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CIN@WSH: Arroyo blanks the Nationals over 7 1/3

WASHINGTON -- Reds manager Dusty Baker was strapped for a fresh arm out of the bullpen on Friday night. But the real issue that came out of another heartbreaker in extra innings was just how strapped the lineup is for hits.

That the Reds were able to carry the game into the 13th inning before losing a 2-1 decision to the Nationals is a testament to their pitching staff.

"That was a tough one right there tonight," a down Baker said postgame.

Closer Sean Marshall, the Reds' sixth pitcher of the night, took over in the bottom of the 13th inning. With one out, Danny Espinosa reached on a broken-bat infield hit to shortstop Zack Cozart. Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche then walked to load the bases.

Cincinnati brought its infield and outfield in for Jayson Werth, who hit a sharp grounder through the middle for the game-ender that gave Washington the first two games of the four-game series.

"I didn't make the pitches I wanted," Marshall said. "I walked those two batters. When you do that late in the game, they come back to bite you. That's what it did."

So did this: The Reds, who are now batting .204 as a team, mustered only five hits all night, and five walks. The top five spots in the batting order were a combined 2-for-26, with Joey Votto accounting for the two hits, and three of the walks. For the fourth time this season, the offense was held to two runs or less, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and leaving 10 men on base.

"You don't like it, and the guys don't like it," Baker said. "We're a long ways from worrisome about it."

Starter Bronson Arroyo pretty much did it all for the Reds while he was in the game, except get a win. Arroyo pitched brilliantly into the eighth inning, got his team's first hit with a third-inning single, and drove in its only run with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly, yet he came up empty in the win column.

Over his 7 1/3 scoreless innings, Arroyo gave up three hits and one walk while striking out four. With 94 pitches after getting Wilson Ramos to ground out, Arroyo was lifted in the eighth for lefty Bill Bray when left-handed pinch-hitter Chad Tracy entered for the Nationals.

"We talked about it the inning before," Arroyo said. "I wasn't real strong, even to start the game. My pitch count was real low, but he just needed me to get the righty out."

Upon Bray's entrance, Washington countered with righty hitter Xavier Nady. On a 1-0 pitch, Nady drove a ball that barely cleared the left-field fence and Ryan Ludwick's glove for the game-tying home run.

"That's the way it goes, man," Arroyo said. "When it's 1-0, it's always a nailbiter as far as getting a win. It's tough. Getting into the eighth, I felt good about that situation. Guys in the 'pen have been throwing the ball good."

However, the guys in the bullpen have been throwing a lot, too. Both Sam LeCure and Jose Arredondo threw two innings in the 10-inning loss on Thursday and were deemed unavailable. Baker did not use Aroldis Chapman in the eighth because he had throw 35 pitches two days earlier vs. St. Louis.

"We were hoping we'd get through that eighth and get to Marshall in the ninth. It just didn't work," Baker said.

Logan Ondrusek replaced Bray after the Nady homer and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Trying to avoid using Marshall until the lead was taken and a save situation developed, Baker reluctantly turned to Chapman and got a nine-pitch perfect 10th inning.

Alfredo Simon, the Reds reliever who threw a game-ending wild pitch that scored Washington's winninh run in the 10th inning on Thursday, was back again from the spent visitor's bullpen. Simon pitched a one-walk but scoreless 11th inning.

In the bottom of the 12th against Simon, Roger Bernadina drew a one-out walk and stole second base. Ramos grounded to shortstop, where Cozart noticed Bernadina rounding third base. Cozart threw to third base as Bernadina turned around, which started a rundown. While Bernadina was tagged out, Ramos hustled to third base with two outs.

With some remaining fans chanting "wild pitch," Simon got Steve Lombardozzi looking at strike three to end the threat.

"That was one shining light," Baker said. "[Simon] threw the ball well, big time. We needed it. We talked about it today, to try and get him out there as soon as possible. We didn't know it would be two innings."

Finally, after pinch-hitting for Simon in the top of the 13th, Baker's last man standing was Marshall.

"We were out there for a long time," Werth said. "You play that long and not get a win, that would hurt. We are lucky to get the win."

Baker wasn't ready to address whether the Reds would seek a fresh arm from Triple-A Louisville.

"I don't know," he said. "We just lost a tough one." Comments