WASHINGTON -- The Reds entered Sunday with just one win in their past 13 contests, largely due to their struggling rotation. During that stretch, Cincinnati starters were 0-8 with an 8.49 ERA.
But Scott Feldman reversed that trend against the Nationals. The right-hander allowed two runs in seven innings, receiving an early cushion from the offense as the Reds defeated the Nationals, 6-2, at Nationals Park. They avoided their first series sweep vs. Washington since 2008.
"As a manager, [I know] that he'll deal with whatever situation he's faced with," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The maturity, the experience, the confidence is something not only important to our club, but it's important for our young guys to see it."
The Reds attacked Tanner Roark from the beginning by scoring five runs in the first inning. Cincy added a run in the second when Scooter Gennett, who finished 4-for-5, knocked his fourth home run in the past seven games. Roark, who entered with an 8.03 ERA this month, settled in afterward, but he surrendered six runs on nine hits.
"I felt like I was making my pitches," Roark said. "Sometimes stuff like that happens. You can't get overwhelmed or mad about it. Just tip your cap and keep going out there. I was happy to stay out there as long as I did and finish the game."
Feldman, who started the Reds' previous win on June 19, outdueled Roark, helping the Reds as they try to climb out of last place in the National League Central. His lone blemish came in the fourth inning when Michael Taylor launched his third homer in two days.
"We fought the whole time," Taylor said. "We did have some chances. You're not going to cash in every run you have on base. He's making good pitches. He threw a good ballgame today. I think we fought all the way to the end. That's all you can ask for."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Fast start: Roark entered the game coming off two of the worst starts of his season, and the Reds didn't let him settle in. Cincinnati's whole lineup came up to bat in a five-hit, five-run first inning, scoring more runs than they had in an 18-3 loss to the Nationals on Saturday. They also benefitted from two of Bryce Harper's defensive miscues. The right fielder overthrew Anthony Rendon at third base, which allowed a runner to score, and he later misplayed a catch that would've ended the top of the frame, but instead plated two runs.
"This is the type of team you can't be satisfied [with]," Gennett said. "That's the goal that every team has. Against a team like this with their lineup, it's important to keep adding on runs. We were able to do a little bit of that today."
"[Roark] didn't have real good control, but he had enough to get out of that inning," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "There's nothing you can do about those balls finding holes. He threw the ball better today than the score indicated." More >
Gennett goes long: With the Reds leading 5-0 in the second inning, Gennett extended the lead to six when he hit his 11th home run of the season, tracked at 391 feet as measured by Statcast™. After his four-home run game on June 6, Gennett didn't hit another homer until June 18. Since then, he's knocked four long balls, including two this series. His eight home runs and 22 RBIs in June are both his most in any month of his career.
"He's a monster," Reds outfielder Scott Schebler said. "He's been swinging a hot stick in a time right now when we need that. You can't put into words how important that is. He's so fun to be around, so you can only be happy for a guy like that."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Reds allowed a home run Sunday for the 18th straight game, setting a new franchise record.
Reds:Brandon Finnegan will make his first start since April 15 when the Reds play the division rival Cardinals at 4:15 p.m. ET on Monday at Busch Stadium. Finnegan has been on the disabled list for over two months with a shoulder injury and had a 2.70 ERA in three starts to begin the season. In three Minor League starts this month, the left-hander recorded a 3.00 ERA.
Nationals: The Nationals welcome the defending World Series champion Cubs to Nationals Park for a four-game series beginning Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Giovany Gonzalez will carry a 2.96 ERA into this game, which ranks sixth in the National League.
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