Rubber game goes to the Reds

Stephen Strasburg wasn’t at his sharpest, the Nationals’ infielders made a couple of more defensive miscues and the bats went silent after the second inning.

Put it all together and it’s a 6-3 loss to the Reds, giving Cincinnati the series win.

After a big second inning, highlighted by Kurt Suzuki’s three-run homer to left, the Nats had just three hits and four baserunners the rest of the way.

Suzuki doubled with one out in the ninth, his third extra-base hit of the day, but the flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman - who hit 101 mph twice in a row to strike out Denard Span to end the game - was able to lock down the save.

Strasburg went 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits. After throwing just 80 pitches over seven innings in an opening day win, Strasburg needed 114 pitches to get 16 outs this afternoon.

The nine hits allowed tied for the most Strasburg has allowed in a start in his career.

He labored early, putting eight runners on base in the first three innings, and saw his pitch count rise quickly. Strasburg’s off-speed stuff seemed sharper as his outing went on, but he allowed three runs in the sixth that gave the Reds the lead and knocked him from the game.

Chad Tracy’s fielding error in the third inning was the Nats’ seventh error in their six games played thus far this season. They entered the day tied for the most errors in the majors.

Danny Espinosa also made a bit of a questionable play by throwing home to try and cut down the lead runner in the sixth, instead of going for the tailor-made 4-6-3 double play. Everyone ended up safe on the play, and Cincinnati was able to put a three-spot on the board that gave them the 6-3 lead.

It wasn’t a pretty series overall for the Nationals, and today’s finale sure wasn’t what Davey Johnson was hoping for.

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