It was the second four-game sweep of the season for the Nationals, who took four straight from the Atlanta Braves in early April, the 11th four-game sweep for the franchise since baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005, and the first four-game sweep of the Reds in franchise history.
Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman hit back-to-back blasts as part of a five-run first against Reds’ starter Scott Feldman, who was done after one, and the Nationals got their third home run of the game from Brian Goodwin in the sixth, 6-1.
Stephen Strasburg gave up a solo home run by Eugenio Suarez on a poorly-located 0-2 fastball in the second, but held the home team to one run on four hits in seven innings on the mound in which he struck out 11 in a 105-pitch effort.
Today’s win was the Nationals’ fifth straight and their ninth in the last eleven games.
Nationals now 56-36
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• The series finale started with a double by Brian Goodwin and an opposite field, bloop single by Stephen Drew that put runners on the corners in front of Bryce Harper, who hit a 1-1 fastball out to right for a three-run blast, 3-0 Nationals. Make that 4-0 when Ryan Zimmerman followed with a solo shot on a first-pitch sinker from Scott Feldman. Zim’s 20th.
• Zimmerman went 100 plate appearances between his 19th and 20th home runs, but the 20th was a big one in that it lifted him to the all-time franchise lead, passing the Montreal Expos’ Vladimir Guerrero with his 235th career home run.
• Six straight Nationals reached base to start the game against Feldman, and they earned their fifth run on a sac fly by the seventh, with Daniel Murphy scoring from second base on a sac fly to right by Matt Wieters when Scooter Gennett made a diving play but couldn’t recover and get it in quickly enough.
• Scott Feldman’s Line: 1.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 HRs, 33 P, 18 S, 0/1 GO/FO.
• Asher Wojciechowski took over for the Reds in the second, and threw a quick, 1-2-3 frame, and Cincinnati got on the board in the bottom of the inning, with Eugenio Suarez hitting an 0-2 fastball out to right for an opposite field blast, 5-1.
• Strasburg held the Reds to one run through five, with a 13-pitch fifth pushing him up to 67 pitches, and the Nationals added to their lead in the sixth when Brian Goodwin hit a 2-1 fastball from Wojciechowski out to right for his 8th home run of the season, 6-1.
• Bryce Harper got thrown out at second by Adam Duvall, trying to turn an opposite field grounder into a double, but it was close enough that the play was reviewed but upheld. [ed. note - “He looked safe to us, no one ever asks us though.”]
• Strasburg struck out three straight after a leadoff HBP in an 18-pitch seventh for 11 Ks total on 105 pitches.
Strasburg strikes out the last three batters in the 7th!— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 17, 2017
That's on the day. pic.twitter.com/qfEqYdOcV5
• Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 Ks, 1 HR, 105 P, 68 S, 3/3 GO/FO.
• Joe Blanton worked around a one-out walk for a scoreless eighth, extending his personal scoreless innings streak to 7 1⁄3 over his last nine appearances, and Matt Grace tossed a quick, 1-2-3 ninth to end the series in Cincinnati. Final Score: 6-1 Nationals.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- With a win today, the Washington Nationals could even things up in the all-time series with the Cincinnati Reds, who held a 43-42 advantage going into the series finale, though the Nats have won 22 of 39 since 2012.
- A four-game sweep would be the Nationals second of the season after they took four in a row from the Atlanta Braves in April, and the 11th four-game sweep since baseball returned to the nation’s capital in 2005. It would be the first four-game sweep of the Reds in franchise history.
- In today’s “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” update: Anthony Rendon is 34 for 82 (.415 AVG) with nine doubles, eight home runs, 16 walks and 18 runs scored... since 6/15.
- Rendon entered play today at 4.8 fWAR, leading the NL, and tied with the Astros’ Jose Altuve for the second-highest fWAR in the majors, behind only the Yankees’ Aaron Judge (5.3 fWAR).
- Washington’s offense started the day leading the NL in AVG (.279), OBP (.347), SLG (.473), hits (893), extra-base hits (337), runs scored (515), and doubles (188).
- Stephen Strasburg started the finale in Cincinnati (2-1) with a 5.00 ERA in seven career starts vs the Reds.
- Bryce Harper (11 games), Anthony Rendon (10 games), Wilmer Difo (8 games), and Daniel Murphy (7 games) all had hitting streaks going heading into play today.
Nationals now 56-36