Eugenio Suarez homered off Washington ace Max Scherzer in his first career start as a leadoff hitter, Tyler Mahle allowed three hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Nationals 2-1 on Tuesday night.
Kyle Farmer also homered off Scherzer to go with Suarez’s 10th of the season as the Reds snapped a five-game slide at Washington and five-game skid overall against the Nationals in the clubs’ first meeting since 2019.
Suarez still struck out three times — running his season total to 65 — and is batting .150. Manager David Bell bumped him up in the lineup in hopes of changing those trends.
“It’s really just to help Geno, doing anything to mix it up a little bit,” Bell said before the game. “More than anything (it’s) just giving him a different look.”
Quipped Suarez afterward: “Nothing different. I got four at-bats. I thought I was going to get five.”
Tejay Antone worked 2 2/3 hitless innings or relief to follow Mahle (3-2).
Washington‘s Josh Bell belted his sixth homer in the ninth off Amir Garrett, and Lucas Sims got the final out for his second save.
Scherzer (4-3) allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings in his first loss since late April. He struck out nine in his fifth straight outing allowing two runs or fewer.
Both starters walked one, but Mahle won the duel thanks to two swings.
Farmer drove the opening pitch of the third inning into the seats in left, a fastball that caught too much of the plate.
“I’ve got to be better in that situation,” Scherzer said. “I even had a feeling he was going to be swinging.”
In the sixth, Suarez took a 1-1 changeup over the scoreboard in right-center.
“He missed the changeup right in my strike zone,” Suarez said, “and I was ready to hit it.”
Reds: RF Aristides Aquino (left hand fracture) will need a rehab assignment and is likely to join Triple-A Louisville next month, Bell said. … 1B Joey Votto (left thumb) took swings and ground balls in Cincinnati on Tuesday. … 3B Mike Moustakas (right heel) could progress from running in water to running outdoors this weekend, Bell said.
Nationals: With CF Victor Robles (right ankle sprain) placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday, backdated to Thursday, manager Dave Martinez said it’s not clear whether Robles will return as soon as he’s eligible. … RHP Tanner Rainey has been cleared from the COVID-19 list and threw a bullpen session Tuesday.
MUCH ABOUT DOOLITTLE
Reds reliever Sean Doolittle was honored with a pregame video montage and presented with signed memorabilia in his first game in Washington since departing as a free agent last season.
Doolittle spent three-and-a-half seasons with the Nationals, making his second All-Star appearance in 2018 and helping the club to its only World Series title a year later. He’s 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 appearances for Cincinnati.
“He was a very important part of this ballclub but also of this city,” Martinez said. “We miss him. We’re glad he’s doing well, but I can’t wait to see him.”
Jeff Hoffman (3-3, 4.31 ERA) aims for his first career win against Washington on Wednesday, while Joe Ross (2-4, 5.72) tries for his third straight win against Cincinnati.
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