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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: Sports - Local Sports - Reds beat Nationals 1-0, end 7-game losing streak

Reds beat Nationals 1-0, end 7-game losing streak

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Johnny Cueto made one modest run enough to end a long losing streak.

Cueto fanned nine in seven innings on Saturday, and Brayan Pena singled through a drawn-in infield for the only run, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 1-0 victory over the Washington Nationals that ended a seven-game losing streak.

Cincinnati ended its longest losing streak in five years by getting several good defensive plays and another dominating performance by its All-Star starter. Cueto (11-6) gave up four hits and walked three.

"He always asks for one run," Pena said. "That's what he preaches. He has confidence in himself and believes in what he does. He always gives us a chance to be in the game."

Left-hander Aroldis Chapman pitched out of a two-on, two-out threat in the eighth and finished for his 22nd save in 24 chances. He extended his streak of at least one strikeout in his last 43 appearances, the longest by a reliever in the majors since 1900.

The Reds' offense has been in a deep slump, leading to Cincinnati's worst losing streak coming out of the All-Star break since 1991. They managed only four hits during a 4-1 loss on Friday night. They got four hits again on Saturday, but this time it was enough.

"You've heard me talk about how teams go through stretches like this," manager Bryan Price said. "You hope it's not in September where it takes you out of the race. This one didn't, but I'm sure everybody in this building is feeling a lot better."

Pena's single through the left side of a drawn-in infield in the fifth inning made the difference against left-hander Gio Gonzalez (6-6), who gave up four hits and fanned eight in seven innings.

He has been tough on the Reds throughout his career. He was 2-0 in his previous four starts against Cincinnati with a 1.00 ERA, allowing three earned runs and fanning 32 in 27 innings.

The Reds ended a slump that had dropped them back to .500 for the first time since June 24. Cueto had the most to do with it, holding down a team that hit him hard the last time around. He fanned the side in the third and sixth innings, leaving after throwing his 103rd pitch.

The right-hander had his roughest outing of the season on May 20 in Washington, where he gave up a season-high eight runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss. He didn't feel strong at the outset on Saturday, but got better once he got the run, fanning the next four batters he faced.

"After we took the lead, it was only one run, but Johnny knew it was time to step up," Chris Heisey said. "The next couple of innings, he was throwing 96-97 mph."

Heisey set up Cincinnati's run in the fifth. He led off with a double - only the Reds' second hit off Gonzalez - and stole third base with one out. Pena singled through the hole at shortstop.

Pena also threw out Ian Desmond as he tried to steal second base after a leadoff walk in the ninth.

Two exceptional plays in the Reds' outfield prevented early runs.

Center fielder Billy Hamilton ran down Adam LaRoche's fly with two runners aboard in the first. Right fielder Jay Bruce got to Wilson Ramos' fly to the warning track and doubled Bryce Harper up at first base in the second inning.

Harper got caught in a rundown between second and third base in the seventh inning after trying to take an extra base on Ramos' infield single.

NOTES: RHP Doug Fister (9-2) starts the final game of the series against Cincinnati's Mat Latos (2-2), who will be making his eighth start since coming off the DL. ... Nationals leadoff hitter Denard Span singled off Cueto, leaving him 5 for 10 career against the right-hander. Span is 9 for 14 in his last three games overall. ... Reds SS Zack Cozart was hitless, extending his slump to 0 for 20.Reds beat Nationals 1-0, end 7-game losing streak

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BREWERS-REDS

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Johnny Cueto pitched seven solid innings, and the Cincinnati Reds stayed in the chase for the NL's top record by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Tuesday night after learning they'll be without their manager for the rest of the week.

The Brewers dropped back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month, and it came at a bad time. They started the day 3 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild card spot.

They got no break from the Reds, who clinched the NL Central title on Saturday night.

Manager Dusty Baker met players before the game and revealed he suffered a mini-stroke in addition to being treated for an irregular heartbeat last week. The 63-year-old manager hopes to return to the dugout next week.

REDS-BAKER

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Dusty Baker won't manage the Cincinnati Reds until the final series in St. Louis, giving him time to recover from an irregular heartbeat that left him hospitalized last week.

Baker met with owner Bob Castellini and his team on Tuesday before a game against the Brewers. Bench coach Chris Speier said he'll manage the final three home games against Milwaukee and three in Pittsburgh over the weekend, with Baker taking over for the last three games next week.

The 63-year-old manager was hospitalized in Chicago last Wednesday for an irregular heartbeat, a problem he's had for a while. He was in the hospital for four days, missing the Reds' 6-0 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night that clinched the NL Central title.

INDIANS-WHITE SOX

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox have lost sole possession of first place in the AL Central race, with the Indians playing spoiler. Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout with the potential tying run on second base yesterday as the Indians downed the White Sox 4-3.

Down 4-0 in the fourth inning, the White Sox closed within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth. Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force.

Chicago (82-72) had held sole possession of the division lead since September 3. Detroit pulled into a tie for the division lead with its win over Kansas City last night.

T25-OHIO ST-MATCHING UP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Through four games and four victories, Ohio State's defense has faced a continual drumbeat of short passes, quick routes, screens and sweeps.

Every opponent, it seems, has relied on a sleight of hand.

Now the Buckeyes are looking forward to getting into familiar territory when they open Big Ten play.

When No. 14 Ohio State travels to 20th-ranked Michigan State on Saturday, the Buckeyes anticipate they'll run into a more conventional Midwestern attack. Granted, that means having to counteract the 244-pound blasts of the Spartans' massive Le'Veon Bell.

But after a month of chasing people, the Buckeyes think they might benefit from a change of pace from the subterfuge and rush-avoiding quick-hitters in a trade for raw man-on-man power struggles at the line of scrimmage.

T25-UPTIGHT SPARTANS

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State's lackluster win last weekend got to coach Mark Dantonio.

After the Spartans beat Eastern Michigan 23-7 Saturday, Dantonio hurried through a terse news conference full of abrupt answers. The Michigan State coach said "next question" seven times in under a minute and was clearly annoyed with the way his team played.

On Tuesday, Dantonio spoke with reporters for around a half-hour, but Michigan State isn't making any players or assistants available this week. The Spartans' coach is trying to send a clear message to his players that it's time to get serious.

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