Reds try to secure sweep of Nationals

( - Despite Cincinnati being mired in fourth place in the National League Central, Joey Votto has been a bright spot of late for the Reds.

The veteran first baseman homered in Saturday's 8-5 comeback win over Washington. Votto will reach a milestone Sunday when the Reds aim for a three- game sweep of the Nationals at Great American Ball Park.

Votto will play in his 1,000th major league game, all with the Reds since he was selected in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft. He's reached base safely in 39-of-47 appearances this season and has a nine-game hitting streak. In fact, he's homered in the first two games of this series and it marks the third time he's gone deep in back-to-back games this season.

Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton each had two-run hits in the eighth inning to lead the Reds to Saturday's win.

Casey Janssen (0-1) was an out away from escaping a bases-loaded jam unscathed before Cozart lined a hit over Denard Span's head in center. He was charged with all four of Cincinnati's eighth-inning runs.

"A lot of times when we got down 5-2 a week ago would have probably ended 5-2. These last two games it seems like we battled," Cozart said.

Todd Frazier hit a pair of doubles. Raisel Iglesias allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts, and the win went to J.J. Hoover (3-0) with a scoreless inning in relief.

Michael Taylor hit a three-run home run for Washington, which lost its first series since it was swept at Miami from April 24-26. Starter Gio Gonzalez allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings with six strikeouts.

The Reds haven't won a season series against the Nationals since 2011, which also happens to be the last time they swept a series versus Washington.

Rookie right-hander Michael Lorenzen will pitch for the Reds Sunday. He will make his fifth start and seventh overall appearance of the season. Lorenzen allowed just two hits and a run in seven solid innings of a no-decision against Colorado on Tuesday.

Tanner Roark will make his 15th appearance, but just his second start of 2015 for the Nationals. The righty started Monday at Wrigley Field and earned the win after yielding just three hits and a run over five innings. His lone blemish came on Kris Bryant's homer in the first inning.

Roark is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Reds.

The Nationals hope to get right fielder Bryce Harper back in the lineup Sunday. He was scratched Saturday due to a sore back.

Cincinnati's bullpen has not allowed a run in its last four games, spanning the past 12 1/3 innings.