CINCINNATI -- Riding a season-high four-game win streak, the Reds seemed destined for a series sweep after going up big on the Nationals early in Sunday's finale at Great American Ball Park. The Nationals spoiled that with a mid-game offensive resurgence and held on for the 10-9 victory.
"Boy that was an exciting game," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "We had some guys that had good games, it was sort of a tale of three games all in one. They jumped us, we jumped them back and then we held on at the end when we were in trouble."
The Reds secured an early 5-0 advantage in the second inning on five singles and a double. However, starter Jon Moscot couldn't hold the lead, giving up five runs in the fourth on home runs from Daniel Murphy and Wilson Ramos and a couple of two-out singles.
"I hung a slider to Ramos, he hit it out. [I] didn't get the ball in and up to Murphy, and he put a good swing on it," Moscot said. "I think he's a pretty good hitter right now, and then things just got a little out of hand after that. That's on me to kind of limit the damage there, and it's definitely a learning experience."
After tying it at 5-5, the Nationals loaded the bases with three-straight singles from Bryce Harper, Murphy and Ramos to lead off the fifth. A ground ball to third base went awry when catcher Tucker Barnhart couldn't corral the throw from Eugenio Suarez, allowing Harper and Murphy to score and put Washington in front. The Nationals tacked on one more run in the fifth and two in the sixth courtesy of four singles.
Sammy Solis earned the win with three scoreless innings, while recording six strikeouts. The Reds mounted a late comeback, via a Jay Bruce three-run homer in the seventh and then scored another in the ninth on a Brandon Phillips RBI double against closer Jonathan Papelbon. The comeback attempt ended when the Reds came up empty vs. Papelbon after loading the bases with no outs as he held on for his 15th save.
"I always thought that I was going to be able to get out of it," Papelbon said. "I never really had a doubt. I truly didn't."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Comeback complete: The Nationals pulled off their biggest comeback of the season, battling back from a five-run deficit to score 10 unanswered runs. Their 3-4-5 hitters -- Harper, Murphy and Ramos -- did most of the damage, combining to go 9-for-15 at the plate with two home runs, five RBIs and seven runs scored. Washington scored double-digit runs for the third time this season.
"A really nice day by the offense," Murphy said. "I thought we grinded out some good at-bats today." More >
Barnhart drops it: After Moscot had already blown the five-run lead, the Nationals threatened again in the fifth. With the bases loaded and no outs, Anthony Rendon grounded to third base, but Barnhart couldn't corral the throw home, which allowed two runs to score. A sacrifice fly by Clint Robinson added a third run, making the error more costly.
Solis the savior: Baker was going to ask a lot from his bullpen after he pulled starter Tanner Roark from the game after three innings, and he received a strong relief outing from Solis, who matched a season-high for his longest outing.
"Didn't feel too bad honestly," he said. "I've done it once this season against the Marlins and being a starter just kind of felt fine. I found my groove, and from there they just kept giving me the ball."
Solis has a 1.59 ERA in 13 appearances since being promoted to the Majors for the injured Matt Belisle. Although Belisle is nearing his return, perhaps sending Solis down to the Minors will not be such an easy decision. Especially considering another Nats left-hander, Felipe Rivero, began the day with a .784 OPS against lefties and served up a three-run home-run in the seventh to Bruce. More >
Bruce homers again: In the seventh inning, Bruce drove an 0-1 fastball over the right-field fence for a three-run home run, bringing the Reds within two after falling behind 10-5. The home run was Bruce's second in as many days. Over his last 12 games, Bruce is hitting .327 with five home runs, 12 RBIs, and 12 extra-base hits.
"I think what people may forget is that I think people in a lot of ways are comparing me to what I did in 2014 and '15," Bruce said. "I've been OK at baseball before this. I've had some good years, and I feel normal. I think that's the biggest thing that I'm going to have to continue to show. I feel like Jay Bruce."
"You want to be ready and you want to be prepared to take the at-bat, but I think you kind of pick your poison at that point. I feel like my chance, [Adam] Duvall's chance, we're in pretty good shape right there. I'd take that situation every day, and I think we come out on the other end of it a lot of times." -- Bruce, on being intentionally walked in the ninth
In the sixth inning, JC Ramirez took a hard line drive off of his right quad from the bat of Ramos, which scored a run. Ramirez was examined by trainers and was removed from the game with a bruised right quad. Ramirez pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing four hits and two runs.
"It's a contusion," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It'll be sore, but there's nothing broken."
THREE HITS FOR HOLT
Holt's single through the middle off of Papelbon in the ninth clinched the first three-hit game of the reserve outfielder's big league career, and sparked a late-rally for Cincinnati. While Holt doesn't see a lot of action, he's been effective when given a chance. He is hitting .303 over his 66 at-bats this season.
"When you don't play, you take BP and you come in and you're ready from the fourth to the eighth pinch-hitting," Holt said. "You're kind of working on stuff throughout the game. I don't know, it's just kind of like a comfortability and just an acceptance of my role."
WHAT'S NEXT Nationals: The team will have an off-day before beginning a three-game series against the White Sox for the first time since 2013. Right-hander Joe Ross will take the mound for the Nats, with his 2.37 ERA which is the ninth-best in the National League.
Reds: The Reds get a day off on Monday before beginning a three-game series against the Cardinals on Tuesday. The Cardinals will be starting familiar face Mike Leake in his return to Great American Ball Park since being traded last July, and the Reds will counter with John Lamb.