CINCINNATI (AP) — Johnny Cueto pitched six innings around a rain delay and drove home two runs Monday night, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-2 victory over the Washington Nationals in a matchup of teams that hadn't been able to score lately.
Both teams were coming off 1-0 losses, but the futility went much deeper. The Nationals had been blanked in their last two games. The Reds had been shut out in three of their last five, all by 1-0 scores.
The Nationals couldn't get past one wild inning by J.D. Martin (1-5), who walked three in the second. Drew Stubbs had a two-run double, and Cueto followed with his first RBIs of the season.
A thunderstorm forced a 42-minute delay after the third inning. Neither starter had a problem immediately after the break.
Cueto gave another stingy performance, then sat back to see if the bullpen would waste it again. The bullpen has blown five leads for Cueto, the most for any pitcher in the majors.
Not this time. Three relievers gave up three walks, but held the Nationals without a hit the rest of the way. The Nationals finished with four hits.
In his last six starts, Cueto has allowed five earned runs for a 1.16 ERA.
The Nationals got two runs in the third on Nyjer Morgan's sacrifice fly and Cristian Guzman's single. They failed to take advantage of a bases-loaded chance in the sixth set up by an unusual play.
After Cueto walked two batters, Ivan Rodriguez came up with two outs and hit a grounder that deflected off the side of the mound and slightly changed course. Second base umpire Gary Cederstrom — stationed on the grass behind the mound — leaned to get out of the way of the redirected ball, but it hit his back and deflected past second baseman Brandon Phillips into the outfield.
Ryan Zimmerman came around to score from second, but was sent back to third, leaving the bases loaded. Under baseball's rules, it's a dead ball when the ball hits an umpire before an infielder has a chance to make a play. Each runner got one base. Willie Harris then flied out.
NOTES: Nationals 1B Adam Dunn walked twice, struck out and popped out. He has the most career homers at Great American Ball Park with 125. ... Reds 3B Scott Rolen got a cortisone shot in his right hamstring before the game. Rolen felt a burn in the muscle while tagging on a fly Friday night. The Reds will decide within a couple of days whether to put him on the 15-day DL. ... Phillips made the most acrobatic play of the game, leaping high to get Guzman's slicing liner in the sixth inning.