WASHINGTON – Tony Cingrani started the fourth inning with a strikeout, but the batter reached on a wild pitch. The next hitter doubled, and after striking out Bryce Harper, another batter walked to load the bases.
But as he always does, Cingrani kept attacking.
With the bases loaded, Cingrani threw only one ball while striking out Ian Desmond and threw only one more ball while striking out Adam LaRoche for the Reds rookie’s fourth K of the inning.
That’s what I do, Cingrani said.
Not usually like that, though.
Cingrani struck out a career-high 11 and the Reds beat the Washington Nationals 5-2 Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.
He threw strikes. He threw near strikes, some tease strikes, Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said of Cingrani, who allowed two hits in six shutout innings. He was around the plate.
Cingrani joined Joe Nuxhall, Mario Soto, Tim Birtsas and Frankie Rodriguez as the only Reds with a four-strikeout inning.
Brandon Phillips had a two-run single as the Reds (14-12) improved to a major league-worst 2-9 on the road.
PIRATES 9, CARDINALS 0: In St. Louis, rookie Jeff Locke pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and Russell Martin had two of four home runs as Pittsburgh leapfrogged St. Louis for the NL Central lead.
MARLINS 6, CUBS 4: In Miami, Giancarlo Stanton homered twice and drove in four runs, helping the Marlins avert a four-game series sweep.
Chicago’s Dioner Navarro went deep in the ninth against Steve Cishek, who nonetheless earned his third save in four chances.
PHILLIES 5, METS 1: In New York, Ryan Howard snapped a seventh-inning tie with a pinch-hit double, Cole Hamels earned his first win of the season and the Philadelphia took advantage of a New York error to finish a three-game sweep.
DODGERS 2, BREWERS 0: In Los Angeles, Clayton Kershaw retired 18 consecutive batters and struck out 12 in eight dominant innings and Carl Crawford homered twice against Kyle Lohse.
DIAMONDBACKS 4, ROCKIES 2: In Phoenix, Gerardo Parra tripled and scored twice, and Josh Wilson had a run-scoring double to lead Arizona, which took three of four from Colorado.
Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was lifted in the bottom of the third inning because of a strained left shoulder.
PADRES 6, GIANTS 4: in San Diego, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Alexi Amarista homered off Ryan Vogelsong and San Diego completed its first three-game sweep of the Giants since May 2010.