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Jeremy Hellickson earns win as Nationals and Reds split doubleheader...

Washington Nationals’ starter Jeremy Hellickson earned his fifth win of the season with 5 2⁄3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds in which he gave up four hits and two earned runs.

MLB: Game Two-Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals’ righty Jeremy Hellickson gave up eight hits and five runs (three of them earned) in a 5-0 loss to the Miami Marlins last week, taking his second loss over 15 starts for the back-to-back defending NL East champs. Hellickson went just 4 23 innings against the Fish.

All of the runs that scored while Hellickson was on the mound came on two-out hits, an issue he said he needed to deal with going forward.

“That’s kind of the story of the last few games,” he explained, “... all my runs come with two outs, and a few times with the pitcher up with two outs, nobody in and I can’t make a pitch, so I’ve just got to bear down with two outs and get that last guy. It’s happened too many games in a row now.”

It’s doubtful he’ll see Jose Peraza’s leadoff home run (on an 0-1 fastball) in the top of the first as progress, but Hellickson’s teammates picked him up with a run in the bottom of the first in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader with the Cincinnati Reds in the nation’s capital, tying it up at 1-1.

MLB: Game Two-Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Eugenio Suarez hit his second home run of the series and 26th of the season on a 2-2 change from Hellickson in the fourth, depositing it in the visitor’s bullpen to make it 3-2 in the Nats’ favor after Anthony Rendon, Wilmer Difo, and Matt Adams drove in runs to put the Nationals ahead.

Hellickson held the Reds at two runs as the Nationals jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the home-half of the fifth, and he came back out for the sixth at just 60 pitches, retiring two batters 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.

How did he settle in as the start went along?

“He started attacking the strike zone with his fastball a little bit more,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said.

“I think they started sitting on his offspeed stuff, so he started going to his fastball a little bit more and his location was really good. He was good.”

“He’s been great,” Bryce Harper said when asked what Hellickson’s meant to the team.

“We’ve needed him bad, and he’s come in and done his job. Really picked us up in that second game, and picked up the bullpen as well and just did a great job.

“He goes out there and gives us five or six strong, he’s been great for us.”

On the year, Hellickson’s now (5-2) with a 3.56 ERA, a 4.09 FIP, 13 walks (1.49 BB/9), and 59 Ks (6.78 K/9), in 78 13 IP.