Cincinnati Reds Take Down Nationals as Cueto Outduels Scherzer
W: Johnny Cueto (6-5)
L: Max Scherzer (9-7)
Johnny Cueto may not have many starts left in a Cincinnati Reds uniform, but he’s making sure to go out on a high note. Facing off against the great Max Scherzer, the Reds’ ace didn’t blink, firing a complete-game, two-hit shutout in a 5-0 win over the Washington Nationals.
Only five Nationals hitters reached base against Cueto, and two of those were on errors. He struck out 11 and walked only one, breezing through the outing in 122 pitches.
He also introduced a new move on the mound that he called the “Rocking Chair” in his postgame interview with Fox Sports Ohio:
Cueto’s counterpart didn’t fare so well as Joey Votto and the Reds jumped all over Scherzer right off the bat. Brandon Phillips led off the game with a single, moved to second on an error, and scored on a double by Votto—his first of three hits on the night. Two batters later, Jay Bruce brought Votto home with a triple and Cueto had a 2-0 lead before ever taking the mound.
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Votto made it 3-0 in the third with his 15th homer of the season and singled home another run in the fifth, leaving him a triple short of the cycle. Todd Frazier followed Votto’s third hit and RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly and Scherzer was done a batter later after only 4.2 innings.
With a 5-0 lead in hand, Cueto continued his domination. He struck out the side in the fifth after Ian Desmond tripled to lead off the inning, and allowed no more baserunners the remainder of the game. He got stronger as the game went on, notching eight of his 11 strikeouts in the fifth inning or later.
His pitch count at 111, Cueto headed back out for the ninth inning and retired the middle of the Nationals lineup in order to seal the shutout.
After a performance like that, there’s only one thing I can say: #VoteCueto.
- The hot-hitting left fielder Marlon Byrd got the night off in favor of Skip Schumaker. Byrd is 1-for-5 with four strikeouts in his career against Scherzer.
- Bruce extended his hitting streak to a modest six games with a 2-for-4 effort. Since May 16, Bruce is hitting .294 with 16 doubles, seven homers and 24 runs batted in and has raised his average from .162 to .243.
Up Next: The Reds will go for their second series sweep of the season against Nationals on Wednesday as Michael Lorenzen takes the mound against Gio Gonzalez. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. EST.