- Associated Press - Sunday, June 5, 2016

CINCINNATI — With the bases loaded and nobody out in the ninth inning, Jonathan Papelbon was clinging to a one-run lead.

He was still confident he could slam the door.

The Washington Nationals’ closer was right. He picked up three consecutive outs to keep the potential tying run at third base and preserve a 10-9 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

“We always talk about staying in the moment,” Papelbon said. “My motto is, ‘Bend but don’t break.’ I couldn’t get a feel for my slider early, but as the inning progressed, I got better feel for it.”

Daniel Murphy hit a home run and had three RBI and Wilson Ramos also went deep for the Nationals (34-23), who overcame an early five-run deficit and then nearly squandered a five-run cushion themselves.

Murphy, Ramos and Bryce Harper each had three hits to help Washington salvage the finale of a three-game series and snap a four-game winning streak for the Reds (21-36).

Papelbon entered in the ninth inning to protect a 10-8 lead and immediately found himself in trouble. Tyler Holt singled, Joey Votto walked and Brandon Phillips hit an RBI double.

Jay Bruce was intentionally walked to load the bases with nobody out, but the Reds were unable to tie the score. Adam Duvall popped up, pinch-hitter Zack Cozart struck out and Papelbon secured his 15th save in 17 tries when Ivan De Jesus Jr. flied out to deep left-center.

Bruce hit a three-run home run in the seventh for the last-place Reds.
Washington left-hander Sammy Solis (1-1) struck out a career-high six in three innings of relief.

“Solis was awesome,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “He did an awesome job. He saved our bullpen and allowed me to mix and match at the end.”

The teams took turns sending 10 batters to the plate in five-run innings. Cincinnati scored five in the second, three when DeJesus hit a two-run double to left field that was bobbled by Ben Revere as it bounced off the wall, allowing a third run to score on the error.

The Nationals matched their season high for runs allowed in an inning. They also gave up five in the third inning on May 23 against the New York Mets.

Washington starter Tanner Roark lasted only three innings, the shortest of his 60 career starts.

Murphy hit a two-run shot and Ramos followed with a home run in Washington’s five-run fourth, the Nationals’ sixth set of back-to-back home runs this season.

Pinch-hitter Stephen Drew had an RBI single and Revere, who was 0-for-17 over the first five games of Washington’s road trip, tied the score with a single to right.

“We stacked some good at-bats on top of each other,” Murphy said. “We grinded out some at-bats.”

Cincinnati’s Jon Moscot lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving him a total of 5 2/3 innings pitched over his last two starts.

“I have to do a better job at limiting the damage,” Moscot said. “I looked at the pitches they hit out. They weren’t exactly where I wanted them. I didn’t get the ball in far enough on Murphy. He’s one of the hottest hitters in the league.”

The score was tied at 5-5 in the fifth when the Nationals loaded the bases with nobody out against Daniel Wright (0-2). Anthony Rendon hit a potential double-play ball to third baseman Eugenio Suarez, but catcher Tucker Barnhart couldn’t handle Suarez’s throw, allowing two runs to score on Barnhart’s error.

Clint Robinson’s sacrifice fly made it 8-5. Murphy and Ramos added RBI singles in the sixth.

The Nationals are off Monday before opening a three-game road series against the Chicago White Sox. Right-hander Joe Ross is scheduled to make his first career start against Chicago, who is set to send James Shields to the mound for the first time. Chicago acquired Shields from the San Diego Padres in a trade on Saturday.

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