Washington Nationals Rout Reds 12-1 In Strasburg’s Return

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Jul 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa (8) is congratulated by catcher Wilson Ramos (40) and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) and third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) after hitting a grand slam against the Cincinnati Reds during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 3, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa (8) is congratulated by catcher Wilson Ramos (40) and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (37) and third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) after hitting a grand slam against the Cincinnati Reds during the fourth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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 The Washington Nationals defeated the Reds and Stephen Strasburg threw 6.2 no-hit innings in his return off the DL. 

The Washington Nationals dominated the Cincinnati Reds 12-1 behind nearly seven innings of no-hit ball courtesy of Stephen Strasburg in his return from the disabled list. Danny Espinosa had two home run, including a grand slam, as the Nats won their 50th game of the season.

Coming off the DL with an upper back strain, not many were sure what to expect out of Stephen Strasburg (11-0, 2.71 ERA) in his return to the mound. He picked up right where he left off before hitting the shelf, tossing 6.2 innings without allowing a hit. He left the game with two outs in the seventh, having thrown 109 pitches and four walks allowed.

The Nats (50-33) scored early and often, kicking off their offensive onslaught in the bottom half of the second inning. Wilson Ramos left the yard with a solo shot to center on the first pitch he saw to put Washington up 1-0 early. It was Ramos’ 13th home run of the season.

Reds’ starter John Lamb (1-5, 5.43) struggled with his command, walking four batters and allowing eight hits in only 4.1 innings of work. His control issues were highlighted in the fourth, when he walked the first three batters he faced to load the bases for Danny Espinosa.

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The Nats’ shortstop continued his hot hitting, crushing a 405-foot grand slam into the left field seats. Espinosa would not be done there, hitting an RBI-single in the next inning. Bryce Harper launched his 17th home run of the season during the inning, and Wilson Ramos drove in Daniel Murphy with a double to give the Nats an 8-0 lead through five.

Murphy joined the RBI club in the sixth with a single to left that brought Jayson Werth around to score. In the seventh, the Nats kept the party rolling with back-to-back home runs. Anthony Rendon led off the inning with a solo home run to left (his eighth of the season). Espinosa would follow that up with his second of the game to take the team lead (18) in home runs over Harper.

Blake Treinen relieved Strasburg with a runner on third and two outs in the seventh, forcing Billy Hamilton to ground out to keep the no-hitter intact. Matt Belisle lost it the next inning, however, allowing Ramon Cabrera to single to left to lead off the frame. The Reds (30-53) would push a run across later in the inning on an RBI-single off the bat of Jose Peraza.

Next: Nats Trade Target: Jay Bruce

In the eighth, the Washington Nationals padded their lead with Stephen Drew‘s seventh homer of the season to go up 12-1. Oliver Perez pitched a scoreless ninth to put the Nats 17 games over .500.

Next Game: The Washington Nationals host the Milwaukee Brewers for the opener of a three-game set on July 4th. Max Scherzer (9-5, 3.30) is set to face Junior Guerra (5-1, 3.25) with first pitch slated for 11:05 a.m. You can watch the game on MASN. 

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