While their trend of scoring late did not continue, the streak of stellar starts did.
Edwin Jackson threw a 92 pitch, one run, nine strikeout complete game and Adam LaRoche went 2 for 3 with a walk and 2 RBI as the Nationals (7-2) defeated the Reds, 4-1.
Jackson was masterful, and was made to look even better by Reds starter Homer Bailey, who threw 110 pitches in 3 fewer innings. The Nationals’ starters have been incredible recently, combining to throw 34 innings and allowing only two runs, for an ERA of 0.53, during the team’s 5-game winning streak. The complete game was also a boon for the bullpen, which was given a break one night after five different relievers had to pitch a combined 6 innings in the Nationals’ 13-inning win last night.
The offense struck early instead of late today, and gave Jackson a 3-0 lead after the third inning thanks to a two-run double by Adam LaRoche. Leadoff hitter Ian Desmond was not as sharp as he has been during his hot start, going 0-5 with a strikeout. Danny Espinosa scored two runs and went 1 for 4 with a walk, while Ryan Zimmerman went 1 for 4 with a run of his own. Jayson Werth had his second consecutive good game, going 2 for 3 with a walk, a hit, and an RBI. Rick Ankiel was 0 for 4 in his return from the DL, and Jesus Flores went 3 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. However, the Nats continued a disturbing trend by stranding 10 runners, and has now left a combined 31 runners on base during the first three games of this series. This inability to hit with runners on base is starting to become a problem, as only a few solid knocks could turn late-inning heart pounders into easy wins.
Champ of the Game: Jackson’s pitching performance made him look like baseball’s best #4 starter.
For the Reds, Miguel Cairo had one of their two hits and scored their only run.
Chump of the Game: In a game of great performances, Ian Desmond went hitless and stranded Jesus Flores a few times.
Homer Bailey labored for the Reds and allowed three runs in 6 IP, while throwing 18 more pitches than Jackson would for the entire game.
Unsung Heroes: Jesus Flores continued to play well; he went 3-3 with a walk and an RBI, and Jayson Werth continued his momentum from last night’s game with his two hits.
For the Reds, Drew Stubbs had their 2nd hit and only RBI.
Next Game: Sunday, April 15th at 1:35PM at Nationals Park. Leake (0-1) v. Detwiler (1-0)