WASHINGTON (AP) — Brian Dozier hopped a dugout piggyback ride to celebrate his 17th home run and Juan Soto hit a second-deck shot for his 25th as both returned to the lineup, Joe Ross extended his scoreless streak to 17 1/3 innings and the Washington Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 Tuesday night.
Ross (3-3) allowed one run and five hits in his 6 2/3 innings; the run came when the final batter the righty faced, José Iglesias, delivered an RBI single. Still, Ross now is responsible for the most consecutive innings without a run by a Nationals pitcher this season — and that’s on a staff that includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.
With closer Sean Doolittle coming off five appearances in seven games — he mentioned feeling tired after Monday’s save — Daniel Hudson got the last four outs, striking out Tucker Barnhart with men on the corners to end it as rain fell. It was Hudson’s third save of 2019 and first since joining Washington from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade-deadline deal.
Washington won its third game in a row with the mix of starting pitching and power hitting that let it surge from a 19-31 start to the lead in the NL wild-card standings. One hallmark of the turnaround has been the post-homer dance moves that midseason acquisition Gerardo Parra ushered in, and Dozier took it to a new level by leaping onto the back of batting practice pitcher Ali Modami for a trip through the dugout in the fourth.
His shot to left off a knuckle curve made it 3-0 and came two batters after Soto drove a fastball an estimated 409 feet to right. Soto sat out Monday with a sprained right ankle; Dozier missed two starts while sick.
All of Washington’s runs came off Alex Wood (1-1), who had gone 36 appearances since last allowing two homers in an inning.
The Nationals went up 1-0 in the first after putting runners on the corners with one out. Soto grounded into an inning-ending double play, but because Joey Votto stepped on first base before throwing to second for the final out, Victor Robles scored by reaching home ahead of Anthony Rendon getting tagged at second.
Robles threw out a runner for the second straight game, raising his assist total to nine, tying Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr. for the major league lead among center fielders. That’s also the most in a season by a Nationals center fielder since they moved to Washington in 2005.
INF Freddy Galvis singled as a pinch hitter in the ninth. He was added to the Cincinnati roster a day after being claimed off waivers from Toronto. OF Brian O’Gray was optioned to Triple-A Louisville.
RHP Greg Holland agreed to a minor league deal with Washington after being designated for assignment by Arizona last week. Holland also joined the Nationals in August last season.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (left hamstring strain) is scheduled to throw two innings in a rehab start at Triple-A Louisville on Friday.
Nationals: Scherzer, on the IL since last month with an injured back muscle, threw a simulated game, facing Ryan Zimmerman, Howie Kendrick and Parra for two “innings.” Manager Dave Martinez said Scherzer threw 31 pitches in the bullpen to warm up, then 32 against the batters — after heading to the mound while the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s usual entrance song blared: “Still D.R.E.” Martinez’s take on the session: “He said he felt really good. But the whole deal with this injury is his recovery, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Wednesday’s series finale features Strasburg against Trevor Bauer. Bauer is 1-0 with a 3.09 ERA for Cincinnati since arriving from Cleveland in a trade, and 10-8 with a 3.74 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 168 1/3 innings overall in 2019. Strasburg leads the NL in wins at 14-5, is fourth with 181 Ks and has a 3.72 ERA. He’s 3-0 in his past four starts against the Reds.