Reds hit six home runs, send Nationals to first loss, 15-0
Friday, April 05, 2013 8:11 PM
Cincinnati Reds’ Zack Cozart (2) hits a home run against the Washington Nationals in a baseball game, Friday, April 5, 2013, in Cincinnati. Kurt Suzuki catches at right. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)
AP Baseball Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) - 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 Washington Nationals to a 15-0 defeat Friday night, their first loss this season and their worst loss since returning as a team.
It was their 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.
The Reds improved to 3-1 even though their top hitters haven't done much. Cincinnati has nine homers in the last two games, but none by Joey Votto or Jay Bruce.
Dan Haren (0-1) had a rough time in his Nationals debut, giving up four homers and six runs in four innings. The right-hander signed a one-year, $13 million deal in the offseason, joining a formidable pitching staff that allowed only one run during the first three games of the season.
Homer Bailey (1-0) gave up two hits in six scoreless innings. The right-hander hasn't allowed 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.
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 hit connected in every way - three solo shots, a two-run homer, a three-run homer and a grand slam.
Cincinnati had 19 hits, including a single by reliever Manny Parra. The Reds finished with more homers than the Nationals had hits (5).
Frazier hit a solo shot into the upper deck in the second inning. On the next pitch, Cozart broke his 0-for-11 slump to start the season with a homer that a fan caught at the top of the wall in left field. Nationals manager Davey Johnson talked to the umpires about fan interference, but they declined to review it and stuck with the call.
It would be that kind of a night for the Nationals.
Cozart hit a three-run homer off Haren in the third, giving him two homers in three pitches from the right-hander. It was his first career multihomer game.
Shin-Soo Choo added a solo homer in the fourth that barely cleared the wall in center as a fan reached to catch it. Johnson asked for a review of that one and got it. Three minutes, 39 seconds later, the umpires upheld their call.
Cozart got his career-high fifth RBI on a sacrifice fly. Frazier added a two-run homer in the seventh, his third in two games. Paul's pinch-hit grand slam off Henry Rodriguez made it 14-0.
The Reds have gotten plenty of power even though cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick is out for at least half a season with a major shoulder injury and Votto and Bruce have started slowly.
NOTES: The Reds will honor Johnson with a gift on the field before Saturday's game. Johnson managed the Reds to a division title and the NL championship series in 1995, but former owner Marge Schott replaced him with Ray Knight. The Reds didn't win another division title until 2010 under Dusty Baker. ... The Reds have fanned 43 batters, a club record for the first four games of a season. ... A fan ran onto the field and slid into second base during a pitching change. The man ran into the outfield before police tackled and handcuffed him.