Reds hope to avoid sweep by Nationals

Veteran righty Bronson Arroyo makes his 298th major-league start and aims to avoid a sweep today when the Cincinnati Reds host the Washington Nationals to close out a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

The Nationals, who entered the series after losing three of four games, won their second straight against the Reds on Saturday when Jordan Zimmermann tossed seven solid innings and Danny Espinosa launched the go-ahead solo home run in the sixth in a 2-1 victory.

Zimmermann (2-3) fanned nine and surrendered just a run on five hits and a walk for NL East-leading Washington, which has won three straight on the heels of a three-game losing skid.

Wilson Ramos added a solo shot, but left the game in the seventh inning with an apparent knee injury. The injury occurred as Ramos was tracking down a passed ball from Zimmermann. Ramos hurried to the ball, but as he went to pick it up, his knee buckled underneath him.

Mat Latos allowed a run on three hits and five walks in five innings for the Reds, who have lost three of their last four.

Jose Arredondo (2-1) relieved Latos in the sixth and was immediately welcomed by Espinosa, who smacked a solo homer to right field, making it 2-1 in favor of Washington.

Tyler Clippard threw a scoreless eighth and Henry Rodriguez struck out the side in the ninth to notch his eighth save of the season.

Cincinnati's Arroyo has been the Reds' second most consistent pitcher behind ace Johnny Cueto this season, winning two of three starts and pitching six innings or more five times.

He defeated Milwaukee, 6-1, in his last start on May 7 after allowing a run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Arroyo, who is 3-3 in 10 lifetime starts against Washington, got a no-decision against them on April 13 after 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a game the Reds ultimately lost, 2-1.

He's allowed three runs or less in five of six starts and has seen his earned run average drop from a season-high 5.68 to its current 2.75.

Washington replies with 28-year-old Edwin Jackson, who's 61-61 in 209 career big-league outings.

Jackson has split a pair of decisions to remain at .500 this season, defeating the Reds with a complete-game effort on April 14 before dropping an 11-4 verdict to Houston one start later.

Against Cincinnati, Jackson allowed a run on two hits while walking one and striking out a season-best nine.

Washington won the game, 4-1.

It was Jackson's first win in two career starts against the Reds.

Cincinnati won four of the six meetings with the Nats last season.