April 21, 2021

Washington Nationals Game 46 Review: Reds’ Simon Outpitches Roark in Nats’ 2-1 Loss

In a pitchers’ duel where run support is hard to come by, one inning can make or break the outcome of a day’s work.

And, on an early-evening-turned-late-evening by a 61-minute rain delay, Cincinnati Reds starter Alfredo Simon merely outpitched Washington Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark as the Nats fell 2-1 at home.

Nats’ center fielder Denard Span continued to love the leadoff spot as he powered a solo shot over the right-field wall in the bottom of the first, giving the Nats an early 1-0 run.

The Nats had a solid opportunity to tack on a run or two in the second after Ian Desmond and Tyler Moore hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. Danny Espinosa popped up to shortstop Zack Cozart for the first out before Nate McLouth walked to load the bases.

But, as luck would have it, Roark himself came to bat next, only to ground into a double play and foil his own opportunity to retake the mound with a significant lead.

Roark retired the side in the third, but found himself in a jam in the fourth after Cozart doubled and scored on a single by Brandon Phillips. Devin Mesoraco then reached on a force attempt and fielding error by third baseman Kevin Frandsen.

Todd Frazier flied out for out number two, but Phillips advanced to third on the plate. Then, Brayan Pena singled Phillips home to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.

It was fairly smooth sailing for both starters from then on until Mother Nature called the game to a halt. Both Roark and Simon returned after the 61-minute hiatus, but Roark found himself in a jam.

After Frazier walked to start the sixth and advanced on Pena’s grounder, he grew too greedy and attempted to steal third, to no avail. From there, however, Chris Heisey singled on a sharp grounder to left before former Nat Roger Bernadina drew a walk.

Fortunately for Roark, Simon stepped to the plate in the nine-spot and grounded softly to end the inning without allowing a run to score.

But, while the Reds found a way to threaten, the Nats continued to come up empty – retiring in order in the sixth and tallying back-to-back strikeouts to start the seventh.

Jonathan Broxton relieved Simon in the eighth, allowing just a single to Span and nothing more.

In the ninth, the Nats’ offense had no added luck against Neftali Soto, who retired Desmond, Moore and Espinosa in order.

By day’s end, Roark’s 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB and 2K proved too little.

About Alyssa Wolice

Alyssa Wolice is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Nationals and Wizards. As a former production assistant, she covered the Nationals, Redskins, Capitals, Wizards, D.C. United and local collegiate teams. You can follow Alyssa on Twitter @awolice.

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