Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Ashcraft deals, batters hammer, Reds beat Nationals 8-1

Photo: Getty Images

Reds 5 Nationals 1

Graham Ashcraft pounded the strike zone for seven stellar innings and the Reds played long ball early and then late for an 8-1 win over the Nationals Thursday night at GABP. Joey Votto gave Ashcraft a three-run 1st inning homer to work with and Matt Reynolds added a solo shot and Kyle Farmer a three-run shot as part of a five run 7th inning to blow things wide open.

After going 3-22 in their first 25 games the Reds have bounced back to go 15-10 in their next 25 games.

Ashcraft: 7 IN, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K, HR. 92 pitches/65 strikes. His ERA dipped to 1.53. He cruised into the 4th inning before finding trouble. But with runners on 2nd/3rd after a walk and hit he got a slider strikeout to end the inning. He was pumped. He took a shutout one out into the 7th inning before a HR by Josh Bell. He fired strike after strike, throwing a first pitch strike to 19 of 26 batters faced. The 2019 6th round selection is not afraid to throw strikes and have guys hit him. He is certainly pitch efficient. He appears to believe a one pitch out is cool and easier than throwing at least three to get a strikeout. That's back-to-back starts pitching into the 7th inning. And his control has been better at the ML level. AAA this year: 17 BB in 32.2 innings. ML: 5 BB in 17.2 IN. Breakdown of his 92 pitches thrown Thursday: 37 cutter (40%), 28 sinker (30%) 27 slider (29%). He got 11 swing and misses. He continues to keep the ball on the ground: In three starts he has 30 ground ball outs. He's allowed one home run over his 17.2 innings.

DH man: Joey Votto turned and rip a 3-run 1st inning homer......390 feet at 101.3 mph off the bat. He walked twice and reached three times. He has nine extra-base hits in his 12 games since returning from the IL (5 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR) after producing one extra-base hit in his first 22 games. He drew career walk No. 1,313, moving ahead of Ken Griffey Jr. and into a tie with Luke Appling for 45th all-time in MLB.

Responder: After the Nationals cut the Reds lead to 3-1 in the top of the 7th inning, Matt Reynolds led off the bottom of the inning with his first home run of the season to push the lead up to 4-1. It was his first ML HR since May 21, 2017 when he was with the Mets.

Multi-hit nights: Senzel reached base three times with 2 hits, a BB and a R from the leadoff spot. 2 hits: Drury, Reynolds, Farmer.

Planted! Farmer jacked a 3-run homer into the Reds bullpen to make it 8-1 in the 7th inning. He also had a single and stolen base.

Moose Misery: Mike Moustakas, playing 1B, went 0 for 4. He's 2 for his last 34 and 4 for 43.

The return: Tommy Pham was back in the starting lineup after his three game suspension and then being scratched for two consecutive games. He walked twice, delivered a sacrifice fly and made a heck of a catch on a ball the Senzel lost in the lights.

Missed chance: The Reds had chances early. They loaded the bases with one out in the 3rd inning but Farmer bounced into a DP. They put the first two batters on in the 5th on a Reynolds single and Nick Senzel walk, but got nothing.

Bullpen: Art Warren 1.0, Joel Kuhnel 1.0......his ERA now at 0.87.

Finally: The Nationals snapped a scoreless streak of 27.1 innings when Bell homered. They had not scored since the 6th inning of Monday night's game.

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