CINCINNATI -- Two-out runs have been scarce for the Cincinnati Reds this season. They began to cut into the deficit Thursday night.
The Reds scored all of their runs with two outs, three driven in by Brandon Phillips, and Cincinnati capitalized on a Washington error to rally for a 5-3 victory over the Nationals.
"Two-out hitting is something we haven't done much of lately -- or earlier," Phillips said.
"We could do with a lot more of those," manager Dusty Baker said.
Corey Patterson, pinch hitting for starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, reached second base after a bunt when Washington first baseman Dmitri Young couldn't handle the hard throw from relief pitcher Jesus Colome (2-2).
"It was a little harder than normal," Young said. "Unfortunately, that opened up the floodgates. It hurts to lose a game like that. You just have to sleep on it, wake up and get on with it."
"That was a killer," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "You only get 27 outs, and they're precious. That throw was way too hard. There was no reason for it. I told Dmitri that I was glad he didn't throw it at his face."
Patterson moved to third on Jerry Hairston's single, but couldn't score after falling down while rounding the bag.
"When Corey slipped down, I said, 'Oh, no,'" Baker said.
Jeff Keppinger was walked intentionally to load the bases, and after Ken Griffey Jr. popped up, Phillips lined Luis Ayala's first pitch down the right-field line for a two-run single.
Cueto (7-8) allowed seven hits and three runs with one walk and eight strikeouts in seven innings for his second consecutive win after three losses in a row.
"I was just trying to come through," Phillips said. "I got a pitch I could drive. I didn't get all of it, but it had good placement."
The Nationals put their first two batters on against reliever Jared Burton in the eighth, but Phillips ranged far to his left to grab Young's grounder and the second baseman made a leaping, midair turn to his left to start a rally-killing double play.
"That was a beautiful thing," Phillips said. "When you play the middle infield, you've got to expect to have to make plays like that."
Francisco Cordero pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save in 19 opportunities and first since June 25.
Cueto retired the first 13 batters he faced before Christian Guzman barely beat out an infield single up the middle with one out in the fourth. That extended his hitting streak to 11 games, one short of matching the season high he set June 7-19. Guzman scored easily from first with the tying run on Elijah Dukes' double to left-center.
"Before the game, all my pitches were working in the bullpen," Cueto said. "I wasn't afraid to throw any pitch in any situation. My concentration was better, and I had a lot of confidence."
Dukes moved to third on a balk and, after Young walked, scored the go-ahead run on Austin Kearns' single through the hole into left.
Dukes led off the sixth with his seventh home run of the season and third in four days to give Washington a 3-1 lead. He homered Monday and Tuesday at Florida.
The Reds took a 1-0 lead in the third on David Ross's one-out walk, Cueto's sacrifice bunt and Hairston's line-drive single to center -- the first hit of the game for either team.
They tied the game in the sixth as Hairston drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on Keppinger's groundout and scored on Phillips' two-out single. Edwin Encarnacion and Joey Votto followed with singles.
Washington rookie left-hander John Lannan gave up five hits and three runs with three walks and three strikeouts in six innings.
Young's sixth-inning double was the 300th of his career ... Keppinger went 0-for-3 to extend his season-high streak of consecutive hitless at-bats to 13. ... The start of the game was delayed six minutes by rain. ... The Reds claimed IF-OF Andy Phillips off waivers from the Mets and optioned RHP Daryl Thompson to Triple-A Louisville. ... Phillips played in 15 games for the Reds before the Mets claimed him off waivers on June 25. ... Kearns was activated from the 15-day DL and IF-OF Kory Casto was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.