Washington Nationals Recap: Johnny Cueto Dominates, Max Scherzer Struggles as Nats Fall 5-0


The Washington Nationals (46-38) were shutout by the Cincinnati Reds (38-44) to the tune of 5-0. Johnny Cueto (6-5, 2.61) went the distance, giving up only two hits and a walk while striking out eleven. Max Scherzer (9-7, 2.12) gave his shortest outing of the year, only managing to throw 4.2 innings while allowing five earned on seven hits and striking out only four batters. The fourth place Reds improved their season record against the Nats to 5-0.

Scherzer got off to a rough start, allowing back-to-back hits to Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto to start the game. Votto drove in Phillips with an RBI double to right center, but the Reds weren’t finished there. Two batters later, Jay Bruce brought Votto home with a triple off the right center field wall.

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The score remained at 2-0 until the 3rd inning, when Votto smacked a 94 mph fastball right down the middle into the right field seats to extend the lead to 3-0 Cincinnati. Two innings later, Votto struck again, driving in Billy Hamilton on a single. Hamilton advanced to third on the hit, and scored on the following at-bat when Todd Frazier hit a sacrifice fly. After Scherzer failed to get the next hitter out, manager Matt Williams was forced to pull him and go to the bullpen.

Taylor Jordan came on in relief, ending the inning in one pitch. He went on to pitch three more innings, allowing no runs on only two hits and walked one for his best outing of the season. Sammy Solis came in for the ninth, and took down the Reds in order, forcing three groundball outs.

On the offensive side of the ball… well, there wasn’t much offense. Bryce Harper went 1-for-3 with a walk and bloop single to left in the first. Ian Desmond hit a triple down the third base line to lead off the fifth, but was stranded at third after Cueto struck out the side. The rest of the Nats lineup went a combined 0-for-21.

Defensively, the Nats struggled as well, making up their 51st and 52nd errors of the season. In the first inning, Dan Uggla allowed a short throw from Matt den Dekker to go right between his legs, allowing Brandon Phillips to advance from first to second. Later in the game, third baseman Danny Espinosa allowed Brandon Phillips to reach base after mishandling a bad hop off a sharp grounder.

Injury Notes: Denard Span (back) and Yunel Escobar (hamstring) both sat out Tuesday’s game, and are each considered day-to-day.

Next Game: The Nationals finish the three game series with Cincinnati at 7:05 PM ET in Washington Wednesday night, as Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 4.61) looks to ride his recent success against Michael Lorenzen (3-3, 3.58). The game will be available on MASN in the local D.C. area.

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