CINCINNATI -- Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was their starter on July 8, the last time his team lost a game, when he was roughed up by the Braves. There would be no bookending losses by Strasburg, who cruised behind another robust performance from Washington's lineup in a 6-1 victory over
CINCINNATI -- Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was their starter on July 8, the last time his team lost a game, when he was roughed up by the Braves. There would be no bookending losses by Strasburg, who cruised behind another robust performance from Washington's lineup in a 6-1 victory over the Reds on Monday afternoon.
That made it a smooth four-game series sweep for the Nats, who also took six of the seven games in the season series. During the long weekend at Great American Ball Park, Washington slugged 13 home runs -- including three on Monday. In the series, Cincinnati was outscored, 35-12.
"They clubbed us," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "They beat us up for four games. Even though we came back into that 10-7 game in Game 2, their starters didn't give us anything. They didn't give us anything to be excited about, and we were able to score off their bullpen when they had big leads and they got some of their younger guys in there. But they steamrolled us."
Reds starter Scott Feldman struggled from the get-go in the finale, and he didn't retire any of his first six batters. Bryce Harper's three-run homer was immediately followed by Ryan Zimmerman's home run, and that made it a 4-0 game. Feldman was done after one inning with five earned runs, five hits and one walk. Following the game, it was learned that he had a sore right knee and would likely need to go on the disabled list.
Asher Wojciechowski replaced Feldman and provided some quality relief, with one earned run over five innings. Wojciechowski's first 4 2/3 innings were scoreless until Brian Goodwin hit a homer in the sixth.
Meanwhile, Strasburg had little to worry about as he worked seven innings with one run and four hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. With the exception of Eugenio Suarez's two-out solo homer in the second inning, no other Reds batter reached second base against Strasburg all afternoon. He also picked up two double plays while racking up double-digit strikeouts for the sixth time this season and the 35th for his career.
"[I] just feel like, a couple days of no throw over the break, body just wants to pretend like it's the offseason," Strasburg said. "So I was just trying to wake it up the next couple days after that. It just took a little while. I just tried to battle through it and keep going, and it seemed to get better as the game went on."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
One for the franchise record: Zimmerman made it back-to-back homers in the first inning when he took a first-pitch sinker from Feldman deep to left-center field. It was home run No. 20 of the season for Zimmerman, but more notably, it was his 235th career homer. That broke the Expos/Nationals franchise record previously held by Vladimir Guerrero. The slumping Zimmerman also had been without a homer since June 13. More >
Take two: In a strange play for Washington's fifth run in the first inning, Matt Wieters lifted a fly ball to right field that Scooter Gennett caught as he went down to the ground. While exchanging the ball from his glove to throw, Gennett couldn't get up while Daniel Murphy tagged up from second base and kept running. Murphy scored standing up on what was ruled a sacrifice fly, and made it a 5-0 game.
"That's what I'm trying to do, pitch well like that and get more opportunities and just continue to compete and work hard and see where it takes me." -- Wojciechowski, on taking over in the second inning
Despite a five-run Washington lead, Harper led off the seventh inning with a base hit to left field, and he tried hustling to second base for a double. Adam Duvall fired to second base, and Harper was called out. The Nationals challenged the call on the field, but replay officials determined that it stood. Duvall notched his eighth assist of the season, tied for most among Major League outfielders.
Nationals: The Nationals will travel to Anaheim, where they'll take on the Angels in the first game of a two-game set at 10:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Edwin Jackson will make his first start of the season after signing with the Nats in June. He was 5-6 with a 5.89 ERA in 13 starts with San Diego in 2016.
Reds: The homestand continues with a three-game series vs. the D-backs that begins at 7:10 p.m. ET Tuesday. Just before the All-Star break on July 7-9, the Reds took two of three games in the series at Chase Field. In a matchup that everybody should love, Robbie Ray will pitch for Arizona against Cincinnati's Sal Romano, who is being recalled from Triple-A Louisville.
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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.
Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati who covered the Nationals on Monday.