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Nationals hold off Reds for third straight win

Jun 5, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell (19) hits a two-run double against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Bell doubled home two runs and Maikel Franco homered to power the visiting Washington Nationals past the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 Sunday.

After dropping the series opener, the Nationals won the final three games to match their season-high win streak.

Patrick Corbin (2-8) settled down quickly after a three-run first inning to pitch five consecutive scoreless innings, eventually scattering nine hits over six innings to win his second start in three outings.

Steve Cishek escaped a scoreless ninth for his first save in two chances this season and his first since June 20, 2019 with the Chicago Cubs. Nick Senzel barely legged out an infield hit to keep the rally alive in the ninth but was picked off by catcher Keibert Ruiz, who threw to Bell to end the game.

Luis Castillo (2-3), who pitched into the seventh inning for the first time, allowed five runs — three earned — on six hits in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking four. Castillo appeared poised to escape a first-and-third jam with none out in the first inning when Juan Soto grounded out to third with the infield in and Nelson Cruz struck out.

But Bell pulled a hanging changeup down the right field line for a two-run double and a 2-0 Washington lead.

With an RBI double in the Reds’ three-run first, Joey Votto broke a tie for second with Barry Larkin on the all-time franchise doubles list with No. 442. Pete Rose is the all-time franchise leader with 601.

The Nationals took advantage of poor Cincinnati fielding in the fourth inning to take the lead for good. Yadiel Hernandez hit a routine grounder to shortstop that Kyle Farmer fielded and threw high to first, drawing a leaping Votto off the bag on the throwing error.

Franco hit a tailor-made double play ball to third. Matt Reynolds caught the throw from Drury for the first out but dropped the ball on the transfer, allowing Franco to reach with one out.

Luis Garcia tied the game with a single and Cesar Hernandez grounded into a run-scoring force out for the go-ahead run.

Franco drilled a 96-mph Castillo pitch 416 feet to left-center for his fourth homer and a 5-3 Nationals lead in the sixth.

–Field Level Media