The Nationals are in an unfamiliar position: They’re actually trailing for the first time this season.
Back-to-back home runs by Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart off Dan Haren in the second inning have given the Reds a 2-0 lead and put the Nats in a hole.
Haren had struck out two straight hitters prior to the homers, getting Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce swinging.
But within two pitches, he trailed by two.
Frazier teed off on the first pitch he saw, a 90 mph fastball, sending it to the second deck in left, and Cozart immediately followed with another homer to left. This one barely cleared the wall, and it looked like a fan might have reached out into the field of play to bring the ball into the stands.
Manager Davey Johnson came out to argue and ask the umpires to review the Cozart homer, but they were unwilling to go to the replays and stuck with the call on the field.
I wonder if first base coach Tony Tarasco had flashbacks to his incident in the 1996 ALCS, when Jeffrey Maier reached out and turned a Derek Jeter fly ball into a game-changing homer.
If Tarasco has trouble sleeping tonight, we’ll know why.
Update: How about Zack Cozart? In a lineup with Frazier, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips, who woulda thought that Cozart would be Haren’s toughest test.
Cozart smacked a three-run homer in the third inning, his second longball off Haren in two innings, giving the Reds a 5-0 lead.
Haren struggled statistically in the spring, and in his first regular start as a National, his numbers haven’t been too sharp through three innings.
The veteran right-hander has allowed five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts.
Homer Bailey, meanwhile, has allowed just one hit through three.
Update II: Haren surrendered another home run in the fourth, this one to Shin-Soo Choo, and the right-hander has been pulled for a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth inning.
Haren’s night is done with the Nats trailing 6-0.
The Choo homer also was touched by a fan bordering on the field of play, and the umps ended up reviewing this one. They stuck with the call on the field, however. That marked the fourth home run allowed by Haren tonight.
Update III: This ballgame has gotten ugly in a hurry. The Reds have now hit six home runs and have a 14-0 lead after seven innings of play.
Zach Duke allowed a homer to Frazier in the seventh and Henry Rodriguez then surrendered a grand slam to former Nationals farmhand Xavier Paul, making it a two-touchdown game.
The Nats still have just three hits, they’ve surrendered 17 and they’ve made two errors.
This has been a night to forget.