Franco: H4, Castillo loses and Nationals beat Reds

Patrick Corbin pitched six effective innings, Josh Bell hit a two-run double and catcher Kelbert Ruiz pulled Nick Senzel off first base to close out the game as the Washington Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Sunday.

Ruiz threw behind Senzel to Bell. His dive tag and Senzel’s dive back to first raised a cloud of dirt, but first base umpire Andy Fletcher made the call that survived a Reds challenge and video review.

"That was a strange play, a lot of dirt"Bell said with a smile. "That was a fun way to end".

"I saw him take a big lead"Ruiz said through an interpreter. "Me and (Bell) just looked at each other and started playing".

Nationals manager Dave Martinez called it "an incredibly hand-to-hand play".

Senzel believed that Fletcher made a mistake on the call and blamed himself.

"It should never happen, but that was a called design move. They made a good move, but it never should have happened… I was safe"Senzel said. "he never tagged me".

Reds manager David Bell said the players "have to be aware of a lot" in that situation and what happens, but "it’s not an excuse".

Earlier in the game, Maikel Franco homered for the first time since May 14 and Washington capitalized on two Cincinnati errors in the fourth inning.

The three-game losing streak is the Reds’ longest since losing nine in a row in late April and early May. Washington’s three-game winning streak follows a four-game losing streak.

"There is no easy way to lose when they are trying their best to win games"Bell said. "The appearance is that everything is reduced to a move. That is not the case at all. There are a lot of things that went into what happened this weekend".

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Corbin (2-8) overcame Cincinnati’s nine hits and three runs in the first inning in the first to surrender five scoreless innings. Corbin, who walked nobody and struck out five, allowed 21 hits in 10 1/3 innings in his last two starts.

"He did a great job fighting back from giving up three runs"Martinez said, adding that it was crucial that Corbin make six. "We needed that input. Our bullpen is trashed. He gave us what we needed".

Victor Arano and Erasmo Ramirez combined to pitch the seventh and eighth before Stephen Cishek bested a walk and an infield hit from Senzel for his first save since 2019, when he was with the Cubs.

Luis Castillo (2-3) made his sixth start and allowed a season-high four walks in 6 1/3 innings while falling to 0-5 in six career starts against the Nationals. Castillo allowed six hits and five runs, three earned, with six strikeouts.

For the Nationals, Franco, a solo homer in four at-bats, Nelson Cruz 4-1 and Juan Soto 4-0.

In the lost cause, Aristides Aquino 2-1.

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