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Washington at Cincinnati

W: J. Simontacchi (2-2) L: K. Lohse (1-6)
HR: WAS - R. Church (4), B. Schneider (2), R. Zimmerman (6), R. Church (5)   CIN - R. Freel (2)

Nationals 12, Reds 7

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

CINCINNATI -- Soon after his first-inning home run, Ryan Church felt his bruised left forearm starting to swell. Good thing for the Washington Nationals that he decided to keep playing.

Church returned to the lineup with a pair of homers and a career-high six RBI on Wednesday night, keeping the Nationals on their offensive tear with a 12-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Nationals hit a season-high four homers during their biggest run splurge in more than a year. Brian Schneider and Ryan Zimmerman also homered for Washington, which ranks last in the league in runs, homers and batting average.

"It's about time we broke out," Schneider said. "Our pitching has been carrying us long enough. This is a good park to hit in, and we'd better take advantage of it."

Church didn't hit during the first two games at Great American Ball Park because his left forearm was swollen after getting plunked by a pitch on Sunday. After his two-run homer in the first inning off Kyle Lohse (1-6) sparked the offense, Church's forearm started bothering him again.

He played through the pain and wound up with a career night. The Nationals hadn't scored so many runs since a 12-8 win at Houston on April 8 last year.

"It's still swollen," said Church, who had the forearm wrapped afterward. "I could tell after the first at-bat that it was getting a little swollen. There's not much you can do."

By going up 2-1 in the four-game series, Washington made some company for itself at the bottom of the National League. The Nationals and Reds are now tied for the NL's worst record at 18-29.

The Reds keep stumbling to new lows. They've lost 16 of 21, falling 11 games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2005 season.

Reds owner Bob Castellini visited the clubhouse before the game and addressed the team for the first time this season. It didn't work.

"It was very encouraging, very positive, short and to the point," manager Jerry Narron said of the owner's talk.

Jason Simontacchi (2-2) picked up his first road victory and pulled out of his recent funk against the Reds. The right-hander had been 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA in his past eight appearances against Cincinnati. He gave up a leadoff homer to Ryan Freel in the first inning, then settled in, allowing four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

The Nationals have been playing catch-up since their 1-8 start. They've won nine of their past 13 games, in part because their offense is coming around. The Nationals have scored 27 runs in the series, by far their best three-game total all season.

"We're starting to catch up to our pitching," Church said. "Our pitchers have been doing a heck of a job keeping us in games. Our hitters have been struggling to get the key hits."

A homer-friendly ballpark and a wobbly Reds pitching staff have helped.

The biggest crowd of the series -- 31,971 bought tickets for a Bronson Arroyo bobblehead giveaway -- spent much of the evening collectively groaning.

Lohse retired only four batters in the shortest appearance of his career last Friday in Cleveland, giving up seven runs. He allowed seven more -- six earned -- in 4 2/3 innings against Washington. Lohse is the first Red to lose six consecutive starts since Chris Reitsma in 2001.

Lohse came down with a virus that has been going through the clubhouse, but started the game anyway because there was no other option with the bullpen worn down.

"I thought I could go out there and do it, but it just didn't work out very well," Lohse said. "It's tough to go out there when you don't have any feel for what you're doing and you don't feel very good."

Fans in the left-field bleachers chanted "Homer Bailey!" -- Cincinnati's top pitching prospect in Triple-A -- after Todd Coffey gave up back-to-back homers to Zimmerman and Church in the seventh, making it 9-1.

Washington reliever Ray King was ejected by plate umpire Lance Barksdale for arguing a ball-and-strike call from the mound, and manager Manny Acta had to get between the two and nudge the reliever toward the dugout.


It was the third career multihomer game for Church, who hadn't driven in more than four runs in any game. His big game came a day after SS Felipe Lopez drove in a career-high six runs in an 8-4 win. ... The Nationals hadn't hit back-to-back homers all season. ... Medical tests confirmed that Reds OF Josh Hamilton has nothing more serious than an inflamed digestive tract. Hamilton developed severe pains over the weekend, and the Reds put him on the 15-day DL.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

R. Church
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 2

R. Freel
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 1

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a-singled for Abreu in the 8th
b-hit into fielder's choice for Rauch in the 9th
2B - Ryan Church (16, Stanton), Dmitri Young 2 (11, Lohse, Lohse), Brian Schneider (7, Lohse)
3B - Cristian Guzman (3, Lohse)
HR - Ryan Zimmerman (6, Coffey), Ryan Church 2 (5, Lohse, Coffey), Brian Schneider (2, Lohse)
RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (22), Ryan Church 6 (24), Dmitri Young (20), Brian Schneider 2 (17)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Church 5 (14)
SB - Felipe Lopez (6, 2nd base off Lohse/Ross)
Team LOB - 6
PB - Brian Schneider (1)
Washington Nationals
Jason Simontacchi (W,2-2) 5.1411341 4.37
Saul Rivera 1.1244210 3.86
Ray King0000100 6.55
Winston Abreu 0.1100000 3.12
Jon Rauch 1322100 5.13
Jesus Colome 1100010 2.05
IBB - Ross by Jason Simontacchi
Pitches-Strikes - Jason Simontacchi 91-59, Saul Rivera 29-15, Ray King 6-2, Winston Abreu 5-3, Jon Rauch 35-23, Jesus Colome 15-10
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Cincinnati Reds
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Brandon Phillips, 2B4122111 .284
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Edwin Encarnacion, 3B4012112 .220
Alex Gonzalez, SS4010005 .247
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Kyle Lohse, P1000012 .286
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E - Alex Gonzalez 2 (8, Throwing)
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Kyle Lohse (L,1-6) 4.2976032 5.31
Todd Coffey 2.1222112 4.94
Jared Burton 0.2130010 0.00
Mike Stanton 1.1200010 6.06
HBP - Zimmerman (by Jared Burton)
WP - Kyle Lohse (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 92-57, Todd Coffey 38-23, Jared Burton 20-12, Mike Stanton 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 7-5, Todd Coffey 4-2, Jared Burton 2-0, Mike Stanton 2-1
Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 24, Todd Coffey 10, Jared Burton 5, Mike Stanton 6
Game Information
Attendance - 31971
Game Time - 3:38
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Gary Cederstrom