Sonny Gray pitched six innings of two-hit ball and the Cincinnati Reds defeated the Nationals 3-0 in seven innings on Thursday night for a split after Washington won 5-3 in the completion of a suspended game.
Trea Turner and Josh Bell hit run-scoring singles in the sixth inning for the Nationals in the finish of a game that started Wednesday night.
Gray (1-3) struck out five, walked one and required only two putouts from his outfield to complete Cincinnati’s first series win in Washington since 2015.
“The thought the whole day was challenge guys and throw seven innings,” said Gray, who threw 54 of 90 pitches for strikes and was removed partially because he took a liner to his glove on his final out.
“I think that just made the decision easy for me,” said manager David Bell, who expects Gray to be fine. “He was in a little bit of pain. I think even for a pitcher, it’s a little bit shocking to get a ball hit that hard back at you.”
Eugenio Suárez hit his 11th homer and first leadoff shot of his career. The drive came against Stephen Strasburg (1-2), who allowed all three runs and departed after a two-run fifth.
Jesse Winker singled in a run off the second-base bag and Tyler Naquin doubled inside the left field line. Gray also singled in the inning, one of five hits Strasburg allowed.
“I thought he kept us in the ballgame,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “Unfortunately, we’re out of the inning and the ball hits the base. The next guy hits the ball to left field.”
Lucas Sims worked the ninth for his third save.
Washington led 3-0 when Wednesday night’s game was suspended in middle of the fourth inning following a rain delay of 3 hours, 4 minutes.
When it resumed Thursday afternoon, Austin Voth (1-0) allowed two hits in two scoreless innings to follow the four scoreless innings Joe Ross pitched on Wednesday.
“For me, I tried to treat it like I was coming out of the bullpen,” said Voth, who has 21 starts over his big league career but none this season.
“Today kind of felt normal,” he added. “Like I was preparing for a day game. It didn’t seem too weird.”
Daniel Hudson allowed two inherited runners to score in a three-run eighth, and Brad Hand worked the ninth for his eighth save in 10 chances.
Nick Castellanos and Tucker Barnhart singled in runs for the Reds, and Kyle Farmer added a sacrifice fly. Winker had four hits.
“We didn’t quit,” Barnhart said. “We put some good at-bats together in the eighth. We just couldn’t get anything going in the ninth.”
Ross and Starlin Castro singled in runs Wednesday, and Alex Avila drew a bases-loaded walk off Jeff Hoffman (3-4), who gave up two runs, two hits and five walks in 1 1/3 innings.
Reds: Hoffman, who was placed on the 10-day injured list after he left Wednesday’s game with shoulder soreness, returned to Cincinnati and was evaluated. “He has a shoulder impingement,” Bell said. “It’s not going to require surgery. He‘s going to have an aggressive rehab on it and try to get back as quick as he can.”
Nationals: RHP Tanner Rainey was activated from the COVID-19 injured list and RHP Kyle McGowin was optioned to Triple-A Rochester. Rainey came on to start the eighth, allowing three runs and three singles without retiring a batter. McGowin appeared as the 27th man on the roster in the second game. … RHP Erick Fedde has been cleared to participate in baseball activities on Friday but remains on the COVID-19 injured list. “He’s missed some time,” Martinez said of Fedde, whose last start came on May 16. “We’ve got to figure out a good game plan for him to keep him healthy.”
‘BE A BALLPLAYER’
Gray helped his own cause with five infield assists, a single and a run scored while being bumped up to eighth in the lineup.
“I just tried to be a ballplayer, slide my pants up and try to play baseball,” Gray said. “It was a fun baseball game.”
A FIRST-RATE IDEA
Suarez is 4 for 12 with a walk and two homers since moving up to the leadoff spot to start the series, lifting his average 12 points to .160.
“If anything, it’s just kind of shifted his mindset a little bit,” Bell said. “Just really good swings he‘s taking.
Reds: RHP Vladimir Gutiérrez makes his major league debut Friday at Wrigley Field.
Nationals: LHP Jon Lester (0-2) starts Friday against Milwaukee.
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