Strasburg limps off, Reds rally to beat Nationals 6-3
CINCINNATI (AP) Adam Duvall had plenty of time to get ready for his pivotal at-bat. He used it well.
Duvall hit Shawn Kelley's fourth pitch for a tiebreaking three-run homer following a rain delay in the eighth inning, powering the Cincinnati Reds to a 6-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Saturday.
The Reds overcame a pair of rain delays and got a break when the Nationals' best pitcher left the game. Stephen Strasburg gave up Joey Votto's two-run homer in the sixth inning after the first rain delay and limped off the field a few pitches later with a cramp in his right calf.
"I just got real dehydrated out there," said Strasburg, who threw 97 pitches on a muggy, 77-degree afternoon. "It just kind of grabbed me a little bit on a pitch to (Brandon) Phillips. I got some treatment on it and it feels fine."
In the eighth, the Reds got runners on first and third with two outs against Felipe Rivero (0-2) when rain prompted the second delay. Duvall went into an indoor batting cage and got a few swings during the 64-minute delay, knowing he'd be the first batter when play resumed.
"So I was able to get some swings in the cage," said Duvall, who leads the Reds with 16 homers. "I had to be ready for that at-bat. It was a big one. I don't know how many swings I took. I didn't want to wear myself out. You don't want to overthink the at-bat. You want to react."
Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer off Reds starter Dan Straily, who gave up only two hits in seven innings. Danny Espinosa tied it with a solo shot in the eighth off Ross Ohlendorf (4-4). Tony Cingrani retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save in nine chances.
The Reds have won five of six with their offense finally coming around. They've scored 46 runs with 18 homers in those six games.
The Nationals had won Strasburg's last 15 starts, which was the longest active streak in the major leagues. Now the NL East leaders have concerns about whether their ace will have to miss some time.
Strasburg has won his last 12 decisions and was holding a 2-1 lead when a cloudburst caused a 21-minute delay to the start of the sixth inning. Strasburg walked Zack Cozart to start the bottom of the inning, gave up Votto's homer, and grabbed his right calf on a pitch to Phillips. He left one batter later, limping slightly.
Jay Bruce also homered off Strasburg, who fanned 10 and became the first Nationals pitcher to strike out 1,000 in his career.
Strasburg was on pace to become the majors' first 10-game winner until the delay knocked him out of his rhythm. He fanned five Reds in a row over one stretch and allowed only two hits before the delay.
The Reds had a few moments of silence before the game for Muhammad Ali, who was honored on the field at Great American Ball Park before the 2009 Civil Rights Game.
"A tremendous loss," Baker said. "There was a time when I was a teenager and I was going through some turmoils in my life and some turmoils in the country. Muhammad Ali gave us all especially young black men a sense of pride and a sense of strength."
The Reds gave Baker and outfielder Chris Heisey individualized photo books depicting their years with the Reds. Baker managed the Reds from 2008-13. Heisey was drafted by the Reds in 2006 and played in Cincinnati through 2014.
Nationals: 2B Trea Turner was on the bench as planned, but was used as a pinch runner. He was called up Friday, started against a left-hander and had three hits.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey threw in the bullpen without problem. Bailey had to back off his rehab work last month because of soreness in his right elbow, which had Tommy John surgery 13 months ago.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (4-4) has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last three starts.
Reds: RHP Jon Moscot (0-2) makes his second start since returning from soreness in his left shoulder. Last Tuesday, he gave up seven runs and four homers in two innings of a 17-4 loss in Colorado.
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