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Nick Senzel homers in extras as Reds sweep Nationals in 5-4 victory

That’ll be a 4-game sweep!

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Nick Senzel has had quite the bounce back season in 2023. After an injury-plagued career, he has taken on new roles and done what he can to help a team that has been on fire lately. He played three different positions and played a crucial role in the field and at the plate to help the Cincinnati Reds secure a 5th straight victory, and a 4-game sweep over the Washington Nationals this afternoon. He only had 1 hit on the day, but it was a huge one as his 2-run home run to lead off the top of the 10th was the difference in the game. It came immediately after he made an acrobatic catch in right field that, if it had fallen for a hit, would have most certainly been a win for the Nationals. For that, he earns this afternoon’s Joe Nuxhall Memorial Honorary Star of the Game award.

There is something about Brandon Williamson, the DMV area, and starting a game immediately before a rain delay. In the 2nd time in the last 2 weeks, the Reds’ lefty had another start interrupted by a rain delay, as the skies opened up in the top of the 2nd and put things on pause for the next hour and a half or so. Williamson came back out in the bottom of the 2nd when the game continued, but he only lasted another inning. It’s another unfortunate outing for Williamson, who looked to be pitching pretty well in the first couple of innings.

The Reds were the first on the board as Kevin Newman singled home Will Benson, who walked and advanced to 2nd on a fielders choice earlier in the inning, in the top of the 3rd. The Nationals were able to take the lead back in the bottom of the 5th on a 2-RBI single by Lane Thomas, but the Reds quickly tied it in the 6th on a RBI double by Elly De La Cruz (who else?).

Joey Votto had a chance to play heroics in the top of the 8th. After getting the afternoon off, he was called upon to pinch hit for Curt Casali. With the Reds trailing 3-2, and Will Benson standing on 2nd, Joey would line a single to right to tie the game at 3-3.

The 9th is where things got hairy. With 1 out in the bottom of the 9th, Riley Adams smoked a double to center. That brought up CJ Abrams, who got a hold of a ball that looked to be over the head of Senzel. But Senzel lept into the wall to make the catch and keep Adams on 2nd. I mean, look at this.

A fly out to left by Alex Call would send the game into extras. Enter, again, Nick Senzel. With Tyler Stephenson on 2nd as the ghost runner, Senzel took the first pitch he saw and sent it over the bullpen in left to give the Reds a 5-3 lead.

That ended up being incredibly important, as Reds’ closer Alexis Diaz ran into some trouble in the 10th. A passed ball moved Alex Call to third and then a single by Lane Thomas would cut the lead to 5-4. Diaz would then hit Jeimer Candelario to put runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. But a strikeout, a ground out, and a fly out would end the game and give the Reds a 5-4 victory.

Tony Graphanino

[Link to interactive WPA chart and box score, via FanGraphs]

Other Notes

  • It was announced earlier today that Tony Santillan would be activated from the 60-day IL. He ended up pitching a scoreless bottom of the 9th, making it the first time he’s appeared in a Major League game in over a year. Welcome back, Tony!
  • This win was even more important, as the Brewers held on to defeat the Cubs this afternoon. That keeps the Reds 2 games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central, setting up a massive series in Milwaukee starting tomorrow.
  • Speaking of, the Reds will be starting Andrew Abbott (4-0, 1.21) in Milwaukee as he looks to continue his torrid start to the season. He’ll face off against Corbin Burnes (6-5, 4.00). First pitch is slated for 8:10 PM EDT. Go Fucking Reds.
  • Tunes.