Reds rally for series win behind Stubbs, Rolen
Starters come off the bench to down Nats in extra innings
WASHINGTON -- Even though the Reds' Scott Rolen, Jonny Gomes and Drew Stubbs were expecting a day off Sunday against the Nationals, the three were mentally prepared to lift their team even as they watched from the bench.
Manager Dusty Baker went as far as to call them "secret weapons" as they did most of the damage in the Reds' dramatic 5-4 victory before 27,202 at Nationals Park. After Gomes doubled to tie the game in the ninth, Rolen followed with a pinch-hit, two-run homer. The Reds gave up the lead in the bottom half, but Stubbs picked the club up by knocking in the winning run with a two-out single in the 10th.
With some of the regulars on the bench, Laynce Nix got the start in left field and went 3-for-5 and made a diving catch in the fifth inning.
"That's what you want, you want the guys who have not been playing much to come in and contribute," Baker said. "Then, you got the other guys who play a lot and pinch-hitting is not as foreign to them. You have to keep fighting and fighting and fighting until there is not another out left."
Cincinnati won the series against Washington and finished the six-game road trip 3-3. The Reds now return home for 10 consecutive games.
The Reds struggled against Nats starter Craig Stammen, who entered the game winless since April 19. While Stammen was not overpowering, finishing with just one strikeout and allowing seven hits, he was effective. Stammen did not allow a walk over 6 2/3 innings and threw 46 of his 66 pitches for strikes.
Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was equally effective, scattering six hits with five strikeouts and one walk over eight innings. Arroyo said he felt strong the entire game, despite the temperatures hovering around 90 degrees and the high humidity.
"To go deep in the game like that and give us a chance to win, you can't ask for anything more that that," Arroyo said. "It was a good win for the team. Obviously, you want to win two out of three in every series you can. It was nice to go home like this."
Francisco Cordero got the win for the Reds and Doug Slaten took the loss for Washington.
Heading into Sunday, Cincinnati led the National League in several offensive categories. However, it took the Reds almost the entire game to get the offense going against Washington.
Trailing, 2-1, in the ninth, Stubbs doubled to set up Gomes' game-tying hit. Gomes said different players for the Reds have come up big this season, and that tenacity has been one of the team's biggest strengths.
"We've had few, if you want call them heroes, and that stuff is contagious," Gomes said. "It just gives us hope and gives us a chance. Again, it's always easier to do something again when you've already done it. We've come from behind and won some games in last at-bats. We know we have that ability, and you saw this team has a real deep bench and a real deep bullpen."
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the first when Joey Votto singled home Orlando Cabrera, who had a leadoff double. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom half of the frame on an RBI single by Ryan Zimmerman.
The Nationals took the lead when Ian Desmond's double missed being a two-run home run by a few inches, and Roger Bernadina scored from first.
Washington's Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard were effective out of the bullpen, maintaining the lead in the seventh and eighth innings. But Nats closer Matt Capps gave the lead away in the ninth.
"It's nice to come back twice," said Rolen, who has 14 home runs. "That 10th inning was huge, with three really good at-bats. I loosened up in the fourth and fifth. I try to stay off when I can to recover a bit. But I'm not going to be not ready. I was ready to pinch-hit. We swung at good pitches and put some pressure on their defense."
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.