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(Thursday, April 12th)
Final Score: Washington 3, Cincinnati 2 (10 innings)
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Ryan Zimmerman slid across the plate with the winning run on a wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning, sending the Washington Nationals to a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the opener of a four-game series Thursday.
Zimmerman led off the inning and was hit on the arm by Reds' reliever Alfredo Simon. He advanced to second on a one-out single to left by Jayson Werth, then moved to third on a groundout by Xavier Nady.
Facing Roger Bernadina, Simon (0-1) bounced a breaking ball that got away from catcher Devin Mesoraco, allowing the winning run to score.
"We're off to a good start, but we have a long way to go," Zimmerman said. "I think the strength of this team is pitching and defense. The defense has been a little sub par, but the pitching has been great."
Craig Stammen (1-0) struck out the side in the top of the 10th to pick up the victory after Washington blew a 2-0 lead in the ninth.
Adam LaRoche went 2-for-5 with a two-run single and Ian Desmond was 3-for-5 with a run scored for the Nats, who are 5-2 and off to their best seven-game start since moving from Montreal in 2005.
Starter Gio Gonzalez was fantastic in his first home start of the season, going seven shutout innings and giving up just two hits while striking out seven without issuing a walk.
"He was really good," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Today he threw a whole bunch of fastballs, so perhaps he's changed his philosophy coming from the American League to the National League, but he was good."
The Reds, who have dropped three of their last four and fell to 3-4 on the season, tied the game against Nats closer Brad Lidge in the ninth.
Lidge coaxed a groundout from Zack Cozart to start the inning, but then got into trouble by walking Joey Votto and giving up a double down the left field line to Scott Rolen to put runners on second and third.
Washington elected to intentionally walk Jay Bruce, loading the bases with one down for Ryan Luckwick, who sent a sharp ground ball to third that just snuck under the glove of Zimmerman to plate both runners and tie the game at two.
Earlier, Washington broke a scoreless tie in the fifth. Gonzalez dunked a single into center field, Desmond slapped one up the middle and Danny Espinosa worked a walk to load the bases with one out.
After Zimmerman grounded into a fielder's choice, LaRoche picked up his teammate with a two-run single up the middle to give the Nats a 2-0 advantage.
Gonzalez has allowed just one unearned run in two career starts against the Reds...Cincinnati starter Mat Latos yielded two runs on five hits and three walks in five innings...Gonzalez's hit was his first in the majors.
04/12 19:35:19 ET