CINCINNATI -- Just after the conclusion of a 64-minute rain delay, left fielder Adam Duvall delivered the finishing blow with a three-run homer that snapped a tie game and gave the Reds a 6-3 win over the Nationals on Saturday at Great American Ball Park. It extended Cincinnati's win streak to four games and assured the Reds of back-to-back series wins for the first time this season.
After reliever Ross Ohlendorf spoiled a strong Dan Straily start by allowing Danny Espinosa's game-tying homer in the top of the eighth inning, the Reds answered in the bottom half with a Joey Votto walk and a Jay Bruce single that put men on the corners with two outs. Before Duvall could take his swings, a heavy downpour brought the tarp out for the second time in the game. When play resumed, Duvall drove Shawn Kelley's 1-2 pitch into the left-field seats for his team-high 16th homer of the season.
"I had to be ready for that at-bat. It was a big one," said Duvall, who took a few swings in the indoor cage during the delay.
"I just didn't execute a pitch in a wrong situation to not execute them," Kelley said.
Straily gave the Reds a strong seven-inning start with two runs and two hits allowed. The Nationals' Stephen Strasburg did not mar his unbeaten record, though he left the game trailing by a 3-2 score. Strasburg allowed a solo homer by Bruce in the second inning and Votto's two-run shot that gave Cincinnati the lead in the sixth. Strasburg exited shortly thereafter, going 5 1/3 and allowing three runs on four hits with 10 strikeouts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Duvall hits his 16th: In the bottom of the eighth, Duvall hit a deep shot off of Kelley to break the tie game and deliver the deciding runs. The home run was Duvall's 16th, and it continues a power streak for the Reds' righty. Over his last 13 games, he has nine home runs.
"He's been great," Bruce said. "Sixteen homers now, and playing great defense. He's been a good guy. He's been awesome, it's been fun to watch for sure." More >
Milestone for Stras: Strasburg was off to another strong start through the first five innings Saturday, which included notching the 1,000 strikeout in his career by punching out Straily in the fifth. But when he came back on the mound in the sixth, after the 21-minute rain delay, Strasburg walked the leadoff man and surrendered a two-run homer to give the Reds a 3-2 advantage. During the next at-bat against Brandon Phillips, Strasburg felt something in his right calf, prompting Nationals manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Mike Maddux to check on him with the training staff. He tried to pitch through the rest of the inning, but the cramp combined with his high pitch count forced him out of the game.
"Just got real dehydrated out there," Strasburg said. "Tried to stay hydrated, drinking a lot of water and stuff knowing it was going to be a hot one, but just kind of grabbed at me a little bit. Got some treatment on it, and it feels fine." More >
Votto goes deep: After a 21-minute rain delay and a Strasburg walk to Cozart, Votto took a 1-1 curveball 399 feet over the right field fence to give the Reds a 3-2 lead. The home run was Votto's 10th of the season and extended his hitting streak to a season-high six games. Over that span, Votto is hitting .348 with three home runs and seven RBIs.
Hanging Slider: Kelley has been one of the Nationals' most consistent pitchers this season. He began the day with a 1.50 ERA and had allowed just one home run in his first 22 appearances, but left a slider over the middle of the plate that Duvall hammered for a home run.
"Shawn has been lights out all year," Baker said. "He had him one ball and two strikes and had a couple pitches to work with. And he kinda threw a cement mixer up there that didn't break to a hot hitter. He could've popped it up, but he didn't miss it."
"It's fun when you get good pitching and good hitting. Early in the year, we were scuffling in every facet of the game and couldn't really get things going, in particular with the pitching. We got another really nice seven-inning start from Dan Straily, and we're getting to the power and getting really good at-bats throughout the order." -- Reds manager Bryan Price, on his team's recent play
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
On the first play of the game, Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton robbed Ben Revere of extra bases on a leaping catch on the warning track, crashing into the wall. Hamilton covered 109 feet on the catch with a top speed of 20.6 mph according to Statcast™.
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals:Tanner Roark (4-4, 2.70 ERA) will take the mound as the Nationals wrap up this three-game series at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday. Roark has been one of the more unheralded members of this rotation, but he has been consistent, averaging 6 1/3 innings per start. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last three outings.
Reds: Cincinnati sends Jon Moscot (0-3, 7.13 ERA) to the mound in the series finale against the Nationals. The Reds are hoping for a better outing from Moscot after he went two innings and allowed seven runs on eight hits, including four home runs, in his last outing.