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Washington Nationals up 3-0 on Cincinnati Reds: Game suspended; split doubleheader tomorrow...

They’ll finish this one tomorrow... resuming play at 2:05 and then playing a seven-inning nightcap starting at 7:05.

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

This one never came out of a rain delay which began after the top of the fourth, with the score 3-0 in the Washington Nationals’ favor.

There was a streaker on the tarp, who slid into the tarp roller... then got arrested and taken off the field in handcuffs.

Joe Ross was solid through four scoreless (and he drove in a run with a two out hit). Starlin Castro drove in the first run, and a bases-loaded walk by Alex Avila forced in run No. 3.

This one was suspended, so they’ll pick up the action in the fourth when they start back up...

Ross vs the Reds: Since he put together scoreless outings in back-to-back starts to kick off the 2021 campaign, Joe Ross has been decidedly up and down. Ross has put up a 7.94 ERA over his last six starts and 28 13 IP, with opposing hitters putting up a .298/.396/.561 line in those appearances, the last of which was a 3 23-inning outing against the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley Field which saw him give up five hits, a walk, and four runs, two earned, throwing a total of 78 pitches before the Nationals went to the pen.

Ross said he was happy with his stuff overall against the Cubs, but struggled to put hitters away.

“Kind of similar to last game,” Ross said, “a couple innings there with two quick outs and then ... kind of one pitch away, guy gets on, runner gets on, runner gets over, and then ends up scoring.”

Tonight in Nationals Park, going up against the Reds, Ross stranded two runners in the top of the first inning, after giving up a one-out single by Jesse Winker, and a two-out free pass to Tyler Naquin.

He took the mound in the second with a 2-0 lead, and gave up back-to-back, one-out hits, by Kyle Farmer and Jonathan India, but cut down the lead runner at third on a bunt in front of the plate by the opposing pitcher for out No. 2, and then got a groundout from Eugenio Suárez to strand two more.

Ross retired the Reds in order in an 11-pitch fourth, then again in a 17-pitch fourth, giving him eight straight outs, but his start ended there when the skies opened up over the park, sending the game into a delay...

Joe Ross’s Line: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 55 P, 38 S, 6/1 GO/FO.

Hoffman vs the Nationals: Jeff Hoffman, 28, and a 2014 1st Round pick (9th overall), by the Blue Jays, who was traded to the Rockies in the Troy Tulowitzki deal in 2015, and then sent to the Reds this past winter, has put up a 4.31 ERA in nine starts and 39 23 IP for Cincinnati early in 2021, holding opposing hitters to a combined .240/.341/.393 line.

Last time out before tonight, he held the Brewers to a run on two hits in five innings of work in which he walked four and struck out seven.

Tonight in the nation’s capital, Hoffman gave up a run early with Juan Soto walking and Josh Bell beating the shift with an oppo single before Starlin Castro connected on a two-out, RBI hit that put the home team up, 1-0 in the bottom of the first. A walk to Josh Harrison loaded the bases with two out, and a second consecutive free pass to Alex Avila forced in run No. 2 for the Nationals, before Andrew Stevenson grounded sharply to second to end a 33-pitch frame for the Reds’ starter.

Hoffman issued back-to-back, one-out walks in the bottom of the second, then called to the Reds’ trainer and left the game after a brief conversation on the mound...

Jeff Hoffman’s Line: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 0 Ks, 46 P, 20 S, 1/2 GO/FO.

Davey Doesn’t Look At Standings - A Story: Davey Martinez reiterated something he’s said before when he was asked about where things stand for the Nationals right now, and if he’s ever, at this point in the season, compelled to look at the standings in the NL East.

Our division seems to be beating each other up,” Martinez said, when a reporter noted that in spite of their rough start, the Nationals were only 2.5 out of 1st in the division before their series opener with the Reds on Tuesday.

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

“Yeah, it’s kind of nice that because we’re 20-23,” Martinez said. “We’re still fighting to be at the top of the division, but we still got a long way to go and we’ve got continue to play consistently now, and that’s the key, is to come out there, score first, and try to go 1-0 today.”

Another reporter tried again before tonight’s game. Does he look at how close the race is in the NL compared to some others, and what does he think about that?

“What I think about is that we’ve got to go 1-0 today. Honestly, I focus on the hear and now. It’s going to be tight, I mean, it really is. Our division, we’re beating up on each other, so we’ve just got to continue to play, and worry about us, and continue to play hard every day.”

Damn, he’s good. And on message.

Bullpen Action: Reds’ righty Brad Brach inherited a two-on, one-out situation in the bottom of the second inning, and got the first out with one pitch on a Josh Ball fly to center field. It looked like he would get out of the inning when Kyle Schwarber sent a grounder to second in the next at bat, but second baseman Jonathan India looked at second before throwing to first, and the slight delay was enough for Schwarber to leg out a base-loading single. Starlin Castro flew out to end the threat though, still 2-0.

Josh Bell singled to start the Nationals’ third, stole second to get himself in scoring position, and took third on a groundout by Andrew Stevenson, before scoring on an opposite field hit by Joe Ross, 3-0.

To Be Continued...