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Votto powers Reds past Nationals

August 28, 2011

CINCINNATI (AP) — Those two home runs aside, Joey Votto thought he had a pretty lousy day at the plate.

He hit a tying shot in the first and led off the 14th inning with his second homer to give the Cincinnati Reds a 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals on Sunday.

“It didn’t feel like a great day with the bat for me but I end up with a couple homers and a couple walks. It’s such an odd game sometimes,” Votto said.

Votto has hit longer home runs but few as effective.

“The first home run just scraped out of the ballpark and then the last one kind of the same thing but I didn’t feel very good today.”

Reds pinch-hitter Yonder Alonso opened the ninth with a home run off Drew Storen, making it 4-all.

Votto hit a full-count pitch from Collin Balester (1-3) into the left-field bleachers to push the Reds over .500 for the first time since July 3.

The second winning homer of his career sent the Nationals to a sixth straight loss, tying their season high.

“It’s a shame there wasn’t a runner in scoring position or we could have walked him,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.

Johnny Cueto and five Reds relievers combined for 19 strikeouts, tying the team record. Cueto fanned 11 in seven innings.

Bill Bray (4-2) allowed one hit in the 14th to get the win.

“We’re always talking about picking each other up,” Baker said. “The bullpen has picked us up a lot of times. We had a number of chances and they had a number of chances.”

Baker, Johnson and Washington bench coach Pat Corrales all were ejected.

The Nationals loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 10th, but Ian Desmond lined to shortstop Edgar Renteria, who stepped on second for an unassisted double play.

Cueto maintained his NL ERA lead despite allowing a season-high nine hits. He gave up two runs and finished the day with a 2.05 ERA — up from the 2.03 figure he took into the game. Cueto hit two batters and walked one.

Washington pushed across a run with two outs in the first on Danny Espinosa’s single.

Votto tied it in the first and Jay Bruce put the Reds ahead in the fourth with his 28th homer.

The Nationals strung together consecutive inning-opening singles by Desmond, Jayson Werth and Rick Ankiel to make it 2-all in the fifth.

Washington starter Jordan Zimmerman walked Fred Lewis with the bases loaded to give the Reds a 3-2 lead.

Zimmerman, making what is expected to be his last start of the season, allowed six hits and three runs with one walk and six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. He had made 25 starts and pitched 161 1/3 innings in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2009.

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, 3 for 25 (.120) over his last six games, didn’t start for the Nationals, but he tied it in the eighth by driving in Espinosa from second base with a two-out, pinch-hit single off Aroldis Chapman.

Werth singled in the ninth inning to give the Nationals the lead, but Alonso tied it with his third homer since being called up from Triple-A Louisville on July 26. Storen has blown five of 39 save opportunities.

“I faced him last week and he came right at me,” Alonso said. “I get a lot of work in the cage and I try to stay positive.”¿

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