Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Jay Bruce paced a six-run seventh inning by striking a two-run double and Cincinnati emerged with an 8-2 decision over Washington on Sunday to sweep a three-game set.
Brandon Phillips homered among his two hits, drove in two and scored twice for the Reds. Todd Frazier also went deep as part of his 3-for-4 performance which included two RBI and two runs scored.
"That old saying hitting is contagious, same kind of thing goes with runners in scoring position, everybody relaxes, understands that we don't need to get outside our strike zone and let the pitch come to you and attack," Frazier said.
J.J. Hoover (4-0) picked up the win in relief by recording the final two outs in the top of the seventh. Mike Lorenzen walked six over his 6 1/3 innings, but allowed one hit and two runs while striking out four.
Michael Taylor hit a two-run single in the seventh for the Nationals, who have dropped four of five.
Aaron Barrett (3-1) was charged with the deciding runs while retiring just one batter. Tanner Roark lasted six full frames, during which he gave up four hits and a pair of runs.
Lorenzen retired 12 straight Nats until a walk to Bryce Harper began the seventh. He also walked Ryan Zimmerman and Danny Espinosa to load the bases. Hoover took over on the mound and gave up the hit by Taylor before pinch- hitter Clint Robinson lined into an inning-ending double play.
In the home half, Billy Hamilton reached on a fielder's choice bunt, stole second and scored on a Phillips hit and Cincinnati led, 3-2. Joey Votto walked and Frazier's double plated Phillips ahead of a two-run double from Bruce for a 6-2 contest.
"Maybe the biggest thing in the inning was the fact that the pitcher dropped that bunt and that it put Billy on first base, instead of Marlon," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "And then all the attention they had focused on him set the stage for what happened afterwards."
Bruce stole third, Zack Cozart was given a free pass and pinch-hitter Brennan Boesch scored him on a single before Tucker Barnhart plated Cosart on a base hit which produced a six-run bulge. Marlon Byrd ended the rally on a 6-4-3 double-play grounder.
"They've been pushed with the short starts and the spot start, they've been pushed a lot on this road trip," Nationals Manager Matt Williams said of his relievers, who didn't help on Sunday and worked almost 23 innings over the past six games.
Tony Cingrani struck out the side in the eighth and Manny Parra induced three straight groundouts in the ninth.
Roark doubled with two down in the second and Taylor, who walked in the at-bat prior, was thrown out at home.
Frazier's leadoff shot just inside the left-field foul pole in the fourth put the Reds on the board.
Phillips reached the seats in left center with two away in the fifth for a two-run edge.
Cincinnati completed its homestand with a 4-2 record, and will head to Philadelphia to open a three-game series on Tuesday ... Washington kicks off a seven-game residency on Monday against Toronto ... Phillips' homer snapped an 0-for-18 string.