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Votto's homer in 14th lifts Reds to sweep of Nats

Aug 28, 2011 - 11:22 PM Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Joey Votto smacked his second solo homer of the game leading off the 14th inning, lifting the Reds to a 5-4 victory and three-game sweep of the Nationals on Sunday.

Votto, who homered almost five hours earlier in the first inning, reached out to poke Collin Balester's 3-2 fastball over the left field wall for his 26th homer of the season.

Earlier, Yonder Alonso homered to lead off the ninth inning, tying the game at 4-4 for the Reds after they had coughed up a lead by allowing the Nationals to score once in the eighth and ninth.

Cincinnati swept the Nationals for the first time since taking four straight from July 3-6, 2008.

Washington has lost a season high-tying six straight games. The Nationals were 4-for-20 with runners in scoring position and are just 6-for-54 in their last four games.

Jay Bruce also had a solo homer for the Reds, who improved to 12-5 in their last 17 games and moved above .500 (67-66) for the first time since they were 43-42 on July 3.

The game went 5 hours and 15 minutes, but could have ended sooner if either team had capitalized on good scoring chances in extra innings.

"We had a number of chances," said Reds manager Dusty Baker, who was thrown out of the game, "and they had a number of chances."

To say the least.

Pitcher Livan Hernandez bunted as a pinch hitter in the 10th, but the Nationals wasted a bases-loaded situation when Ian Desmond lined into an unassisted double play. Washington squandered a first-and-second chance in the 11th inning and stranded Brian Bixler at third in the 12th after he hit a triple.

The Reds had runners at first and second in the 10th and 11th innings, but couldn't score. In the 12th, Drew Stubbs reached on Bixler's error but was called out stealing second.

Baker was ejected for arguing the call with second base umpire Chad Fairchild. Replays showed the shortstop Desmond may have missed the tag as he swiped at a sliding Stubbs. In the 13th, Dave Sappelt lined into a double play to end the inning for Cincinnati.

Innings earlier, the teams took better care to cash in scoring chances.

Jayson Werth battled Nick Masset for 10 pitches and finally laced a 96 mph fastball into center field to score Desmond in the ninth inning and give the Nationals a 4-3 lead. Werth, who went to second when Masset dropped the ball on the mound for a balk, was thrown out at third base on a grounder to short.

Alonso then homered off Nationals closer Drew Storen's second pitch in the bottom of the ninth, driving it over the wall in right-center to make it 4-4. Sappelt made the second out at third base trying to stretch a double into a triple, gunned down by a perfect throw from center fielder Rick Ankiel.

Bill Bray (4-2) pitched the 14th for the win, while Balester (1-3) took the loss after two-plus innings.

"This is just a tough one to lose," said Washington manager Davey Johnson.

Reds starter Johnny Cueto was in line for his 10th win of the season after striking out a career-high 11 batters in seven innings.

Cueto, who gave up nine hits and a walk, left with a 3-2 lead. But Aroldis Chapman coughed it up in the eighth when Ryan Zimmerman lined an RBI pinch-hit single into center field to tie the game at 3-3.

Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann lasted just 4 1/3 innings and was charged with three runs on six hits.

Cueto struck out the first two batters of the game, but gave up a single to Ankiel, a walk to Michael Morse and an RBI base hit to Danny Espinosa.

Votto lined his first homer of the game over the right field wall with two outs in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1. Bruce belted a high fastball over the wall in right-center to make it 2-1 in the fourth.

The Nationals tied the game at 2-2 with no outs in the fifth on three consecutive singles by Desmond, Werth and Ankiel, who got the RBI. In the inning, Morse grounded into a rare 3-6-1 double play, with Cueto scrambling to cover first base.

Cincinnati chased Zimmermann with a run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-2 edge. Cueto had a one-out base hit in the inning.

Before the Nationals rallied to tie the game in the eighth, the Reds blew a chance to add to their lead when Bruce lined into a bases-loaded double play to end the seventh inning.

Game Notes

Brandon Phillips was 2-for-5 and has hit in all 11 games since moving to the top of the Reds lineup...Cueto struck out 10 batters twice during his rookie season in 2008, including in his major league debut. He last did it July 22 that season against San Diego...The Nationals lost six straight games from July 23-29...The Reds won the season series 4-2.