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Cincinnati at Washington

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Cincinnati (13-12)000101100391
Washington (13-11) «02220000x6101

Harper's heroics help Nats beat Reds

CBSSports.com wire reports
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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Nationals acquired center fielder Denard Span for his ability to hit leadoff and play defense.

Saturday against Cincinnati, it was his fielding that stole the show.

Span made pair of impressive catches to halt Reds rallies, Harper hit a two-run homer and scored twice, and Dan Haren had his best start of the young season as the Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3.

Span and Jayson Werth each had two hits for Washington, which has won the first three games of the four-game set. Harper's two RBI gave him 18, a Nationals record for April.

"[We were] two hits away, had it not been for Span, from tying that game up or even going ahead," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "Those were two heck of a plays. Very rarely do you see two Web Gems in one game."

Trailing 6-2 in the seventh, the Reds got a two-out RBI single from pinch-hitter Todd Frazier off Tyler Clippard to make it 6-3. Shin-Soo Choo then walked to load the bases and Zack Cozart hit a laser to left-center, but Span's running catch ended the threat.

"I didn't think he had a chance to outrun that ball. He outran it. When [Cozart] hit it, I thought `that's going to score three,"' Washington manager Davey Johnson said.

In the sixth, after Choo homered to lead off and Cozart singled, Span thwarted the rally when he raced to the wall in left-center and made a leaping catch to take at least an extra-base hit away from Joey Votto.

"I got a great jump on both of those balls," Span said. "On Votto, I was already playing deep, respecting his power. I'm not sure if the ball would have went over, but I was prepared to bring it back if it did go out."

Haren (2-3) didn't quite match Jordan Zimmermann's one-hitter and Gio Gonzalez's impressive eight innings of one-hit ball the previous two games, but he was sharp enough. Haren allowed two runs and six hits over six innings.

"That was more like him. He's still throwing with velocity, but he just changes speeds, moves the ball around, pitches," Johnson said.

Haren, who was roughed up by Cincinnati for six runs and nine hits in four innings of a 15-0 loss on April 5, lowered his ERA from 7.36 to 6.29 in his longest outing of the year.

"I finally feel like part of the team," said Haren, who was signed as a free agent this past offseason. "I've got to be like this or better the rest of the year. There's no excuse for me not to be."

Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.

Brandon Phillips had three singles for Cincinnati, which has lost four of five.

Reds starter Mike Leake (1-1) gave up four runs, three earned, in three innings.

The Nationals scored twice in the second. Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon drew one-out walks. Kurt Suzuki popped out, but Haren blooped a single into short right field scoring Desmond. Rendon went to third and scored when Span singled.

Harper and Werth opened the third with singles and, after Adam LaRoche flied out, Desmond singled, scoring Harper. Leake fanned Rendon, but Suzuki hit a grounder toward the hole between third and shortstop. Third baseman Jack Hannahan made a diving stop, but threw wide to second and Werth scored as the ball rolled into right field.

The Reds ended a 17-inning scoring drought in the fourth when Votto doubled and Phillips singled him home.

Harper, on the one-year anniversary of his callup, put the Nationals ahead 6-1 in the fourth, homering into the Washington bullpen on a 1-2 pitch off Alfredo Simon with Danny Espinosa on first. It was Harper's ninth of the season.

"And if you know him, he probably (thinks) he's having an off-year right now," Johnson said of Harper. "He expects lot of himself and that's a good trait."

Notes

  • Reds LF Chris Heisey left in the third inning with a strained right hamstring.
  • Nationals C Wilson Ramos, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, caught three innings and went 0 for 1 with a walk Friday night in the first game of a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg. Johnson said Ramos will travel with the team to Atlanta Sunday. He's eligible to come off the DL Monday.. Johnson said 3B Ryan Zimmerman, on the DL with a left hamstring strain, will likely begin a rehab assignment Monday and rejoin the team Friday in Pittsburgh.
  • Cincinnati LHP Chris Cingrani (1-0, 2.25) opposes LHP Ross Detwiler (1-1, 1.38) in Sunday's finale.
 
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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Bryce Harper hits a two-run homer, which gives him 18 RBI, a Nationals record for April. (Getty Images)
Bryce Harper hits a two-run homer, which gives him 18 RBI, a Nationals record for April. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Cincinnati

B. Phillips
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Washington

B. Harper
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Cincinnati Reds
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Shin-Soo Choo, CF3111100 .360
Zack Cozart, SS4010013 .198
Joey Votto, 1B4110001 .278
Brandon Phillips, 2B4031001 .276
Jay Bruce, RF4110012 .255
Chris Heisey, LF1000001 .173
    Xavier Paul, LF2000111 .303
Jack Hannahan, 3B3010012 .333
    J.J. Hoover, P0000000 .000
    Sean Marshall, P0000000 .000
   a- Cesar Izturis, PH1000010 .192
Devin Mesoraco, C4000012 .250
Mike Leake, P1000010 .364
    Alfredo Simon, P1000001 .500
   b- Todd Frazier, PH-3B2011010 .250
Totals3439328  
a-struck out for Marshall in the 9th
b-singled for Simon in the 7th
Batting
2B - Joey Votto (2, Haren)
HR - Shin-Soo Choo (4, Haren)
RBI - Shin-Soo Choo (10), Brandon Phillips (22), Todd Frazier (19)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Phillips (8), Todd Frazier (5)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Jack Hannahan (1, Throwing)
Cincinnati Reds
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Mike Leake (L,1-1) 3643310 4.34
Alfredo Simon 3422211 4.91
J.J. Hoover 1000010 3.55
Sean Marshall 1000020 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 71-44, Alfredo Simon 54-33, J.J. Hoover 16-10, Sean Marshall 11-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 3-5, Alfredo Simon 4-3, J.J. Hoover 1-1
Batters Faced - Mike Leake 18, Alfredo Simon 14, J.J. Hoover 3, Sean Marshall 3
Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Denard Span, CF5021011 .294
Danny Espinosa, 2B4100103 .174
Bryce Harper, LF3222101 .373
Jayson Werth, RF3120101 .275
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000004 .143
Ian Desmond, SS3111121 .286
Anthony Rendon, 3B3110112 .167
Kurt Suzuki, C4010002 .240
Dan Haren, P3011003 .200
    Zach Duke, P0000000 .000
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
    Drew Storen, P0000000 .000
   a- Stephen Lombardozzi, PH1000010 .263
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
Totals33610555  
a-struck out for Storen in the 8th
Batting
HR - Bryce Harper (9, Simon)
RBI - Denard Span (9), Bryce Harper 2 (18), Ian Desmond (7), Dan Haren (1)
2-OUT RBI - Denard Span (4), Dan Haren (1)
CS - Bryce Harper (2, 3rd base by Simon/Mesoraco)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Rendon-Espinosa-LaRoche, Desmond-Espinosa-LaRoche, Desmond-Espinosa-LaRoche
E - Danny Espinosa (1, Throwing)
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dan Haren (W,2-3) 6622051 6.29
Zach Duke 0.2010110 5.56
Tyler Clippard (H,4) 0.1100100 3.86
Drew Storen (H,4) 1200000 5.79
Rafael Soriano (S,7) 1000020 3.60
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 88-56, Zach Duke 18-10, Tyler Clippard 12-5, Drew Storen 13-8, Rafael Soriano 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 5-6, Zach Duke 1-1, Drew Storen 2-0
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 22, Zach Duke 4, Tyler Clippard 3, Drew Storen 4, Rafael Soriano 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38903
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Andy Fletcher