They played until it was too late for fireworks and too late for many fans to catch the Metro home. But those who stuck it out at Nationals Park at least got to see the home team win in dramatic fashion.
Ben Revere launched a double off the wall in right-center with two outs in the bottom of the 14th inning, scoring Danny Espinosa from second base and giving the Nationals a 3-2 victory over the Reds in a game that took 4 hours, 30 minutes to complete. And that was after a 35-minute rain delay before first pitch.
The winning rally began in innocuous fashion, with Espinosa getting plunked by a Ross Ohlendorf pitch. But that set in motion the chain of events that produced the run that decided the game. Espinosa moved to second base on Wilson Ramos’ groundout. Revere then drove Ohlendorf’s 1-1 pitch off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center, bringing Espinosa home and setting off an excited celebration.
The Nationals looked like they were in business earlier when Jayson Werth led off the bottom of the 10th with a single and Bryce Harper worked the count full against Tony Cingrani. But Harper struck out on a 3-2 fastball and Werth was thrown out by a country mile trying to steal second on the pitch, killing that rally and prolonging the game.
Two innings later, Harper had another chance to win it with two on and two out, then came within a few feet of a walk-off homer down the right field line before eventually sending a lazy fly ball to left to send the game to the 13th.
One night after exploding for 13 runs via three homers with at least two men on base each time, the Nationals were forced to manufacture their runs this time.
They took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on singles by Revere and Harper, then Daniel Murphy’s sacrifice fly. Their second run came in the bottom of the sixth when Murphy doubled into the right field corner, scoring Werth from first (moments after Murphy was called for interfering with the catcher’s throw on Werth’s stolen base attempt).
That second run tied the game 2-2 moments after Cincinnati took a brief lead. The Reds had plated an early run off Tanner Roark in the top of the second, then added to it on Adam Duvall’s RBI single in the sixth.
The damage off Roark, though, could have been more significant if not for some fine defense by the Nationals, who threw out two runners trying to take extra bases and turned a pair of nifty double plays.
The Reds’ defensive performance wasn’t nearly as clean, but they did make one key play when they needed it. With runners on the corners and two out in the bottom of the seventh, Werth smoked a ball toward short, 105 mph off the bat. Zack Cozart, though, made a nice play to end that inning and leave this game in the hands of the competing bullpens.
Sammy Solis impressed for the Nationals, retiring all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings on a total of 15 pitches (13 strikes). Shawn Kelley, Oliver Perez and Blake Treinen each tossed a scoreless inning to give their lineup a chance to win in extras. Yusmeiro Petit got the win two more scoreless innings.