Cincinnati at Washington

W: C. Wang (2-2) L: M. Leake (10-8)
S: D. Storen (32)
HR: CIN - None   WAS - M. Morse (21),R. Zimmerman (7)

Nationals 6, Reds 4 wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Chien-Ming Wang is pitching better than he has in three years, and the Washington Nationals believe this is only the beginning.

Wang won back-to-back starts for the first time since 2008 and Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman homered to lift the Nationals to a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.

Wang (2-2) allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings, his longest outing since a stint of 7 1/3 innings on June 10, 2008, that began his previous consecutive wins run.

"I think he's just going to get stronger," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Wang, who threw more breaking balls because his sinker wasn't sharp. "From what I've seen, he wasn't tired, and he was still throwing the ball hard."

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Morse homered into the right-field seats in the third inning for his 21st shot this season. He also hit a run-scoring double in the first. Zimmerman led off the fifth with his seventh home run.

Ian Desmond singled in two runs in Washington's three-run first. Morse leads the Nationals in batting average (.323) and home runs (21).

"Ever since I've been here, he hasn't had really a bad day," said Johnson, who took over as manager on June 26. "He missed one day and came back hitting ropes the next day. I don't know where we'd be without him. He's been awfully good."

Johnson will consider moving Morse to left field, where he was slated to play before first baseman Adam LaRoche tore his labrum and rotator cuff in May. As long as he brings his bat to the ballpark, he should help the Nationals.

"He's just a good hitter," Johnson said. "He hits the breaking ball, fastball. It doesn't matter what they throw him."

Cincinnati's Mike Leake (10-8) allowed six runs -- five earned -- and five hits in six innings. His streak of five straight quality starts was snapped.

"I felt like I threw the ball pretty good," Leake said. "The balls that they hit out were off the plate, good pitches. I don't know if they had a good plan or what."

Wang, who has never had a hit in the major leagues, helped himself with the bat. After catcher Wilson Ramos doubled in the fourth inning, Wang made contact and moved him to third with a grounder to shortstop.

That drew spirited applause from the crowd and set Ramos up to score when first baseman Joey Votto bobbled a grounder hit by Rick Ankiel for an error. That gave the Nationals a 5-2 lead that held up.

Drew Storen pitched the ninth inning for his 32nd save in 36 chances.

Wang, who made his fourth start of the season, missed the previous two years after shoulder surgery. His back-to-back victories followed starts in which he allowed six runs in each.

In his third start, Wang allowed one hit in six innings against the Cubs on Aug. 9 while pitching on five days of rest. Wang had six days off before Tuesday's outing because of a rainout on Sunday and a day off Monday.

The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, by right fielder Jayson Werth kept them from scoring more. Werth made a sliding catch of a ball hit by Brandon Phillips that sliced toward the right-field line. However, after Jay Bruce singled in a run, Werth couldn't pull in a drive by Ramon Hernandez that fell in for a single and drove in the second run.

But that early lead was gone in a hurry.

"We're not scoring a lot of runs right now," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It puts a lot of pressure on the pitcher, so you've really got to pitch and play defense."


Reds SS Edgar Renteria left the game in the seventh inning after he strained his left groin while running the bases. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. This marked the first meeting of the season between these teams. The Astros still haven't played the Giants or Rockies, the only NL teams not to face each other yet this season. ... The Reds' Johnny Cueto (8-5, 1.94) will face the Nationals' Ross Detwiler on Wednesday.

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

M. Morse
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1

J. Bruce
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0

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Cincinnati Reds
Drew Stubbs, CF5110012 .251
Edgar Renteria, SS4011002 .245
    Paul Janish, PR-SS1000000 .224
Joey Votto, 1B3210101 .318
Brandon Phillips, 2B4000013 .283
Jay Bruce, RF4012000 .274
Ramon Hernandez, C4011000 .297
Yonder Alonso, LF4020002 .435
    Bill Bray, P0000000 .000
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Mike Leake, P1000000 .238
   a- Fred Lewis, PH1110000 .247
    Jose Arredondo, P00000001.000
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2B - Edgar Renteria (10, Wang), Joey Votto (29, Wang)
SH - Mike Leake (9)
RBI - Edgar Renteria (28), Jay Bruce 2 (80), Ramon Hernandez (30)
2-OUT RBI - Jay Bruce (21), Ramon Hernandez (6)
SB - Drew Stubbs (29, 2nd base off Wang/Ramos)
Team LOB - 7
E - Joey Votto (5, Misplayed grounder)
Cincinnati Reds
Mike Leake (L,10-8) 6765152 4.00
Jose Arredondo 1000010 3.28
Bill Bray 1100000 2.33
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 89-56, Jose Arredondo 10-7, Bill Bray 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 10-4, Jose Arredondo 2-0, Bill Bray 1-2
Batters Faced - Mike Leake 27, Jose Arredondo 3, Bill Bray 4
Washington Nationals
Rick Ankiel, CF4110010 .247
Danny Espinosa, 2B4000012 .223
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4221000 .296
Michael Morse, 1B4222000 .323
Jayson Werth, RF3010110 .226
Laynce Nix, LF3000013 .253
   a- Jonny Gomes, PH1000001 .213
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Wilson Ramos, C3110002 .246
Chien-Ming Wang, P3000021 .000
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
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a-lined out for Nix in the 8th
2B - Michael Morse (29, Leake), Jayson Werth (23, Bray), Wilson Ramos (15, Leake)
HR - Ryan Zimmerman (7, Leake), Michael Morse (21, Leake)
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2-OUT RBI - Ian Desmond 2 (8)
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Washington Nationals
Chien-Ming Wang (W,2-2) 6.1744100 4.22
Tyler Clippard (H,31) 1.2100010 1.60
Drew Storen (S,32) 1000020 2.76
Pitches-Strikes - Chien-Ming Wang 78-51, Tyler Clippard 25-16, Drew Storen 11-10
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Game Information
Attendance - 23888
Game Time - 2:23
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Ed Rapuano, Third Base - Angel Campos