Strasburg and Leake control game early (Reds win 4-3 in 15)

Monday’s series opener paired a matchup of two of the top eight overall selections from the 2009 first-year player draft as the Reds arrived in D.C. to face the Nationals.

Top overall selection Stephen Strasburg faced off against the eighth overall pick Mike Leake.

Strasburg had to deal with a runner in scoring position in each of the first two innings, but escaped unscathed. In the first, Skip Schumaker doubled with one out. Strasburg was then able to retire Brandon Phillips and Devin Mesoraco to end the inning.

In the second, Jayson Werth dropped a routine fly ball for an error in right field. Todd Frazier moved to third after a ground out. Strasburg then got Chris Heisey to look at curveball for a called third strike. He also had retired Phillips earlier with the curveball. Zack Cozart grounded out to end the second.

The Nationals had a good chance against Leake in their second inning at-bat. Ian Desmond led off with a scorching double past Billy Hamilton in left center field. After Greg Dobbs moved Desmond to third with a fly out, Danny Espinosa was hit by pitch. But Leake struck out Nate McLouth looking and Strasburg grounded out to second on a fielder’s choice to end the scoring chance.

No score through two innings in D.C.

Update: The Reds get on the board first with a run in the fourth inning. Frazier was hit by a pitch with one out. Brayan Pena then singled and Frazier raced around to third base.

With Heisey at the plate, Strasburg’s pitch bounced in front of catcher Wilson Ramos. Seeing this, Pena broke for second base. Espinosa received a low throw from Ramos and realized he did not have a chance to get Frazier from third, who had already broke for home plate.

Espinosa still had Pena in a run down, so he threw the ball to Dobbs to record the second out. But Frazier had scored on the play, and the Reds led 1-0.

Update II: The Reds got to Strasburg again in the fifth frame. Zack Cozart was hit-by-pitch (second hit batter of the game by Strasburg) and after a sacrifice, Billy Hamilton singled. Schumaker then delivered a run-scoring single that scored Cozart. The Reds led 2-0 after 4 1/2 innings.

Update III: The Nationals defense did a good job of slowing the speedster Hamilton for at least a moment in the seventh. After Hamilton’s base hit and 16th stolen base, he went to third on a ground out. With Phillips at the plate, Hamilton tried to to steal home, but was caught in a rundown: catcher to third base to catcher to shortstop to end the inning. The Reds led 2-0 heading to the bottom of the seventh.

Strasburg finished seven innings, allowing six hits, two runs, one walk, two hit batters, one wild pitch and struck out four. He tossed 96 pitches, 64 for strikes.

In the last of the seventh, the Nationals got on the board. With one out, Nate McLouth singled. He went to second on a wild pitch. Then with two outs, Denard Span delivered a run-scoring single to right field and the Reds led 2-1.

Update IV: Facing Reds closer Aroldis Chapman in the ninth, Danny Espinosa led off with a double into the deep left corner on a 99-mph fastball. Pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen flew out to center field which moved Espinosa to third base with one out.

Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston, down to his last strike, launched a fly ball to deep left field that was caught for the second out, but the sacrifice fly brought Espinosa home and the Nationals had tied the game 2-2.

Span then flew out to left field to end the frame, but the Nationals forced extra innings.

Update V: Drew Storen was able to get out of a jam in the 11th. With men on second and third and two outs, Storen got pinch-hitter Ryan Ludwick looking for a called third strike on a 86-mph change up.

Update VI: Taking on reds reliever J.J. Hoover in the 12th, pinch-hitter Tyler Moore walked. On a Span bunt, Moore was out at second, but Cozart’s throw to first was wild and Span went to second. Rendon walked. After Werth flew out, Ramos’ line drive up the middle was caught by Phillips as he dove to his right, parallel to the ground. Amazing play. This one has been a good one. 2-2 heading to the 13th. It is now the longest game of the season by innings for the Nationals. The Nationals lost 4-3 in 12 innings on April 24 to the Padres.

Update VII: With the game going to 14 innings, it matches the longest game at home in Nats history.

In the 14th, Frandsen led off with a double versus Reds reliever Logan Ondrusek. Pinch-hitter Jose Lobaton struck out and Span grounded out to third. But Span’s grounder got Frandsen to third. With two away, Rendon’s hot liner to deep center was caught by a diving Hamilton to end the inning. Unbelievable. Heading to the 15th inning.

Update VIII: Facing Ross Detwiler in the 15th with a man on, Frazier hit his eighth home run of the season, a two-run blast, and the Reds took the lead 4-2.

In the bottom of the 15th against Ondrusek, the Nationals got started quickly. Werth led off with a double off of the right field wall. But Ramos grounded out. Desmond then flew out to left field. Representing the tying run, Dobbs drops a single between three fielders in right, scoring Werth. The Reds lead was trimmed to 4-3. Espinosa flew out to right to end the game.

Reds win the longest game in nationals history at home, 4-3 in 15 innings. The game took four hours and 58 minutes.

Detwiler tagged with the loss, falls to 0-2. Ondrusek earns his first win of the season, improving to 1-2.

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