With a chance to sweep the four-game set in Great American Ball Park, the Washington Nationals jumped on Cincinnati starter Scott Feldman early, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning in what ended up a 6-1 win over the Reds. The fourth straight win to start the second half gave the Nats a 10.5-game lead in the NL East.
Dusty Baker talked after the series finale about taking four in a row from the Reds, and winning a day game, a focus for the veteran skipper this season.
“We’re inching towards at least .500 on day games and we increased our road record,” Baker said, “... and also — not only getaway days, but we’ve been flirting with sweeps quite a few times but just don’t complete that last game, so we jumped them early, I think Feldman probably hurt himself, which helped us, which you hate to see, but at the same time, we’re just trying to win as many as games as we can.”
Feldman did end up on the DL with a knee injury. Baker’s Nationals moved on to Los Angeles where they split two with the Angels, then went to Arizona where they took two of three from the Diamondbacks to finish their nine-game trip 7-2 with a 33-19 record on the road this season, and a 12-game lead in the division.
“That’s what we wanted to do,” Baker said after the finale in Chase Field. “We wanted to come out strong after the break, and maybe catch some teams that were still on break maybe. That’s one of the things that we stress a lot, my clubs do, so coming out of the break 7-2, and we had a chance to win the game the other night, so when you [go] 7-2 on the road then you have to be happy.”
And the Nationals have to be happy to be back home in the nation’s capital too, where they start a three-game set with Milwaukee tonight with a 26-19 record on the season, having won eight of their last 13 games in Nationals Park.