CINCINNATI – Three solo homers. A two-run shot. A three-run shot. A pinch-hit grand slam. The Reds did it all, connecting every which way off a pitching staff that has never seen anything like it.
Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart each homered twice, and the Reds hit six in all – including Xavier Paul’s pinch grand slam – while sending the Nationals to a 15-0 defeat Friday night, their first loss of the season and their worst loss since returning to Washington as a team.
There was something in the air tonight, Paul said. We were able to put 15 runs on the board, and not many teams have done that against the Nationals.
The Nationals swept their opening series against Miami by giving up one run in three games. They were helpless against Cincinnati’s surprisingly powerful offense – nine homers in the last two games, though none by Joey Votto or Jay Bruce.
Everyone else is piling them up.
A lot of people were questioning our hitting after the last series, even though we won two out of three, Cozart said. Tonight, we showed that we can hit. Hopefully, we’ll keep it going this weekend.
The series matches the NL’s top two teams from last season. Washington led with 98 wins, followed by the Reds with 97. The teams have a history of close games – four of their last eight had gone to extra innings.
This one quickly turned into a rout in one of the majors’ most homer-friendly ballparks. The Reds had 19 hits, including a single by reliever Manny Parra, and finished with more homers than the Nationals had hits (5).
It was the Nationals’ most lopsided loss since baseball returned to Washington in 2005, topping a 15-1 defeat to Detroit on June 19, 2007, according to STATS LLC. Washington had been the last major league team without a loss this season.
I’ve had my share of bad games along with good games, said Dan Haren, who gave up four homers in his Nationals debut. They’re tough to deal with, but the sooner you forget about it, the better.
It’s such a long season. I’ve probably got 30-plus starts left. This start isn’t going to define how the year goes.
Haren (0-1) signed a one-year, $13 million deal in the offseason, joining a pitching staff that threw shutouts in the first two games of the season.
It all came apart in Cincinnati’s most lopsided shutout win since a 17-0 victory over Milwaukee at Cinergy Field on Aug. 7, 1998.
Homer Bailey (1-0) gave up two hits in six scoreless innings.
The right-hander hasn’t given up a run in his last 19 regular-season innings, a streak that includes his no-hitter in Pittsburgh on Sept. 28. He gave up a run during the playoffs.
Bailey even got a double, too.
That’s when you know the team is having a good night, when I get a hit, Bailey said.