CINCINNATI — Joan Adon retired his first 17 batters and the Washington Nationals beat the sloppy Cincinnati Reds 7-3 on Saturday, handing them their fifth consecutive defeat.
Lane Thomas knocked in two runs and scored twice to help the last-place Nationals match a season best with their third straight win.
The 24-year-old Adon (1-0), in his second stint with Washington this season, made his first major league start since July 7, 2022. He was working on a perfect game with two outs in the sixth inning when No. 9 batter Luke Maile lined a single to right field.
Elly De La Cruz followed with an infield single and TJ Friedl hit a three-run homer into the right-field seats to make it 6-3.
“Adon was really deceptive,” Friedl said. “He hides the ball for a long time, so you have a little less time to pick it up. It makes it hard to see and to make adjustments.”
Adon was recalled from Triple-A Rochester before the game when Mason Thompson went on the 15-day injured list with a bruised left knee. The right-hander allowed three runs and three hits in six innings. He struck out seven and walked none.
“From what I could see, he was attacking the zone, keeping us on the defensive,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We didn’t have a walk until late in the game. That’s been part of our game, to go deep in the counts and get on base any way we can.”
Adon realized by the fourth inning what was going on.
“I’m glad I was able to go six,” he said through an interpreter. “I was able to maintain my control and not let it get to me.”
He finished with 86 pitches, right around his projected pitch count.
“He was great,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “He was attacking the strike zone and keeping his pitches down. He was electric. His changeup was really good. His curveball was really, really good, but the key was locating his fastball.”
If Adon had extended the no-hitter, would he have gone out for the seventh?
“It would’ve depended on how he felt,” Martinez said with a slight smile. “There would’ve been a conversation.”
“No one wants to leave a no-hitter,” said Adon, who acknowledged cramping in the sixth.
Andrés Machado, Jordan Weems and Kyle Finnegan each worked an inning to finish the four-hitter.
The second-place Reds (59-54) committed four errors for the second time in four games, including two by De La Cruz at shortstop on one play.
“There is zero concern about this team,” Bell said. “You just play hard and do it together.”
Thomas, who homered twice Friday night as Washington won 6-3 in 10 innings, had two hits. Keibert Ruiz added two doubles for the Nationals (48-63).
The game drew a crowd of 41,059 for Cincinnati’s ninth sellout of the season — the team’s most since 16 in 2013.