Nats crush, Stras cruises to sweep Cincy

CINCINNATI — Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was their starter on July 8, the last time his team lost a game, when he was roughed up by the Braves. There would be no bookending losses by Strasburg, who cruised behind another robust production from Washington’s lineup in a 6-1 victory over the Reds on Monday afternoon.

That made it a smooth four-game series sweep for the Nats, who also took six of the seven games in the season series. During the long weekend at Great American Ball Park, Washington slugged 13 home runs — including three on Monday.

Reds starter Scott Feldman struggled from the get-go, and he didn’t retire any of his first six batters. Bryce Harper‘s three-run homer was immediately followed by Ryan Zimmerman‘s home run, and that made it a 4-0 game. Feldman was done after one inning with five earned runs, five hits and one walk. Asher Wojciechowski replaced him and provided some quality relief, with one earned run over five innings. Wojciechowski’s first 4 2/3 innings were scoreless until Brian Goodwin hit a homer in the sixth.

Meanwhile, Strasburg had little to worry about as he worked seven innings with one run and four hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts. With the exception of Eugenio Suarez‘s two-out solo homer in the second inning, no other Reds batter reached second base against Strasburg all afternoon. He also picked up two double plays while racking up double-digit strikeouts for the sixth time this season and the 35th for his career.

One for the franchise record: Zimmerman made it back-to-back homers in the first inning when he took a first-pitch sinker from Feldman deep to left-center field. It was home run No. 20 of the season for Zimmerman, but more notably, it was his 235th career homer. That broke the Expos/Nationals franchise record previously held by Vladimir Guerrero. The slumping Zimmerman also had been without a homer since June 13. More >

Take two: In a strange play for the fifth Washington run in the first inning, Matt Wieters lifted a fly ball to right field that Scooter Gennett caught as he went down to the ground. While exchanging the ball from his glove to throw, Gennett couldn’t get up while Daniel Murphy tagged up from second base and kept running. Murphy scored standing up on what was ruled a sacrifice fly, and made it a 5-0 game.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Jeremy Vernon is a reporter for based in Cincinnati who covered the Nationals on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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