CINCINNATI — Ian Desmond made two errors at shortstop that helped the Cincinnati Reds take the game to extra innings, then led off the 11th with his first home run of the season to rally the Washington Nationals to a 7-6 victory Saturday.
Bryce Harper also homered for the Nationals, who were coming off a 15-0 loss in the series opener – their most lopsided defeat since baseball returned to Washington in 2005. The Reds hit six homers in that one.
Washington got the better of it this time, hitting five homers to Cincinnati's one. The teams have combined for 12 homers, accounting for 20 of the 28 runs in the series.
Wilson Ramos hit two for the Nationals, including a solo shot off J.J. Hoover (0-2) in the 11th for a 7-5 lead.
Desmond's two errors led to a pair of runs that helped the Reds rally from a 5-1 deficit against one of the NL's best bullpens.
Nationals closer Rafael Soriano blew a save for the first time in three chances. He gave up a leadoff homer to Shin-Soo Choo in the ninth before Joey Votto tripled – his first extra-base hit of the season – and scored on a wild pitch.
Craig Stammen (1-0) pitched the last two innings. He gave up a two-out RBI double to Brandon Phillips before fanning Jay Bruce to end it.
Extra-inning games have been the norm between the NL's top two teams from last season – Washington won a league-best 98 games, Cincinnati 97. They've gone to extra innings in five of their last 10 meetings.
The Nationals hit more homers on Saturday and sent Cincinnati to its second extra-inning loss of the week. The Reds also lost their opener to the Angels 3-1 in 13 innings on Monday, with Hoover giving up a pair of runs.
Harper connected on a two-run shot off Mike Leake in the third inning, his third homer of the season. Ramos added a two-run homer in the sixth, a pleasant moment in a ballpark where the catcher had his lowest point last season.
Ramos also homered at Great American Ball Park last year, but later tore cartilage in his right knee while chasing a passed ball. He needed two operations to get the knee healed and missed the rest of the season.
The homers on a windy, 57-degree afternoon continued the series' all-or-nothing trend. Washington made three errors to keep the Reds in it.
Todd Frazier had three hits and drove in two of Cincinnati's runs. He's the only Reds player to hit safely in all five games.
Choo, obtained from Cleveland in the offseason to bat leadoff, had a homer and a single, and was hit by a pitch for the fourth time in five games. He has reached base safely in 13 of his 25 plate appearances.
NOTES: The Reds honored Nationals manager Davey Johnson on the field before the game, presenting etched glassware among his gifts. Johnson, the NL Manager of the Year last season, led the Reds to the NL championship series in 1995. ... Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche got a day off. He's been bothered by a sore back and is 0 for 13, matching the worst start of his career. ... Votto is 5 for 18 this season with four singles and one RBI.
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