The Washington Nationals hit two home runs in the first inning and never looked back as they picked up a 6-3 win on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park. The win gave Washington a series sweep and it extended the Cincinnati Reds losing streak to six games.
|Washington Nationals (49-63)
|Cincinnati Reds (59-55)
|W: Machado (3-0) L: Richardson (0-1) SV: Finnegan (17)|
|Statcast | Box Score | Game Thread|
Welcome to the big leagues, kid. That was the message sent to Lyon Richardson in his big league debut from the Nationals. Washington’s CJ Abrams and Lane Thomas went back-to-back on the first two pitches of the game to take a 2-0 lead. A walk and a single followed before Richardson would get the first out of the game. But Jake Alu singled to bring both runners in and it was 4-0 in a matter of minutes.
After Richardson worked around a walk in the top of the 2nd inning the Reds got on the board. Joey Votto took a 97 MPH fastball the opposite way and put it in the seats in left field for a solo homer to cut into the Nationals lead and make it 4-1. Two walks and a single from Stuart Fairchild with two outs brought in a second run as Cincinnati began to chip away.
Lyon Richardson had to work around another walk in the top of the 3rd inning, but he did so and kept it a 4-2 game. In the bottom of the inning TJ Friedl led off with his 10th homer of the season to make it a 1-run deficit for Cincinnati.
Buck Farmer took over for Richardson in the 4th as he reached his pitch count. He would walk Alex Call with one out and then give up a single to CJ Abrams. With Lane Thomas at the plate, Abrams stole second and when the throw went to the bag, Call took off for home. Matt McLain caught the throw from Stephenson and fired back to him in time to get the out at the plate. That may have been big because Lane Thomas doubled to the wall to make it 5-3. Farmer then walked Joey Meneses and Keibert Ruiz to load the bases. That was enough for David Bell as the manager called on Sam Moll to come in and face lefty Dominic Smith. The move paid off as Smith grounded out to end the inning and strand all three runners.
When the 5th inning began Moll was back on the mound and he needed just 11 pitches to retire the Nationals in order. Elly De La Cruz and TJ Friedl had 1-out singles in the bottom of the inning, and Friedl would eventually steal second base, but back-to-back strikeouts would end the inning and strand them both.
Fernando Cruz took over for Cincinnati in the 6th and he worked around a single to keep the Nationals off the board. He returned for the 7th and struck out the first two batters of the inning before David Bell called on Alex Young to enter the game to face lefty Jake Alu with the bases empty. Young gave up a single to Alu, but he got a ground out to strand him there and end the inning.
Young returned for the top of the 8th inning. He walked Stone Garrett and fell behind Alex Call 3-0 before back-to-back called strikes. But after that second strike the trainer made a mound visit and Young exited the game. Following the game it was announced that he was experiencing back spasms. Lucas Sims, who had already been warming up, entered the game. Sims fired a slider that Call took for strike three to finish the at-bat. Garrett took off to steal second base and slid into the bag, which worked out at the time for the Reds as CJ Abrams doubled into the right field corner and Garrett could only advance to third on the play. It turned out that it likely didn’t matter because Lane Thomas hit a sacrifice fly to extend the Nationals lead to 6-3. A ground out ended the inning on the next pitch.
The Reds went down in order in the 8th inning. After Ian Gibaut kept the Nationals off the board in the top of the 9th, Cincinnati’s offense would get one more shot against Washington closer Kyle Finnegan. Joey Votto struck out to begin the inning. Tyler Stephenson would follow up with a single into right field. Nick Senzel took the first pitch he saw and lined a single of his own into right field to bring the tying run to the plate. That brought Spencer Steer to the plate, but he struck out on four pitches, leaving the game up to Stuart Fairchild. He would line out to right field to end the game as the Nationals came into Great American Ball Park and sweep the Reds.
Key Moment of the Game
The first two pitches of the game landed in the stands and the Nationals never looked back.
Notes Worth Noting
Joey Votto’s home run was the 354th of his career. That moves him into a tie with Luis Gonzalez and Lee May for 92nd all time.
Via @EliasSports … In pitch count era (since 1999), Lyon Richardson is the first MLB pitcher to allow homers on each of his first 2 career pitches. On 9/23/2010 Fla’s Sandy Rosario allowed a 1st-pitch HR to Mil’s Rickie Weeks and then a homer on a 2nd pitch to Prince Fielder.
— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) August 6, 2023
TJ Friedl is the first player with 10+ bunt hits and 10+ HR since Kolten Wong had 11 of both in 2019.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) August 6, 2023
Up Next for the Cincinnati Reds
Miami Marlins vs Cincinnati Reds
Monday August 7th, 4:40pm ET
Eury Perez (5-3, 2.36 ERA) vs Brandon Williamson (3-2, 4.85 ERA)