Reynolds proves clutch for Kastles in 19th straight win

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Reynolds proves clutch for Kastles in 19th straight win

The Washington Kastles kicked off their home opener with a ring ceremony to commemorate the 2011 season, a season in which the Kastles went 16-0 en route to capture their second King Cup. Naturally, owner Mark Ein likened the 2011 Kastles to the 1972 Dolphins.

All the Kastles received rings, except for newcomer Anastasia Rodionova. Ein ensured Rodionova would receive a ring this time next year.

The Kastles are well on their way to continued dominance. The Kastles, already 2-0 on the season, improved their record to 3-0 with a narrow 20-18 victory over the New York Sportimes.

Mixed Doubles

Mixed Doubles was a star-studded affair with five-time gland slam winner Martina Hingis and her partner Robert Kendrick taking on the Kastles' pair of Anastasia Rodionova and Leander Paes. Paes reached the Wimbledon finals earlier this year with a different partner, Elena Vesnina.

After a shaky start, Kastles rookie Anastasia Rodionova was able to redeem herself. On serve, trailing the Sportimes 4-2, Anastasia didn't allow New York on the board. Then the great Martina was broken, the event was tied at 4 all, and headed to a deciding tiebreaker.

From there the Kastles cruised, giving Washington a 5-4 lead heading into women's doubles.

Women's Doubles

The ladies were up next, Hingis and the notorious Ashley Harkleroad versus the Kastles other sister act of Anastasia and Arina Rodionova.

The Kastles struggled at first, trailing 3-1, but fought back. With Anastasia relentless on serve, the Rodionova sisters were able to tie the match at 3.

Down 4-3 with Arina serving for the Kastles, the Sportimes took over. Hingis and Harkleroad allowed just 1 point before closing out the match at 5-3 and giving New York the 9-8 lead.

Men's Doubles

Ladies first, up next the men. New York sent Jesse Witten and Robert Kendrick to take on Bobby Reynolds and Leander Paes for Washington.

Prior to the match, Paes said that Reynolds "made his job" easy, and it showed. Jokingly, Paes added that Coach Murphy Jensen did not make his life any easier.

The men's doubles matchwas no contest as the Kastles jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Bobby Reynolds then effortlessly closed out the match, giving the Kastles a 13-9 overall lead.
Women's Singles

Anastasia vs. Hingis. Anastasia's inexperience showed as Hingis had no problem dismantling the Kastles newest edition 5-2. Hingis' victory cut the Washington lead to 15-14 with just the men's singles match remaining.

Men's Singles

Bobby Reynolds wasted no time setting the tone of the match against Jesse Witten, sending a volley winner straight into the stands.

However, shutting Witten out would prove tough for "the closer" and Reynolds quickly found the match tied at 3.

On serve, Reynolds delivered back to back aces giving him a 4-3 lead. But Witten would answer the call, and at 4-all the Kastles and Sportimes were headed to a tiebreak.

Reynolds would show his home court confidence by taking the tiebreak 5-1, giving the Kastles the 20-18 victory over their conference foe.

After the match, Reynolds noted that he embraced his role as the Kastles clutch player. For Washington, that's a good thing, because Reynolds is good at what he does.

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Nationals' Joe Ross to start against team that drafted him

Nationals' Joe Ross to start against team that drafted him

WASHINGTON -- On Dec. 19, 2014, the San Diego Padres traded pitcher Joe Ross and a player to be named later -- it would be Trea Turner -- to the Washington Nationals in a three-team deal that included the Tampa Bay Rays.

Since that trade, the Padres have posted a record of 160-215 while the Nationals are 208-166 after they won 3-0 Saturday as Stephen Strasburg struck out a career-high 15 batters in seven innings and the Washington staff fanned 17.

As a reminder of what could have been, Ross (2-0, 5.32) makes the start Sunday against San Diego right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (4-4, 5.74) in the finale of the three-game series at Nationals Park.

First-place Washington is 30-18 while last-place San Diego is 18-33.

Ross was drafted by the Padres in the first round out of his California high school in 2011. Ross is 2-0 in his career against San Diego with a 2.25 ERA in two starts. Last year, he went six innings and allowed six hits and three earned runs in a win against the Padres.

"I was not around Joe at all," said Andy Green, in his second year as the San Diego manager. "We saw him last year; he is a sinkerballer."

The Padres did acquire All-Star first baseman Wil Myers in the trade.

The Nationals have scored a record 62 runs in the four starts made this year by Ross, more than any other pitcher has received in his first four starts of a season. That included a 23-5 victory at home April 30 against the New York Mets and a 10-1 win Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners.

Ross, who broke into the majors with the Nationals in 2015, was in the rotation last season and made 19 starts before going on the disabled list. He was in line to be the No. 5 starter, but began the season at Triple-A Syracuse.

Chacin is 3-2 in six starts against Washington and has a 3.09 ERA. He has made three career starts at Nationals Park and is 1-1 with a 0.45 ERA while allowing only one run in 20 innings.

The Nationals played their second game in a row Saturday without second baseman Daniel Murphy, who was ill.

Nationals bench coach Chris Speier, filling in for manager Dusty Baker, said before the game that Murphy was ill. Murphy entered the day hitting .316 with nine homers and 33 RBIs.

"He's available. This is Dusty's theory: Usually when somebody comes in and says, 'I'm ready,' then he usually gives him one more day. But he's available," Speier told reporters before the game.

Murphy entered Saturday seventh in the National League in hits with 56, just ahead of teammate Bryce Harper (55). Murphy was also among the league leaders in multi-hit games and road batting average.

Washington shortstop Turner, drafted by the Padres in the first round out of North Carolina State, had two hits, including a homer, Friday and was 1-for-4 Saturday.

Another hot hitter for Washington is center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who hit a homer for the second day in a row Saturday and has four homers in his last 14 games.

"I'm looking for my pitch and staying in my zone," Taylor said. "I'm not trying to do too much."

MORE NATIONALS: Stephen Strasburg has career-high 15 strikeouts in Nationals win over Padres

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Orioles drop sixth straight in loss to Astros

Orioles drop sixth straight in loss to Astros

HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel had a solid performance in his return from the disabled list, and George Springer hit a two-run homer to help the Houston Astros to a 5-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

Keuchel (8-0), who missed one start with a pinched nerve in his neck, allowed four hits and one run while fanning eight in six innings. His eight wins this season lead the majors and he's just one win away from matching his total from last year, when he struggled in the follow-up to his stellar 2015 season during which he won 20 games and the American League Cy Young Award.

Will Harris struck out two in a perfect ninth for his second save.

Houston led by 1 in the fourth before Springer homered off Wade Miley (1-3) to make it 4-1.

Welington Castillo had an RBI single for the Orioles, whose season-high skid reached six games.

Jose Altuve had three hits and an RBI and Carlos Correa added two hits and drove in a run for the Astros, who won for the fifth time in six games.

Miley tied season highs by allowing eight hits and four runs in five innings to remain winless since April 14.

Springer put Houston up 1-0 in the first when he made a diving slide to evade the tag at home and score on a double by Altuve. Correa followed with a single to send Altuve home and push the lead to 2-0.

The Orioles got going in the third inning when Caleb Joseph walked with two outs. Joey Rickard singled before Joseph scored on a single by Castillo to cut the lead to 2-1.

Alex Bregman singled with one out in the fourth before Springer hit his 10th home run on a towering 447-foot shot to center field with two outs to extend Houston's lead to 4-1.

Chris Davis tripled off Tony Sipp to start the seventh and scored on a wild pitch by James Hoyt with one out to cut the lead to 4-2.

The Astros added a run in the seventh when Altuve scored on an error by Rickard.

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