By HAL McCOY
There were no extra-curricular histrionics Sunday afternoon in Nationals Park — just another Cincinnati Reds loss, 2-1, to the Washington Nationals.
Joey Votto didn’t start the game, but it wasn’t because of a sore knee after he was hit by a Ryan Madson pitch Saturday night.
The off-day for Votto was pre-planned. And after Votto kept shouting at Madson Saturday night after he was hit, he took the high road Sunday morning and said, “My reaction is that getting hit by a pitch is just a part of the game.”
Votto did pinch-hit with two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning and when he appeared out of the dugout the fans booed big-time.
And they cheered loudly when he took a called third strike to end the game, the 11th straight Cincinnati hitter to make an out.
So the Reds lost three of four in Washington after losing two in Detroit, giving them a 1-and-5 record on the trip as they head to New York for three games against the Mets.
Washington starter Tanner Roark entered the game with a 5-and-12 record, an extremely deceiving 5-and-12. He held the Reds to one run and seven hits over seven innings and has given up two runs in his last three starts over 22 innings.
Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo pitched another decent game, but received no offensive support. The difference was that Castillo needed 88 pitches to cover 5 1/3 innings, the same amount of pitches Roark used to pitch seven innings.
Washington scored its first run in the second when catcher and No. 7 batter Matt Wieters, batting .195, pulled a two-out 408-foot home run into the right field seats.
The Nats made it 2-0 in the third on Adam Eaton’s infield roller in front of home plate, a walk and Bryce Harper’s opposite field bloop double down the left field line.
The Reds punched four straight hits to open the fourth for a run and had the bases loaded with no outs. But Tucker Barnhart popped to short, Brandon Dixon struck out and Castillo flied to right.
The inning began with four straight singles by Phillip Ervin, Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez and a run-scoring single by Mason Williams who had five hits in the last two games.
Suarez singled with one out in the sixth and that was it. No other Cincinnati batter reached base, 11 up 11 down.
Ryan Madson, the pitcher who hit Votto Saturday, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth. Madson is the same guy whom the Reds signed to be the team’s closer in 2013.
But he was injured during spring training and never threw a pitch for the Reds for his $6 million. And that’s the reason Aroldis Chapman was pulled from the rotation in the spring of 2013 and turned into a closer.
Washington closer Kelvin Herrera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, catching Votto looking at a 2-and-2 pitch to end it.
While the Mets are struggling, the Reds face a daunting task. On Monday they will face Noah Syndergaard and on Wednesday they will face Jacob deGrom.