Strasburg limps off, Nationals lose to Reds 6-3
CINCINNATI (AP) Two rain delays and a cramp in Stephen Strasburg's calf contributed to the end of an amazing streak.
Strasburg gave up Joey Votto's two-run homer and limped off the field a few pitches later because of a cramp in his right calf, the worst moment in Washington's long day. The Cincinnati Reds rallied and overcame a pair of rain delays while beating the Nationals 6-3 on Saturday for their fourth straight win.
The Nationals had won Strasburg's last 15 starts, which was the longest active streak in the major leagues. Now the NL East leaders have concerns about whether their ace will have to miss some time.
''I just got real dehydrated out there,'' said Strasburg, who threw 97 pitches on a muggy, 77-degree afternoon. ''It just kind of grabbed me a little bit on a pitch to (Brandon) Phillips. I got some treatment on it and it feels fine.''
The Nationals have been at their worst when they've played the Reds in the last two seasons, with Cincinnati winning seven of their eight games.
Adam Duvall hit Shawn Kelley's fourth pitch for a tiebreaking three-run homer following a 64-minute rain delay in the bottom of the eighth, extending Cincinnati's best winning streak of the season.
''No alibis, no excuses,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''He just hung a slider, and that's what hot hitters do.''
Strasburg has won his last 12 decisions and was holding a 2-1 lead when a cloudburst caused a 21-minute delay to the start of the sixth inning. Strasburg walked Zack Cozart to start the bottom of the inning, gave up Votto's homer, and grabbed his right calf on a pitch to Phillips. Baker and a trainer visited him on the mound and let him face one more batter.
''You could see him grabbing it, rubbing it,'' Baker said. ''I'm just glad it's not a calf strain or a pull.''
Jay Bruce also homered off Strasburg, who fanned 10 and became the first Nationals pitcher to strike out 1,000 in his career.
''I felt good out there,'' Strasburg said. ''I've been kind of going through a stretch where I've been throwing a lot of pitches each inning.''
Anthony Rendon hit a two-run homer off Reds starter Dan Straily, who gave up only two hits in seven innings. Danny Espinosa tied it with a solo shot in the eighth off Ross Ohlendorf (4-4).
The Reds got runners on first and third with two outs against Felipe Rivero (0-2) when rain prompted the second delay. One hour and 4 minutes later, Duvall connected off Kelley for his team-high 16th homer.
Tony Cingrani retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save in nine chances.
The Reds have won five of six with their offense finally coming around. They've scored 46 runs with 18 homers in those six games.
Strasburg was on pace to become the majors' first 10-game winner until the delay knocked him out of his rhythm. He fanned five Reds in a row over one stretch and allowed only two hits before the delay.
The Reds had a few moments of silence before the game for Muhammad Ali, who was honored on the field at Great American Ball Park before the 2009 Civil Rights Game. Dusty Baker managed the Reds then.
''A tremendous loss,'' Baker said. ''There was a time when I was a teenager and I was going through some turmoils in my life and some turmoils in the country. Muhammad Ali gave us all - especially young black men - a sense of pride and a sense of strength.''
The Reds gave Baker and outfielder Chris Heisey individualized photo books depicting their years with the Reds. Baker managed the Reds from 2008-13. Heisey was drafted by the Reds in 2006 and played in Cincinnati through 2014.
Nationals: 2B Trea Turner was on the bench as planned, but was used as a pinch runner. He was called up Friday, started against a left-hander and had three hits.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey threw in the bullpen without problem. Bailey had to back off his rehab work last month because of soreness in his right elbow, which underwent Tommy John surgery 13 months ago.
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (4-4) has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last three starts.
Reds: RHP Jon Moscot (0-2) makes his second start since returning from soreness in his left shoulder. Last Tuesday, he gave up seven runs and four homers in two innings of a 17-4 loss in Colorado.
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