CINCINNATI (AP) - It would have been better for the Nationals if the lights would have just stayed out.
Miguel Cairo singled home the winning run with one out in the ninth inning Friday night, sending the Cincinnati Reds to a 4-3 victory over the Nationals in a game delayed because some of the lights went out.
Cairo's single to the gap in left-center was the third straight hit off Colin Balester (1-2), sending the Nationals to their fourth straight loss. The common theme: Wasted chances.
``When the big guys in your lineup come up cold, that's a little unnerving,' manager Davey Johnson said.
They scored a total of three runs while dropping their last three games. It was especially bad on Thursday, when they went 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position during an 8-1 loss to Arizona.
No better a day later. They had only one hit in 14 at_bats with runners in scoring position against the Reds - Wilson Ramos' homer in the fourth inning for a 3-1 lead.
What to do now?
``I have no clue,' said Michael Morse, who failed three times with runners in scoring position. ``We just keep playing. It's going to happen.'
A bank of lights behind first base went out in the top of the seventh with Morse at bat and a 2-2 count. The umpires talked to both managers and decided to continue. Morse took a called third strike on the next pitch, though he had no trouble seeing it.
``It was weird,' he said. ``I'm glad they got it up and running, though.'
Not for long. The game was halted when another light bank went dark in the eighth with hard-throwing left-hander Aroldis Chapman warming up, prompting a 17-minute delay.
``I don't remember it happening twice,' Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ``You don't want them to go out with Chapman on the mound. That's a dangerous situation. The crew did a great job.'
Ramos homered off left-hander Dontrelle Willis, who remained winless despite matching his career high with three hits. Francisco Cordero (5-3) escaped a scoring threat in the ninth.
Brandon Phillips had a pair of run-scoring singles on a night when the postgame fireworks were dedicated to his musical tastes. Todd Frazier tied it with a run-scoring single in the seventh off reliever Tom Gorzelanny.
Willis threw 123 pitches and had the 15th multihit game of his career, but couldn't get a win. The left-hander has become the Reds' hard-luck pitcher. The bullpen has blown a save in three of his starts. Plus, he gets the worst run support on the staff.
This time, he got the benefit of Washington's problems with runners on the bases.
``I thought he was very hittable,' Johnson said. ``He was out there a long time. I thought we'd get to him better than we did.'
Left fielder Jonny Gomes returned for the first time since the Reds traded him for two minor leaguers on July 26, the only deal that the defending NL Central champions made before the non-waiver deadline. He singled, walked, struck out and ground out.
The Reds dedicated their Friday night fireworks to Phillips, using his favorite summer tunes as the soundtrack. The second baseman got the 35,089 fans cheering with an RBI single in the second, when shortstop Ian Desmond's fielding error set up the unearned run. Phillips also singled home a run in the sixth.
NOTES: The Nationals placed RH reliever Ryan Mattheus on the 15-day DL with a strained pitching shoulder. A corresponding move is expected on Saturday. ... The Reds activated RH reliever Logan Ondrusek off the 15-day DL and optioned LHP Travis Wood to the minors. ... RH Mike Leake was the last Reds pitcher to get three hits in a game. He did it July 9, 2010 at Philadelphia. ... After their weekend series in Cincinnati, the Nationals go to Atlanta for three more games, avoiding Hurricane Irene. ... LHP Ross Detwiler starts Saturday for the Nationals. He ended a three-game losing streak on Monday by beating Arizona 4-1. ... Leake tries to become the Reds' first 11-game winner on Saturday. He's 2-1 in three career starts against the Nationals.
The Associated Press News Service
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