It's amazing how one bad pitch can reframe an entire performance. Unfortunately, that's what happened to Graham Ashcraft on Friday night.
The Cincinnati Reds held a 3-1 lead heading into the eighth inning, and Ashcraft needed just one more strike to basically put the game on ice. But Joey Meneses of the Washington Nationals had other plans.
A 2-2 pitch with two outs in the eighth was sent over the wall in left field, and with one swing of the bat, Meneses tied the game. But don't let that one mistake take away from a terrific outing.
Reds starter Graham Ashcraft surrendered the game-tying home run in the 8th inning.
The Cincinnati Reds had just been pummeled by the Chicago Cubs during their four-game visit to Wrigley Field, and the club needed a pick-me-up. They got with eight strong innings from Graham Ashcraft on Friday night.
The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits with five strikeouts. And while that two-out homer in the eighth allowed the Washington Nationals to come all the way back and eventually win the game in extra innings, Ashcraft's performance was not the reason the Reds lost.
The Reds got three solo home runs from their lineup on Friday night, and that was it. Matt McLain had a great night going 3-for-5 with a home run and a double, but aside from that, the Reds bats provided very little when the team needed it most.
Cincinnati hitters were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Friday night. The Reds even loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning, but failed to get the winning run across the plate.
Some fans may be screaming that Graham Ashcraft was left in too long or that Alexis Diaz shouldn't have come back out in the 10th inning, but the real reason that the Reds lost on Friday night was due to the team's lack of hitting when it mattered most.
This was one of the tougher losses the Cincinnati Reds have endured on the season, but both the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs took one on the chin as well, so the standings remain rather unchanged. Cincinnati will get a chance at redemption on Saturday afternoon with Andrew Abbott on the bump for the Reds.