WASHINGTON — On a night when right-hander Stephen Strasburg struggled and the Nationals put themselves in an early hole, Washington used the long ball and an unlikely component — the bullpen — to pull out a satisfying victory.
Bryce Harper singled in the winning run in the 10th inning, Brian Goodwin homered twice and the Nationals rallied past the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 on Friday night.
Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy also homered for the Nationals, who trailed by four runs in the second inning and 5-2 in the sixth before storming back to deal the Reds their 12th loss in 13 games.
Trea Turner singled off Raisel Iglesias (2-2) with one out in the 10th and took third on a single by Goodwin before Harper hit a liner that struck the right-field wall on one bounce.
Harper initially dodged his teammates before finally accepting their hugs and high-fives.
“It was a lot of fun to watch and a lot of fun to be part of,” Harper said.
Matt Albers (3-1) pitched the 10th to cap an impressive night for the Nationals’ bullpen, a maligned group that blanked the Reds on one hit over the final five innings.
The unit has been a sore spot for Washington — blowing 12 of 32 save chances — but this was refreshingly different.
“Our bullpen was tough on them,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We talk a lot of stuff about them, but they were outstanding.”
Goodwin homered in the first inning and again in the seventh, the first multihomer game of the rookie’s career.
Scooter Gennett connected for the skidding Reds.
“That’s one I thought was sitting there to win,” manager Bryan Price said. “We just didn’t get it done.”
Seeking his ninth win, Strasburg gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings, walking two and striking out five. It was only the third time in 15 starts he allowed more than three earned runs, but it was also the third straight start in which he failed to go six innings.
Strasburg blamed the heat as much as the Reds’ hitters for his abbreviated outing.
“I was trying to go as long as I can and as hard as I can,” he said. “I lost about 10 pounds of water.”
Reds starter Luis Castillo pitched five effective innings in his major league debut and left with a 5-2 lead, but the Cincinnati bullpen deprived him of the victory. Castillo allowed two runs and five hits, walking five and striking out five.
“I’m happy with the way he threw the ball,” Price said. “I would anticipate he’s going to get sharper as the season goes on.”
The 24-year-old rookie was replaced by Michael Lorenzen, who promptly served up a home run to Murphy and gave up a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Stephen Drew later in the sixth.
Wandy Peralta took over in the seventh and, like Lorenzen, gave up a homer to the first batter he faced. Goodwin’s drive to right made it 5-all.
Early on, Cincinnati dominated.
The Reds batted around in a four-run first inning that featured Gennett’s 10th home run, a run-scoring fly ball by Scott Schebler and successive RBI singles from Devin Mesorasco and Jose Peraza.
Reds: Castillo was recalled from Double-A Pensacola before the game and LHP Amir Garrett was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
Nationals: Wilmer Difo was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and started in CF for the injured Michael Taylor. RHP A.J. Cole was optioned to Syracuse.
Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (left shoulder soreness) made his third rehabilitation start Wednesday and appears close to coming off the DL.
Nationals: Taylor was held out of the starting lineup for a second straight game with an undisclosed injury. Baker refused to offer details, saying, “It’s none of your business” and “the opposition doesn’t need to know where.” Taylor pinch hit in the 10th. … OF Jayson Werth (foot contusion) is out of the walking boot and “making pretty good progress,” Baker said. Werth’s rehabilitation involves being in the pool, causing Baker to note: “He pulled his hair back and I wondered if he had any gills yet. He’s swimming a lot. I told him he’s starting to look like Michael Phelps.”
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (elbow surgery) comes off the 60-day DL on Saturday to make his first start in the majors since last August. He allowed two runs over 16 2/3 innings in three rehabilitation starts.
Nationals: Joe Ross (3-3, 5.98 ERA) makes his second career start against the Reds.
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