05/13/12 11:52 PM ET
Nationals break out pink for Mother's Day
By Kevin Goheen / Special to MLB.com
Among those who donned pink were Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Chad Tracy.
Harper went 2-for-5 and scored a pair of runs in the 9-6 loss to the Reds. His single to left field in the second inning broke a 0-for-9 streak through in the first two games in Cincinnati. Harper had struck out four times in those first nine at-bats.
"I've been feeling great at the plate, even the past couple of games, [even] if I had been struggling or not. But I've felt great at the plate," said Harper.
Desmond had two hits in his six at-bats, including a double in the third inning.
Pinch-hitter Tracy came up in the seventh inning and delivered a single that produced his seventh RBI off the bench this season.
Leon called up after Ramos placed on DL
CINCINNATI -- Sandy Leon had just left Canal Park in Akron on Saturday night when his phone rang. The catcher for Double-A Harrisburg was asked to return to the stadium, so he that's what he did.
That's when Leon got the news that he was packing his bags for the Major Leagues. Leon, 23, takes the roster spot of Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, who tore the ACL in his right knee on Saturday night. Ramos was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will require surgery. There has been no official determination on how much time Ramos will miss, but it is unlikely he will be able to play again this season.
"When they called me, they didn't tell me [about Ramos]," Leon said. "I just found out early in the morning. I just talked to him in the training room. It's tough. He's from Venezuela and he's my friend. It's bad for him, but great for me."
Leon will be the backup to Jesus Flores. A switch-hitter, Leon hit .319 with 10 doubles, one home run and 12 RBIs in 27 games for Harrisburg. He also threw out 12 of 29 would-be basestealers this season, and has thrown out 51 percent (133 of 261) over the last three seasons.
"He's a good young catcher. We're very fortunate that he didn't get claimed over the winter," said manager Davey Johnson. "He's a switch-hitter. I like his bat from both sides, and he's an outstanding receiver. He's another one of our good young depth in catching."
Leon received the news of his callup around midnight. The late hour didn't prevent him from calling home to tell his parents the good news.
"They were awake. I don't know how, but they were awake. They started crying," said Leon. "My mom asked, 'What happened? What happened?' But I said, 'No, mom, I went to the big leagues.' She handed my dad the phone and started crying. It was pretty awesome."
Ohio native Stammen gets chance to see mom
CINCINNATI -- Craig Stammen is grateful to the Major League Baseball schedule makers. The Nationals' reliever is from Coldwater, Ohio, about a two-hour drive north of Cincinnati. That made this Mother's Day better than most.
"It worked out real nicely," said Stammen. "It was nice to get up and give my mom a big kiss this morning and wish her a Happy Mother's Day. Usually, with us being on the road, we don't get a chance to do that, so it was really nice to be able to do that today."
Stammen said he had more friends and family make the trip south this weekend than he could count. He pitched 2 1/3 innings Friday night in Washington's 7-3 victory, allowing one run on two hits with three strikeouts. For the season, Stammen is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in 13 appearances. He was part of the starting rotation in 2009 and '10, but now has a role in bullpen.
"It was definitely a fun outing. It was my first outing here in Cincinnati," said Stammen. "I missed it a couple of times when I was in the rotation, but it was enjoyable to get to pitch in front of a kind of home crowd. It's nice to have some people cheering for me on the road."
Nationals pitchers have struck out the Reds 67 times in six games this season, including 26 in the first two games of this series in Cincinnati. They have had double-digit strikeout totals in five of the first six games; the only exception was when Edwin Jackson had nine strikeouts on April 14 in a 4-1 complete-game victory.
A win in Sunday's series finale would give the Nationals their second sweep of the season. Washington's last sweep against the Reds came on Aug. 1-3, 2008, in Washington. The last time the franchise swept a series in Cincinnati was in 1992, when it was playing in Montreal.
Kevin Goheen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.