Votto hits 3 HRs, including walk-off slam

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 13, 2012
Joey Votto hit a grand slam in the ninth inning for his third home run of the game, rallying the Cincinnati Reds to a rain-delayed 9-6 victory over the Washington Nationals on Sunday. Votto hit solo homers in his first two at-bats and finished a big day with his second career slam with two outs in the ninth. Washington came into the game with only 15 homers allowed all season, fewest in the majors. Votto broke out of his power drought and helped the Reds avoid a sweep with three perfect swings. The last one came against struggling closer Henry Rodriguez (1-3), who had trouble with his control on the wet mound. Rodriguez walked two batters to load the bases with two outs, then left a 2-2 pitch up and over the plate to Votto. The 2010 NL MVP hadn't homered since April 30 and had only two coming into the game. He finished with a career-high six RBI and the second three-homer game of his career. Sean Marshall (1-2) got the win at the end of a long day. The start was delayed 3 hours, 36 minutes by rain, which fell throughout the 3-hour, 45-minute game. A few thousand fans were left to see Cincinnati's first game-ending grand slam since Adam Dunn connected off Cleveland's Bob Wickman on June 30, 2006. Ahead 6-3, the Nationals couldn't close out what would have been their first three-game sweep of the season. The Reds got two runs in the eighth when rookie right fielder Bryce Harper lost Jay Bruce's two-out fly ball in the lights, letting it fall way behind him for a double. Washington lost despite getting 16 hits on a wet, raw day. The Nationals completed a painful one-week trip. Right fielder Jayson Werth had surgery on his broken left wrist Monday, and Harper needed 10 stitches for a self-inflicted gash above his left eye on Friday after he hurt himself slamming a bat against a wall near the dugout. Catcher Wilson Ramos tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while chasing a passed ball Saturday night. Despite sending 11 players to the disabled list already this season, the Nationals had managed to stay atop the NL East because of their pitching staff, which leads the majors. For one of the few times, it let them down, and Washington dropped into second place behind Atlanta. Neither starter was particularly effective after the long wait on a chilling, 62-degree afternoon. A postponement would have forced the Nationals to return on a day off to make it up. Notes: The Nationals headed out for a seven-game homestand, including two games each against San Diego and Pittsburgh and three against Baltimore. The Reds left for an unusual seven-game trip: Atlanta for two games, then on to New York for two against the Mets and three against the Yankees. ... The Nationals called up C Sandy Leon from Double-A Harrisburg. ... Harper wore a bandage over his left eye for the second straight game and had a pair of singles, ending his 0-for-9 slump in Cincinnati. ... Reds 3B Mike Costanzo, called up to replace injured Scott Rolen, made his big league debut as a pinch-hitter in the fifth and hit a sacrifice fly on the first pitch.
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