WASHINGTON -- The Nationals didn't get a stellar performance from left-hander Ross Detwiler on Sunday afternoon, but they were able to show they could come back from a five-run deficit before eventually falling to the Reds, 8-5, in 11 innings at Nationals Park.
Washington had its five-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-3 on the season.
The game was tied at 5 when the Reds scored three runs in the 11th inning off reliever Tyler Clippard. With one out, Joey Votto doubled over the head of left fielder Mark DeRosa, scoring Drew Stubbs and Zack Cozart. Votto then scored on a single by Scott Rolen.
The Nationals had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the 11th against Reds closer Sean Marshall, but they were unable to do any damage.
"I'm just glad we won and got out of here by the skin of our teeth," said Reds manager Dusty Baker "It wasn't easy until the end. They were battling. They are playing good, inspired baseball, and are getting what they need."
After the game, it was revealed that Clippard has been dealing with shoulder discomfort. Manager Davey Johnson said he wanted used Clippard only in an emergency situation. It turned out that Sunday was an emergency.
"He said he was OK today," Johnson said. "From what I gather, he has it every spring. This kind of lingered a little longer. Yesterday, he had a little trouble getting loose, but today, he felt fine."
Clippard downplayed the fact that he was dealing with shoulder issues.
"It's just normal stuff I've been going through my whole career," Clippard said. "Nothing out of the ordinary. I felt really good today. I've been feeling good every outing. It's early in the season. I think [the team has] been doing a good job of looking out for me. I can't ask for anything more."
The Nationals were behind the eight ball in the first inning and there were two calls in that inning that would come back to haunt them. With a runner on first, Rolen hit a ball to shortstop Ian Desmond, who threw the ball wide to first baseman Adam LaRoche. First-base umpire Mike Everitt ruled that Rolen was safe on the play, but the replay showed that LaRoche touched the bag with his foot and Rolen should have been called out.
Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, it looked like Detwiler had Ryan Ludwick struck out on a 2-2 pitch, but home-plate umpire Laz Diaz called it a ball. Two pitches later, Ludwick hit a grand slam to make it a 4-0 game. Because of the error by Desmond, the runs were unearned.
Detwiler declined to comment on what he thought about the umpiring, but Johnson felt the Nationals caught a couple of bad breaks.
"I thought we had Rolen at first, and I thought there was a pitch that should have been called a third strike on [Ludwick], but that's baseball," Johnson said. "Sometimes, you don't get the breaks. We battled back. We had chances to win the ballgame. We just couldn't get it done."
The Reds would make it a five-run game in the fourth inning, when Ryan Hanigan singled up the middle, scoring Ludwick.
Detwiler ended up throwing five innings and allowing the one earned run on six hits.
"Things are not going to go my way. It's a big test when you see how you react to that. I guess, today, I didn't react all that well," Detwiler said. "I only went five [innings]. I put so much pressure on the bullpen. And being down four runs after the first is terrible."
But the Nationals would make their comeback off right-hander Mike Leake by scoring three runs in the fourth inning. LaRoche had a two-run single, while Ryan Zimmerman scored on a groundout by DeRosa.
In the next inning, Desmond made it a one-run game when he doubled to center field, scoring Roger Bernadina.
Desmond did it again in the seventh inning, when he singled to center off Logan Ondrusek, scoring Rick Ankiel to tie the score at 5.
"It shows what kind of team we have this year. We never quit," Detwiler said. "We never quit that last inning, when we were down three. We got back out there. We got the first two runners on base. It just didn't happen. Coming back from a five-run deficit shows the kind of team we have."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.