Cincinnati at Washington

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Cincinnati (3-6)010000000120
Washington (7-2) «01200010x4100

Jackson 2-hits Reds, keeps Nats hot

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- After retiring 16 consecutive Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, Washington Nationals starter Edwin Jackson suddenly took a walk on his wild side, opening the eighth inning with a four-pitch walk.

That made Nationals manager Davey Johnson jittery. So he called down to the bullpen to have All-Star setup man Tyler Clippard warm up, and sent pitching coach Steve McCatty to the mound. Let's listen to McCatty describe his exchange with Jackson:

"Like 'Full Metal Jacket.' I went and asked him: 'How are you doing?' He says: 'I'm fine.' I say: 'Well, do you want this?' He goes: 'Yes.' I said: 'Well, if you want it, you tell me you want it.' And he said: 'I want it,' just like that, and I felt like that drill sergeant."

And that, essentially, was that. McCatty returned to the dugout, and Jackson returned to dominating the Reds, finishing the eighth by striking out the next three batters, and tacking on the flourish of a 1-2-3 ninth. Efficient, effective and powering fastballs in the mid-90s mph all afternoon, Jackson threw a two-hitter for his fifth career complete game, helping Washington stretch its winning streak to five by beating Cincinnati 4-1.

As the elder statesman of a starting staff that includes Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann and Sunday's starter against the Reds, Ross Detwiler, the 28-year-old Jackson ran the rotation's numbers to two runs over the past 35 innings, an ERA of 0.51.

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"No one wants to be the weakest link. And when you have a staff like that, to where it's competitive but it's fun, it's always great," said Jackson (1-0), who threw a 149-pitch no-hitter with eight walks for Arizona in 2010, but needed only 92 pitches Saturday. "These guys, they put pressure on me today."

Said Strasburg, whose next turn is Monday: "We've got a great chemistry in the rotation. Every single one of these guys has unbelievable ability."

Other than a rocky second inning -- when he hit a batter, gave up a double to Miguel Cairo and an RBI single to Drew Stubbs -- Jackson threw, in Johnson's word, "a gem."

"Everything looked good. Except that when he threw the four pitches out of the strike zone, [I thought], 'Get Clip up. Get Clip up.' And then after he finished them off, I said, 'Why did I get Clip up?' But that's the fun of coaching and managing good young talent. Good talent, period," Johnson said.

Jackson struck out nine, including six of the last eight Reds.

"I even asked the umpire one time, `Man, are we that bad or is he that good?' And he said, 'Hey, he was that good,"' said Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker, whose team has lost five of its past six games, scoring a total of 10 runs in that span.

"Everything was moving, everything was sharp," Baker added. "Everything looked like a fastball - and then it would be a breaking ball in the dirt. He made us look badly today."

Jackson's last complete game came July 16, 2011, for the Chicago White Sox against Detroit. He finished last season with the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals, then signed a one-year free-agent deal with Washington.

Before an announced crowd of 35,489, Adam LaRoche provided a tiebreaking two-run double, Jesus Flores went 3 for 3 with an RBI while shrugging off a collision at the plate as a runner, and Jayson Werth had two hits. The NL East-leading Nationals improved to 7-2, by far their best start since moving from Montreal to Washington in 2005.

Bailey went six innings, giving up three runs and seven hits. He also walked four -- two apiece in the second and third innings, when Washington did all of its scoring off him. The biggest blow was LaRoche's drive to right-center in the third, breaking a 1-1 tie.

Accustomed to awful Aprils, and coming off an injury-shortened 2011, LaRoche added a single off reliever Sam LeCure ahead of Werth's run-scoring double in the seventh and is now hitting .333, with team highs of two homers and 10 RBI.

LaRoche played in only 43 games last year because of an injured left shoulder that he had surgery on in June. That still left time to hit .190 in April with 10 RBI -- a total he's already matched after nine games in 2012. The first full month of baseball generally has been the cruelest month for LaRoche: From 2004-11, he hit .207 and averaged 10.9 RBI in April.

"Everybody in here thinks it's a real good, special team. We keep that up, we're going to look up and have a lot of wins here at the end of the year," LaRoche said. "Pitching has been phenomenal."

Notes

  • Reds 3B Miguel Cairo left in the second inning with a strained left hamstring after doubling and coming around to score.
  • Reds 2B Brandon Phillips (left hamstring) was out of the lineup for the fifth consecutive game. He's expected to return Sunday.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Edwin Jackson fires 92 pitches -- 65 for strikes -- to lead the Nats to their fifth straight victory. (Getty Images)
Edwin Jackson fires 92 pitches -- 65 for strikes -- to lead the Nats to their fifth straight victory. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Washington

E. Jackson
IP 9.0
H 2
ER 1
BB 1
K 9
Washington

A. LaRoche
AB 3
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
 

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Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Willie Harris, 2B4000010 .059
Zack Cozart, SS4000010 .313
Joey Votto, 1B4000000 .290
Jay Bruce, RF3000010 .235
Miguel Cairo, 3B1110000 .111
    Wilson Valdez, 3B2000010 .222
    Sam LeCure, P0000000 .000
Chris Heisey, LF1000100 .188
Drew Stubbs, CF3011011 .147
Devin Mesoraco, C3000012 .167
Homer Bailey, P2000020 .000
    Scott Rolen, 3B1000011 .111
Totals2812119  
Batting
2B - Miguel Cairo (1, Jackson)
RBI - Drew Stubbs (1)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Cozart-Harris-Votto
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Homer Bailey (L,0-2) 6733430 5.40
Sam LeCure 2311120 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Homer Bailey 110-66, Sam LeCure 36-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Homer Bailey 6-8, Sam LeCure 2-2
Batters Faced - Homer Bailey 28, Sam LeCure 10
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Desmond, SS5000012 .326
Danny Espinosa, 2B4210113 .194
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4110011 .200
Adam LaRoche, 1B3022110 .333
Jayson Werth, RF3121101 .333
Xavier Nady, LF3000104 .217
Rick Ankiel, CF4000004 .000
Jesus Flores, C3031100 .600
Edwin Jackson, P4010013 .167
Totals33410455  
Batting
2B - Adam LaRoche (2, Bailey), Jayson Werth (2, LeCure)
RBI - Adam LaRoche 2 (10), Jayson Werth (5), Jesus Flores (2)
2-OUT RBI - Jesus Flores (2)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Zimmerman-LaRoche
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Edwin Jackson (W,1-0) 9211190 2.57
HBP - Heisey (by Edwin Jackson)
Pitches-Strikes - Edwin Jackson 92-67
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edwin Jackson 10-7
Batters Faced - Edwin Jackson 30
Game Information
Attendance - 35489
Game Time - 2:33
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Laz Diaz, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Paul Schrieber