WASHINGTON (AP) — Eugenio Suarez could only watch and hope as the baseball headed toward the left-field foul pole.
“My first reaction was that I popped it up,” he said. “I hit it in front. I didn’t hit it well.”
The Reds’ shortstop got enough of it, though, to send it over the wall for a tiebreaking eighth-inning homer that provided Cincinnati with a 3-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Monday night.
Suarez went 3 for 4 with two RBIs to help the Reds snap a three-game skid and improve to 4-0 against Washington this year, clinching the season series.
With the score knotted at 2, Suarez hit a liner off Casey Janssen (0-2) that barely stayed fair inside the pole that stands 336 feet from home plate.
Recalled from the minors on June 11 after an injury sidelined starting shortstop Zack Cozart, Suarez is batting .329 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 21 games.
“He’s been a run-producer, not just getting hits but timely hits, driving in runs. He’s shown a little bit of power,” manager Bryan Price said. “That was a big one there.”
Manny Parra (1-1) worked the seventh and Aroldis Chapman got three outs for his 17th save. One of Chapman’s fastballs was clocked at 103 mph.
Danny Espinosa homered for the Nationals, who had won 12 of 15 overall and were unbeaten at home over nine games since June 18.
Washington starter Doug Fister gave up at least one hit in every one of his six innings but allowed only one earned run.
“For me, there’s some inconsistency there on the mound,” the right-hander said. “I’m not making quality pitches at times that are needed. Just fighting with myself a lot, trying to get the ball down, really trying to get in a rhythm, and it’s a battle for me.”
Nationals manager Matt Williams replaced the top two players in his starting lineup, center fielder Denard Span in the third inning and third baseman Yunel Escobar in the fifth.
“Denard left the game with a back spasm and Yunel left the game with left hamstring tightness,” said Williams, who was unwilling to speculate on the severity of the injuries.
Cincinnati went up 2-1 in the sixth. Marlon Byrd led off a with a drive off the top of the right-field wall that was initially called a double, then switched to a home run, then ruled a double again after a replay review. It didn’t matter much, because Suarez followed with an RBI single.
Espinosa tied it in the bottom half with his ninth home run, a shot to right on a 2-1 count.
After a 29-minute rain delay interrupted the first inning, the Reds scored an unearned run in the second on a two-out RBI double by starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, the No. 8 hitter.
Washington pulled even in the third when Matt den Dekker came home on a two-out wild pitch. He entered in the top half for Span.
ROSTER MOVES — Cincinnati called up OF Yorman Rodriguez from Triple-A Louisville and optioned RHP Josh Smith to Double-A Pensacola. Because the Reds currently employ a four-man rotation, “it could be a short stay,” Price said.
TRAINER’S ROOM — Reds: RHP Raisel Iglesias (left oblique strain) will likely make one more rehab start after he threw 68 pitches Sunday for Triple-A Louisville, Price said. … LHP Sean Marshall (shoulder surgery) was expected throw from 75 feet as he recovers from a May procedure. “I’m hoping he comes back and is able to help this organization before the year is out,” Price said.