One night after their 13-run explosion, the Nationals find themselves in a bit more of a pitchers’ duel so far tonight against the Reds.
Tanner Roark and Anthony DeSclafani each have allowed just one run through the game’s first four innings, avoiding the kind of crooked-number frames that defined Thursday night’s 13-4 Nats rout.
The Reds struck right back in the top of the second, getting a trio of singles from Adam Duvall, Eugenio Suarez and Tucker Barnhart. What could have been a more damaging inning for Roark, though, was minimized when Barnhart tried to advance to second base on Harper’s ill-advised throw to third. Anthony Rendon astutely caught the ball and fired back to Danny Espinosa to get Barnhart.
Cincinnati threatened again in the fourth, but with two on and two out, Suarez inexplicably tried to steal third base and was thrown out by catcher Jose Lobaton to end the rally.
Harper came within a few inches of homering in the bottom of the fourth, but his drive to center field hit the top of the wall and then bounced back into play. The reigning National League MVP, assuming a home run, watched it from the batter’s box for a second, and by the time he began running down the line, it was too late and so he was forced to hold up for a single.
Update: We’ve completed six innings, and this is now a 2-2 game. Both teams scored in this most recent frame, the Reds on Duvall’s RBI single. It could have been worse, but Daniel Murphy made a fantastic play on Suarez’s scorched grounder to second to start a 4-6-3 double play. In the bottom of the inning, Murphy was called for interfering with Barnhart’s throw as Jayson Werth was stealing second, forcing Werth back to first base. No harm, no foul, though, because Werth still wound up scoring when Murphy doubled into the right field corner, tying this game as we move to the seventh.
Update II: And we’re going extra innings tonight. Neither team was able to push across the go-ahead run in the eighth or the ninth. It remains 2-2.
Update III: The Nats had something cooking in the bottom of the 10th, but Harper struck out on a 3-2 pitch from Tony Cingrani and Werth was thrown out trying to steal second by a country mile. So we go to the 11th.
Update IV: We go to the 12th. They have 30 minutes to finish this game in time to set off the fireworks before the 10:45 p.m. curfew.
Update V: We go to the 13th. Not looking good for fireworks, but there will be a second Presidents Race, so we’ve got that going for us!
Update VI: We go to the 14th, and the official announcement was just made that the fireworks have been canceled due to the city’s noise curfew. That was not received well by what remains of the crowd.
Update VII: Nats win in the 14th. Ben Revere lined a double off the wall in right-center, scoring Danny Espinosa from second base. The winning streak is up to 6 games.