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Storen regaining his edge

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Storen regaining his edge

NEW YORK -- Davey Johnson has tried his best to ease Drew Storen back from elbow surgery, not wanting to put too much on the right-hander too soon.

But during this week's series against the Mets, the Nationals manager found himself needing a quality reliever to face the red-hot David Wright in a couple of key spots. So the call was made to Storen, who may not be throwing many pitches right now but is certainly throwing important pitches.

Storen threw only six total pitches in the series. All were to Wright during two encounters. And each time, the young reliever retired the New York slugger.

"No better way to get yourself in shape than to face a guy like that, especially in big spots," he said. "Like I said the other day, just kind of keep adding the pressure of facing the same guy. It's pretty fun, to be honest with you, to face a really good hitter like that and have a battle like that with the game on the line. Can't really ask for much more than that."

On Monday night, Storen replaced starter Jordan Zimmermann for the bottom of the seventh inning, with the Nationals clinging to a 2-1 lead and Wright leading off. He threw all of two pitches, both 93 mph fastballs, the first one nearly taking Wright's head off before he got him to fly out to center field.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, Storen was summoned for a tenser situation: Two outs, two runners in scoring position, Wright at the plate representing the tying run.

This time, Storen started the slugger off with three straight sliders. He fell behind in the count 2-0, got Wright to look at a strike on the inside corner and then jammed him with a 95 mph fastball, inducing a groundball to third base.

He pounded his glove and let out a jubilant scream as Ryan Zimmerman made the throw to first to retire Wright and end the inning, perhaps his first truly big out since late last season.

At last, Storen is starting to feel like himself again.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "And that's what those situations, that's what's going to get me back. Faced an unbelievable hitter on the road in a big spot, with a sweep on the line, protecting a great performance by Stephen Strasburg."

Johnson didn't want to have to use Storen at all during the game, not after he pitched Monday and then warmed up in the bullpen Tuesday.

"I'm trying to jump start him a little, to get back to where he was," the manager said. "But he told me he was OK, and that was a situation I needed him badly. And he came in and worked on his breaking ball. So he's awful close."

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Trea Turner has a career game as Nats clobber Reds

Trea Turner has a career game as Nats clobber Reds

WASHINGTON -- Michael Taylor homered twice among his four hits, Trea Turner finished 5 of 5 with a walk and the Washington Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 18-3 on Saturday.

Daniel Murphy had four RBIs for the Nationals. His three-run double highlighted the six-run second inning and Taylor's two-run homer capped a four-run fourth inning. Taylor added a solo shot in the sixth.

Turner, Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Wieters each drove in two runs. All of Turner's career-high five hits were singles including run-scoring hits in the second and eighth.

Washington led 13-0 as Joe Ross (4-3) blanked the Reds until Patrick Kivlehan's pinch-hit home run in the sixth. Ross surrendered one run and six hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk.

In his first appearance since Aug. 28, Homer Bailey (0-1) allowed eight runs and six hits with three walks in 1 2/3 innings.

The Reds, who have lost 13 of 14, also gave up 17 runs on May 29 at Toronto.

Washington took the first two games of the series from the Reds after losing three of four.

Cincinnati activated the 31-year-old Bailey from the disabled list before the game. The right-hander had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs in his right shoulder on Feb. 28.

Washington made Bailey's first outing of the season uncomfortable from the start. After Turner and Brian Goodwin opened the bottom of the first with a single and walk respectively, Zimmerman hit a one-out double into the right-center gap, scoring both runners.

Trailing 3-0 in the second, Bailey walked two batters to load the bases with two outs. Murphy cleared them with a line drive into the right-field corner and then scored on Anthony Rendon's double.

Reds reliever Lisalverto Bonilla surrendered five runs on eight hits, including both of Taylor's homers.

Bryce Harper had one of Washington's 19 hits, but he struck out three times before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth.

Kivlehan added an RBI single in the eighth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: Bailey was diagnosed with right biceps tendinitis following a one-inning start last August and eventually shut down for the season. He allowed two earned runs over 16 2/3 innings during three rehab starts before his recall Saturday. OF Jesse Winker was optioned to AAA-Louisville to make room for Bailey. ... LHP Brandon Finnegan, on the DL since Apr. 16 with a left shoulder injury, will start Monday, Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Nationals: Taylor's first four-hit game of his career came after being held out the lineup the previous two games with an undisclosed injury. The center fielder also tracked down Scooter Gennett's deep fly ball for a leaping catch just shy of the wall in the third.

UP NEXT

Reds: Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.20 ERA) leads Cincinnati with seven quality starts

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (6-4, 4.88) allowed 13 earned runs in 7 2-3 innings over his last two starts.

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Harper's 10th-inning single lifts Nationals past Reds 6-5

Harper's 10th-inning single lifts Nationals past Reds 6-5

WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper singled in the winning run in the 10th inning, Brian Goodwin homered twice and the Washington Nationals got a solid performance from their bullpen in a 6-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.

Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy also homered for the Nationals, who trailed 5-2 in the sixth before coming back to deal the Reds their 12th loss in 13 games.

Trea Turner singled off Raisel Iglesias (2-2) with one out in the 10th and took third on a single by Goodwin before Harper hit a liner that struck the right-field wall on one bounce.

Matt Albers (3-1) pitched the 10th to cap an impressive night for the Nationals' bullpen, a maligned group that blanked the Reds on one hit over the final five innings.

Goodwin homered in the first inning and again in the seventh, the first multihomer game of the rookie's career.

Scooter Gennett connected for the skidding Reds.

Seeking his ninth win, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings, walking two and striking out five. It was only the third time in 15 starts the right-hander allowed more than three earned runs, but it was also the third straight start in which he failed to go six innings.

Reds starter Luis Castillo pitched five effective innings in his major league debut and left with a 5-2 lead, but the Cincinnati bullpen deprived him of the victory. Castillo allowed two runs and five hits, walking five and striking out five.

The 24-year-old rookie was replaced by Michael Lorenzen, who promptly served up a home run to Murphy and gave up a sacrifice fly to pinch-hitter Stephen Drew later in the sixth.

Wandy Peralta took over in the seventh and, like Lorenzen, gave up a homer to the first batter he faced. Goodwin's drive to right made it 5-all.

Early on, Cincinnati dominated.

The Reds batted around in a four-run first inning that featured Gennett's 10th home run, a run-scoring fly ball by Scott Schebler and successive RBI singles from Devin Mesorasco and Jose Peraza.

Goodwin homered in the bottom half, but Mesoraco singled in a run in the third. The two-out bloop landed in front of Wilmer Difo, who was playing center field for the first time in the majors and pulled up as the ball dropped at his feet.