-hour, 58-minute game.
Washington trailed 2-1 when Espinosa doubled to left off Aroldis Chapman to start the ninth. He advanced to third on a fly to deep left-center by Kevin Frandsen and scored on pinch-hitter Scott Hairston’s fly to deep left.
That rally cost Reds starter Mike Leake his first win since April 15.
Monday night was the first meeting between Leake and Stephen Strasburg, youth league teammates in San Diego and 2009 first-round draft choices, with Strasburg going first overall and Leake eighth.
Strasburg went seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits. He walked only one, but hit two batters, both of whom scored.
Both teams had their share of chances. The Reds were 2 for 24 with runners in scoring position, and the Nationals were 2 for 18.
The Reds were without first baseman Joey Votto (strained left quadriceps), who is rehabbing in Cincinnati, for the fourth straight game.
Trailing 2-0, Washington finally got to Leake in the seventh. Nate McLouth singled with one out and took second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Denard Span singled to right, scoring McLouth and ending Leake’s night after 110 pitches.
The Reds used their legs to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
Frazier was hit by a pitch with one out and went to third on Brayan Pena’s single. With Chris Heisey at the plate, Ramos blocked a pitch by Strasburg in the dirt and Pena broke for second. Frazier dashed home when Ramos threw to second and second baseman Espinosa’s only play was on Pena, who was tagged out in a rundown.
The Reds made it 2-0 in the fifth. Zack Cozart was hit on the arm by a fastball by Strasburg. On a hit-and-run play, Hamilton singled him to third and Cozart scored on a single to center by Skip Schumaker.
NOTES: Williams said rookie RHP Blake Treinen will be called up from Triple-A Syracuse to make LHP Gio Gonzalez’s scheduled start Thursday in Pittsburgh. Gonzalez (left shoulder inflammation) went on the 15-day DL Sunday. Treinen has made four appearances, including one start, for Washington. … Williams said 1B Adam LaRoche (right quad strain) took pregame grounders for the first time since going on the DL on May 10. . Cincinnati’s Jonny Cueto (4-2, 1.25) opposes Doug Fister (0-1, 4.76) on Tuesday.
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