Washington, DC – Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer and scored two runs as the Washington Nationals downed the slumping Cincinnati Reds, 6-3, on Saturday.
Denard Span collected two hits and drove in one run and Ian Desmond had an RBI single and scored a run for the Nationals, winners of three straight, all of which have come in this four-game set.
Starter Dan Haren (2-3) allowed two runs on six hits and struck out five over six innings in the victory.
"Much better, much better," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Haren when he keeps the ball down. "When he's like that, he's tough."
Shin-Soo Choo hit a solo home run, while Brandon Phillips went 3-for-4 with an RBI for the Reds, who have dropped three straight and four of five. Starter Mike Leake (1-1) lasted just three innings and gave up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and walked three in the setback.
Cincinnati, which was held to one hit in each of the first two games of the series, struggled offensively in the early going once again. Washington led 4-0 through three innings of play.
"Once I got ahead, they were kind of making me throw the pitch they wanted so I wasn't able to put them away," Leake said, "or I was getting behind."
Haren helped his own cause with a two-out RBI single in the second and Span then smacked a single to center scoring Anthony Rendon to make it 2-0.
Harper and Jayson Werth led off the third with back-to-back singles. After an Adam LaRoche fly out, Desmond singled home Harper. Following a Rendon strikeout, Kurt Suzuki hit a chopper to third and Werth scored a Jack Hannahan's throwing error to make it 4-0.
Joey Votto helped get the Reds on the board in the fourth. He hit a double to left with two outs and scored on Phillips' RBI single to make it 4-1.
Alfredo Simon replaced Leake in the in the bottom of the frame but ran into some trouble with a runner on first and one out. Harper launched his 1-2 offering over the right-field wall for his ninth homer of the season and a 6-1 Nationals lead.
"I was trying to hit something up," Harper said. "Not do anything too special, just hit something into the outfield and score that guy. We played a great game. Out pitching came out pretty well for us."
Cincinnati struck back with runs in the sixth and seventh. Choo clubbed a lead-off homer to right field in the former. One inning later, Tyler Clippard gave up a single to pinch-hitter Todd Frazier which plated Jay Bruce to cut the visitors' deficit to 6-3.
Drew Storen allowed two hits but escaped with a scoreless eighth, then Rafael Soriano earned his seventh save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
Harper now has 18 RBI this month, good for the best mark in Nationals history in April ... It was Haren's longest outing in four starts this season ... The Reds fell to 1-8 on the road ... Werth added two hits for Washington.