CINCINNATI -- All Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker can do is hope his reeling Reds learn from their mistakes.
Rookie Drew Sutton's defensive lapse in the eighth inning allowed Josh Willingham to hustle home from third base with the winning run as the Washington Nationals rallied for a 5-4 win over the Reds on Sunday.
Sutton -- playing second base in place of the injured Brandon Phillips -- allowed the go-ahead run to score from third when he lobbed a relay throw to first baseman Joey Votto behind the mound on pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman's hit.
"That wasn't a very heads-up play," Baker said. "You hope it doesn't happen again."
It was the Reds' third straight loss to the team with baseball's worst record and their 14th in 22 games since the All-Star break.
Leading 4-3 with one out in the eighth inning, Arthur Rhodes (0-1) came on to face slugger Adam Dunn. Rhodes brushed Dunn with a pitch, and Willingham followed with a single to right -- his third hit of the day.
"He barely hit Dunn, and Willingham's hot," Baker pointed out. "I thought we were going to get out of the inning."
Dunn scored as the ball rolled free, and Willingham took off from third when Sutton softly tossed a throw to Votto behind the mound. Votto's throw home was high and Willingham ran into leaping catcher Ryan Hanigan as he gave Washington a 5-4 lead.
"I looked at third, and I thought I saw him break down and stop," Sutton said. "I guess he didn't break down as much as I thought. I didn't lob it, but I didn't throw it, either. That was completely my fault. I've got to make sure the guy stops."
Willingham didn't surprise Washington manager Jim Riggleman at all.
"He's just a ballplayer," Riggleman said. "The winning run was all him. You can't teach that. He saw a chance to do something. With two outs, that's a good situation to try that."
"He just lobbed it, and I took off," Willingham said. "It wasn't something I was thinking about."
Washington's comeback cost Cincinnati's Justin Lehr his third win in his last three starts. Lehr allowed six hits and three runs with two strikeouts in six innings. He didn't walk anybody, but he did hit a batter.
Nationals starter John Lannan got off the hook after giving up six hits and four runs with three walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Willingham hit a two-run homer 461 feet into the second level of the upper deck bleachers in left field in the fourth to break up a scoreless tie, his 19th homer of the season. But the Reds took a 4-2 lead in the fifth on Votto's RBI single and Jonny Gomes' three-run shot, his fourth home run of the series and 15th of the season.
Dunn was 4 for 8 with two doubles, a home run, six walks and five runs in the series against the team he broke into the majors with. He also was hit by two pitches -- both on Sunday.
"I'm getting more and more excited about managing him," Riggleman said. "He's in his prime. The tendency [when you play a former team] is to try to hit it out of the park, but he didn't. He got a lot of hits and a lot of walks. He stayed in his strike zone."
"It was good to just come in and take three out of four," Dunn said. "I wish I could tell you I was nervous, but I was more nervous during batting practice the first day."
Phillips was scratched from the original starting lineup with a sore left hand. Phillips was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning of Saturday's game. X-rays were negative. Rookie Drew Sutton made his first career start at second base. ... Former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin, college football's only two-time Heisman Trophy winner (1974, 1975), threw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of OSU Alumni Day.