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Reds top Nationals with five-run rally in 10th inning

Reds top Nationals with five-run rally in 10th inning

Postgame analysis of the Nats' 9-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in 10 innings on Saturday night at Nationals Park.

How it happened: One day after they walked off the Reds in extra innings, the Nationals nearly did it again. This time, however, it was the Reds' turn for some late night heroics.

Down for much of the night against Reds starter Dan Straily, the Nationals finally broke out in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run homer by Danny Espinosa - his 16th of the season - and an RBI single by Bryce Harper. Harper's knock tied the game at 4-4 and eventually sent it to extras.

It was in the top of the 10th that Sammy Solis ran into trouble. He allowed back-to-back singles to Eugenio Suarez and Brandon Phillips, then saw Billy Hamilton bunt safely to load the bases. Tucker Barnhart then singled to right field in the next at-bat to score two runs. The first was charged to Solis, but the second came home thanks to an error by Harper, who couldn't field it on his first attempt.

It didn't stop there, though. Matt Belisle relieved Solis and allowed a run on a wild pitch, another on a Jose Peraza single and then one more on a Jay Bruce groundout. That made it 9-4 and put the game well out of reach for the Nationals. Three runs went to Solis, one was charged to Belisle.

The bullpen wasn't the only part of the Nats' pitching staff that had an off-night. Starter Joe Ross made it just 5 1/3 innings with four runs allowed on 10 hits, which tied a career-high.

The Nationals saw their six-game winning streak snapped and now enter Sunday hoping to avoid a split and secure their second straight series win.

What it means: The Nationals open the second half of the season with a loss and now sit 49-33 on the year. They fell to 3-3 on the season against the Reds and have lost nine of their last 13 in the head-to-head series overall.

Ross keeps struggling: There has been something off with Ross lately. The Nats' right-hander ended the month of May with a 2.37 ERA and looked well on his way to a breakout season and maybe even an All-Star nod. Since June began, however, Ross just hasn't been the same. Including Saturday night, his latest uneven outing, Ross has a 6.22 ERA in his last six games. Ross gave up four earned runs on a career-high 10 hits - he also gave up 10 hits in his previous start - and made it just 5 1/3 innings. Manager Dusty Baker removed him after just 84 pitches.

What may be more concerning is Ross' velocity, which appeared to be down significantly in the loss. He came out firing 95 miles per hour in the first at-bat of the night, then settled into the low 90s, at times topping out at 89 for extended periods. Ross' velocity has dipped slightly this season from 2015, but this definitely stood out as unusual.

Espinosa hits No. 16: The Nationals just played their 82nd game of the season and atop their team in homers is Harper, as expected. But he's not alone, as Espinosa's two-run bomb makes him tied with Harper at 16 on the season.

Revere has another solid night: One day after he led the Nats to victory with three hits, one of them a walk-off double, Revere came to play both at the plate and in the field against the Reds. He drove in the Nats' lone run on a triple to the right-center field gap in the third inning. It was very close to where he hit the double, but this one instead landed at the bottom of the wall and allowed him to reach third base for the third time this season.

On defense, Revere made a diving grab to rob Billy Hamilton of a potential RBI single and end the top of the fifth. Then, in the sixth he prevented a sacrifice fly by throwing a strike to home plate after catching the second out of the inning. Right after that he ended the top of the sixth on a leaping grab at the center field wall to steal an extra-base hit from Jay Bruce. Those last two plays helped Felipe Rivero get out of a jam with runners on the corners after Ross was pulled.

Up next: The Nats and Reds close out their four-game series with a 1:35 p.m. start on Sunday. We know that lefty John Lamb (1-4, 4.60) will be pitching for the Reds. As for the Nats' starter, it could be Stephen Strasburg or Lucas Giolito. Strasburg is considered a game-time decision.

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May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season

The start of spring training is a glimmer of hope during the cold of winter. It means warm weather, cold beers and hot dogs at the ballpark are coming your way.

It's our first chance to get a taste of how our favorite team is shaping up for the 2018 season, and for those who are not quite into just the game itself, betting odds.

CG Technology, a Las Vegas sportsbook operator, has set the 2018 odds for each MLB team.

Specifically, how are things looking for the local teams?


Washington Nationals: 91 1/2 wins

The 2018 season is looked at by many as the last World Series run for some time for the Nationals and their core group of players. Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez will become free agents after the 2018 season in addition to general manager and President of Baseball Operations, Mike Rizzo.

In 2017, the team won 97 games and went on to win the NL East, but couldn't make it past the first-round of the National League Division Series. In 2018, Vegas is giving the Nats 7/2 odds of taking the National League title. They are just behind the Chicago Cubs, who knocked them out of contention last season, at 4/1 odds.

As far as winning the World Series, Vegas is giving the guys an 8/1 chance of their first title, tied with the Cubs.

Baltimore Orioles: 77 1/2 wins

The O's finished the 2017 season with 75 wins, which could be considered somewhat of an accomplishment considering their pitching resources.

The same problem will occur in 2018 as the organization hasn't signed any new starting pitchers. Vegas is giving them 50/1 odds of taking the American League title and 100/1 odds of winning the World Series.

The lack of depth in their rotation will come back to bite them as division rival New York Yankees have 5/1 odds of winning the World Series and the Red Sox have 10/1 odds.

A below average season should be expected.

A few other standouts, good and bad, include the Miami Marlins at 500/1 odds of winning the World Series, the Kansas City Royals at 200/1 and current champions, the Houston Astros, at 6/1 odds.


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Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine


Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine

SAN DIEGO — Former All-Star pitcher Esteban Loaiza has been arrested on suspicion of trafficking drugs after packages containing a white powder believed to be cocaine were found at a home he rented in Southern California, officials said Monday.

The 46-year-old former Major League Baseball player was booked Friday on charges involving the possession, transport and sale of 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of suspected cocaine worth an estimated $500,000, according to the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Loaiza played for numerous teams between 1995 and 2008, starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates and concluding with his second stint with the Chicago White Sox. He had a 21-9 record with the Chicago White Sox in 2003 and started in the All-Star Game that year.


He also played one season for the Washington Nationals in 2005 — the team's inaugural season in D.C. after the franchise changed from the Montreal Expos. During his one season in Washington, Loaiza finished with a 12-10 record adn a 3.77 ERA over 34 games played that year.

It was not immediately known if Loaiza had hired a lawyer and the former player could not be reached to comment. He was being held Monday for lack of $200,000 bail pending a court appearance on Wednesday.

Loaiza's agent, John Boggs, told the San Francisco Chronicle that he had no information about the arrest and that he has not spoken to Loaiza recently. He said that Loaiza had called his office early last week but Boggs was unavailable at the time.

"I am shocked and saddened by the news and had no indication he would ever be in this type of situation," Boggs said in a text to the newspaper. "I don't know how he would get himself involved in this, so it's difficult to even comment on it."

Officers stopped Loaiza for a minor traffic infraction Friday after he left the home he started renting recently in the Pacific coast community of Imperial Beach, along the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities had the vehicle under surveillance on suspicion it was used for smuggling drugs.

When they searched the vehicle, they found a sophisticated compartment used to conceal contraband, authorities said. That led them to obtain a search warrant for Loaiza's rental home, where they found the packages of drugs, according to investigators.

The packages containing a white powder are still being tested but are believed to be cocaine, said San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Jason Vickery.

Loaiza was born in Tijuana, Mexico and was married for two years to the late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera. She filed for divorce shortly before she died in a plane crash in 2012.

The 43-year-old Rivera was known as the "Diva de la Banda" and died as her career was peaking. She was perhaps the most successful female singer in grupero, a male-dominated Mexico regional style, sold more than 15 million records, and moved into acting and reality television.

Loaiza sued the aircraft's owners in 2014 for wrongful death but her relatives accused him of trying to profit from her death. He denied the accusations and later retracted his lawsuit.

NBC Sports Washington contributed to this report.