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Washington Nationals drop 2 of 3 to Cincinnati Reds with 3-0 loss in finale

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Washington’s Nationals took the day half of today’s twin bill, but dropped two of three to Cincinnati...

Cincinnati Reds v Washington Nationals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg held the Cincinnati Reds to one run through 4 23 innings pitched in the series finale in Nationals Park, but Washington’s 32-year-old starter had some bad luck cost him the second run he allowed, when a two-on, two-out grounder up the middle bounced off the second base base bag and by Trea Turner for an RBI single that extended the inning so the visitors could add another run, in what ended up a 3-0 loss for Strasburg and the Nats.

Strasburg vs the Reds: Stephen Strasburg returned to the mound in the majors after over a month on the IL dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder with 5 13 scoreless against a Baltimore Orioles club that managed just one hit and took four walks off the 32-year-old.

“He was going to give us everything he had,” manager Davey Martinez said after the club’s 4-2 win over the O’s, “and gets as many outs as he can, and that’s what he did tonight. He was good.

“Towards the end I felt like he got a little tired, his legs — he started to lose his legs a little bit, so it was perfect.”

Start No. 2 for Strasburg since returning (and No. 4 overall this season) began with a solo home run to center by Eugenio Suárez, who smoked a 92 MPH 3-1 fastball and hit it out to center field for a 1-0 Reds’ lead.

Strasburg retired nine straight between a one-out double by Max Schrock in the second and an infield single by the opposing pitcher in the fifth.

Sonny Gray sent one right back to the mound with one down in the Reds’ fifth, and a walk to Eugenio Suárez with two down moved the starter into scoring position before he came around on a two-out grounder up the middle by Jesse Winker that bounced off of second base, allowing the pitcher to score, 2-0, and then 3-0 on an opposite field double by Tyler Naquin.

Strasburg’s 31-pitch fifth left him at 87 pitches overall on the night and ended his outing...

Stephen Strasburg’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 87 P, 49 S, 3/2 GO/FO.

Gray vs the Nationals: Winless in seven starts before tonight’s outing, at (0-3) with a 3.96 ERA and a .245/.333/.420 line, Sonny Gray, 31, was coming off a six-inning outing against the Brewers in which he gave up five hits, four walks, and three earned runs in six innings.

“I think he’s in a great place,” Reds’ skipper David Bell said after Gray’s third loss of the year, as quoted on MLB.com.

“He’s got a really good fastball right now, he’s healthy, good curveball. He’s going to keep getting sharper. The main thing is he’s healthy and he’s committed and excited to go out there every fifth day. We know we’re going to get his best and we’ll take that every time.”

Gray tossed three scoreless to start in the series finale in Nationals Park, on 47 pitches, after the Reds jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, and he retired the side in order in a quick, 11-pitch fourth, then came out up 3-0 in the fifth, and retired the side in order in a 17-pitch frame that left him at 75 total after five scoreless.

Gray came back out for the sixth as well, and worked around a walk to Juan Soto for another scoreless frame.

Sonny Gray’s Line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 90 P, 54 S, 7/2 GO/FO.

Not Trea’s Series: Trea Turner started the three-game set on a nice run, with hits in 9 of 10 games, over which he was 16 for 43 (.372/.404/.605) with four doubles and two home runs over that stretch, but he was hitless in the series opener, 0 for 4, before a 1 for 4 in the 2nd of three in D.C., and a 1 for 3 (BB, R) night in the finale.

Bullpen Action: Wander Suero took over for the Nationals in the top of the sixth and worked around a two-out single in a 14-pitch frame.

Kyle McGowin got the top of the seventh, and worked around an E:5 for a scoreless frame.

Lucas Sims came on to close it out and retired the side in order to end it.

Final Score: 3-0 Reds

Nationals now 21-25