Span Snatches Victory From Reds

Denard Span made a couple highlight catches to preserve the Nationals 6-3 win over the Reds.  The first catch came in the sixth after a solo shot from Shin-Soo Choo landed into the right field bleachers to make the score 6-2.  Zack Cosart had just rapped a single off Dan Haren, who appeared to be cracking now that he was going through the order a third time.  Joey Votto scorched one to the opposite field, the ball tailing away from Span.  Span raced after it, lept and caught the ball as he crashed into the fence in left centerfield.  It did look like the ball would have hit the fence for extra bases for Votto, putting runners on second and third and no out.  Instead there was just a runner on first base with one out, setting up a smash to Ian Desmond for a double play.  That would be the night for Dan Haren.

In the seventh the Reds had started another rally off Zach DukeTyler Clippard came on in relief with two outs and gave up an RBI pinch hit single to Todd Frazier to make the score 6-3 and Choo walked to load the bases.  Zack Cosart hit one that appeared to be sailing into the left centerfield gap, but Span was able to track the ball, reaching his glove out to rob Cosart of what appeared to be a game tying 3-run double.

Dan Haren pitched well holding the Reds to only two runs in six innings to get the win.  He helped himself a little with his bat in the second inning to give himself an early lead.  In the second inning back to back one out walks issued by Mike Leake to Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon set up the two out RBI single from Haren that was blooped over first base.  Denard Span followed with an RBI bouncer up the middle to make it 2-0.

In the third back to back singles from Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth got things started.  Zack Cosart made a nice diving stop on the Werth hit, threw from his knees to first, but Werth legged it out.  Ian Desmond hit a single up the middle to score Harper.  With two outs, Kurt Suzuki slapped a slow roller to Jack Hannahan at third.  He threw to second, where Desmond appeared to beat the throw, but the ball sailed into right field allowing Werth to scamper home with the second run of the inning.  Suzuki was given an infield hit with the run scoring on the error.  The Nationals built their lead up to 4-0.

After the Reds had scored their first run on a two out Joey Votto double followed by a Brandon Phillips single in the top of the fourth, Bryce Harper responded with a two run homer into the Nationals bullpen to up the score to 6-1.  That was all the runs the Nationals could generate.  The Reds battled back, but two terrific catches by Denard Span left them short.

Game Notes: With his ninth homerun in the fourth Bryce Harper is on a pace to hit 63.  He also broke a Nationals record with 18 RBIs in April.  His .783 slugging percentage and 1.232 OPS lead all of baseball.  Everyone was shocked with the numbers Mike Trout put up during his second year exposure to major league baseball.  Bryce Harper appears to be doing the same, but he may put up better numbers than Trout did last year…There were 38,903 attending the game…Chris Heisey was removed from the game with a hamstring injury after grounding into a double play…Adam LaRoche went 0 for 4, but in a positive sign in his third at bat launched one deep to centerfield.  He is 0 for 20 in his last six games with eight strikeouts, dropping his average to .143…The Nationals should get Wilson Ramos back from his hamstring pull for the Braves series…Ryan Zimmerman is not expected back until the Pirate series which begins on Friday…Mike Leake threw 47 pitches after the second inning and was gone after three.  If Tony Cingrani continues to pitch well and Mike Cueto returns from his injury, Mike may find himself out of the rotation…Joey Votto threw his helmet into the dugout after grounding out to short in the eighth inning.

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