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Nationals earn split of doubleheader with Reds with 6-2 win in nightcap in D.C.

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Washington and Cincinnati split today’s doubleheader with the Nationals taking the nightcap, 6-2 over the Reds.

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon went 5 for 9 with three doubles between them, one for Soto (who walked as well) and two for Rendon, pacing the Washington Nationals’ offense in a 6-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds in the nightcap of today’s doubleheader in D.C.

Jeremy Hellickson put together another solid start, giving up four hits and two walks in 5 23 innings to earn the win, and Matt Grace, Ryan Madson, and Kelvin Herrera finished off the Redlegs.

Wilmer Difo (2 for 4, 2 RBIs) and Matt Adams (2 for 3, HR) drove in runs as well as the Nats rebounded from a loss in the day half of the doubleheader this afternoon.

Hellboy vs the Reds: In four starts following a flu-influenced drubbing at the hands of the Miami Marlins, Jeremy Hellickson posted a 3.05 ERA and a .241/.302/.329 line against over 20 23 IP. Wins in two of those outings left the 31-year-old right-hander (4-2) in 15 starts for the Nats this season, over which he’s put up a 3.59 ERA and a .249/.297/.404 line against in 72 23 IP.

Going up against the Reds tonight in the second game of Washington and Cincinnati’s split doubleheader in Nationals Park, Hellickson fell behind early, like second pitch of the game early, when Jose Peraza hit an 0-1 fastball into the left field bullpen for a leadoff shot and a 1-0 lead.

It was a 3-1 game in the Nats’ favor when Hellickson gave up a second home run, this one by Eugenio Suarez, who hit a 2-2 change into the visitor’s bullpen to make it a 3-2 game in the fourth. No. 26 for Suarez.

Hellickson kept the Reds there as the Nationals jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the fifth, and he came back out for the sixth at just 60 pitches and recorded two outs before a single to center by Suarez ended his outing after 71 pitches in 5 23 IP.

Jeremy Hellickson’s Line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 71 P, 49 S, 8/3 GO/FO.

Dark Knight in D.C.: After he posted a 7.00 ERA and a .303/.355/.550 line against in eight games, four starts, and 27 IP for the New York Mets, Matt Harvey was traded to the Reds.

In 14 outings in Cincinnati’s rotation, the veteran right-hander has put up a 4.44 ERA in 73 innings, over which opposing hitters have put up a .253/.305/.433 line.

Going up against Washington for the second time this season, after giving up nine hits and four runs in five innings in a 6-5 loss for the Mets in April, Harvey faced Nationals again in tonight’s nightcap of the doubleheader in D.C.

Harvey took the mound with a 1-0 lead, but gave it up quickly on back-to-back, one-out two-base hits by Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon, who hit their 16th and 27th doubles of 2018, respectively, to make it a 1-1 game.

Michael A. Taylor bunted his way on to lead off the second, and Jeremy Hellickson bunted him over, setting Wilmer Difo up with an RBI opportunity he cashed in with an RBI single to center that brought Taylor in, 2-1 Nationals.

Juan Soto was 2 for 2 tonight after he singled through the right side to start the Nationals’ half of the third, and Anthony Rendon was 2 for 2 as well after he singled to left. One out later, Matt Adams drove Soto in with an RBI double to right field, 3-1.

With two out in the fourth, Soto fouled a pitch straight down that bounced back up and hit him in the unmentionables, but he shook it off, took a walk, and scored from first on a two-out double to left-center by Rendon (3 for 3, 2 2B), 4-2 Nationals. No. 28 for Rendon.

Matt Adams crushed a 95 mph 0-2 fastball from Harvey in the first at bat of the fifth, hitting his 18th home run of the season over the out-of-town scoreboard to put the Nationals up 5-2 and end Harvey’s night.

Matt Harvey’s Line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 71 P, 47 S, 9/0 GO/FO.

MAT ABs: Michael A. Taylor got the start in center field in tonight’s nightcap of the Nats’ split doubleheader with the Reds.

Over his last 42 games, Taylor, who struggled at the start this season, was hitting .314 with a .368 OBP, .419 SLG, six doubles, a triple, a homer, nine walks, 11 steals, and 17 runs scored.

Unfortunately for Taylor, he started just nine times in July, with at bats hard to come by with the Nationals’ roster healthier than it was early in the season. He’d still managed to hit .256 in sporadic appearances over the last month-plus, however, and he came out early and was able to make a difference against the Reds, bunting his way on in the second, taking second on a sac bunt by Jeremy Hellickson, and scoring ahead of a strong throw in from center by Billy Hamilton to put the Nationals up 2-1 in the second.

Soto + Rendon = Sodon; SoRen?: Juan Soto was 2 for 2 with a walk and three runs scored after he took a free pass in the fourth, and he scored on a double by Anthony Rendon, who was 3 for 3 with two two-base hits after lining his second double of the game and 28th of the season into the left-center gap on a first-pitch fastball from Matt Harvey. They ended up going 5 for 9 with three runs scored and two RBIs combined.

Also Rendon is pretty good with the glove...

BULLPEN ACTION: Austin Brice gave up a walk to Spencer Kieboom and a run on a Wilmer Difo double after taking over on the mound for Matt Harvey, 6-2. Kieboom got to show off his speed.

Matt Grace got the final out of the Reds’ sixth after taking over on the mound for Jeremy Hellickson.

Brice hit Bryce Harper and walked Matt Adams intentionally after throwing another wild one to the Nats’ slugger.

Grace worked around a leadoff double in a 17-pitch seventh to keep it 6-2.

Reds’ righty Jesus Reyes worked around a hit-by-pitch on Kieboom’s gut for a scoreless bottom of the seventh.

Ryan Madson handled the eighth for the Nationals, and things got interesting when he hit Joey Votto with a fastball on the knee after Bryce Harper got hit in the knee with a slider by Brice and left the game. Votto did. not. like it. Votto was actually till jawing at Madson and gesticulating wildly as he walked off the field following the third out of the inning. Things just got interesting.

Kelvin Herrera got the ninth for the Nationals, after they came up empty against Reyes in the bottom of the eighth, and the right-hander worked around a one-out single and a walk for a scoreless frame.

Ballgame.

Final Score: 6-2 Nationals

Nationals now 56-54