Cincinnati, OH – Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos each homered in the top of the 11th inning, and the Washington Nationals held on to beat the Cincinnati Reds, 7-6, at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds launched six home runs while opening this three-game series with a 15-0 drubbing Friday night. On Saturday afternoon, it was the Nationals' turn to display their power as they went yard five times.
Desmond took Cincinnati reliever J.J. Hoover (0-2) deep to left field to begin the 11th. One out later, Ramos crushed his second home run of the game, a drive over the center-field wall to put the Nationals up 7-5. The Washington catcher also belted a two-run blast off Reds starter Mike Leake in the sixth.
Craig Stammen (1-0) struck out the first two Cincinnati batters in the bottom of the 11th before Joey Votto walked and scored on a double by Brandon Phillips. Stammen, however, fanned Jay Bruce on three pitches to end the contest.
The Nationals overcame blowing a 5-1 lead they carried into the eighth. Cincinnati pushed two runs across in the inning, then pulled even in the ninth against new Washington closer Rafael Soriano.
"Good job battling back by our guys," Leake said.
Drew Storen struck out Votto to open the eighth, but three straight hits produced a run, with Phillips scoring on Todd Frazier's single.
With two outs, Devin Mesoraco hit a grounder that eluded the shortstop Desmond and the costly error allowed Bruce to race home to make it 5-3. A throwing error by left fielder Bryce Harper put runners on second and third, but Storen fanned pinch-hitter Xavier Paul to end the frame. Paul had come off the bench to hit a grand slam on Friday.
Shin-Soo Choo greeted Soriano with a leadoff home run to right field, and Votto nearly tied the game with an opposite-field shot. His drive off the top of the left-field wall resulted in a one-out triple and he scored on a Soriano wild pitch.
"I thought (Soriano) made some pretty good pitches and missed and then he had to get the ball out over the plate and got hit hard," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
Harper smashed a two-run homer off Leake in the third inning.
The Reds put the leadoff hitter on base four consecutive innings from the second, but Washington starter Ross Detwiler surrendered just an unearned run.
Phillips led off the fourth by reaching second base on Desmond's errant throw and scored on a Frazier double.
Jayson Werth's leadoff homer off Cincinnati's Sam LeCure put the Nationals up by four runs in the seventh.
Werth and Frazier each had three hits ... Ramos notched the second multi-homer game of his career ... Choo has homered in three straight games ... The Reds have established a franchise record for strikeouts in the first five games of a season with 52 ... Cincinnati was 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base.