Nationals rally past Reds, 10-6

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 3, 2008

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Pete Orr picked up his first RBIs in more than 15 months, slapping a pinch-hit, two-run single into left field in the seventh inning Saturday night to put the Washington Nationals ahead to stay in a 10-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Orr’s single capped a four-run inning and gave the Nationals something they haven’t had since June — a two-game winning streak at home. Washington had dropped nine straight overall before beating the Reds on Friday; now they’ll be going for the series sweep on Sunday.

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Orr has only 20 RBIs in 399 career at-bats. His previous RBIs came on a pinch-hit, two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning of the Atlanta Braves’ 11-6 win at the Florida Marlins on April 24, 2007. He entered Saturday’s game with seven hits in 29 at-bats for the Nationals this season.

But, for one night at least, he was a key performer in a cast of no-name overachievers for the Nationals, who fell behind 5-2 in the second inning and rallied while the Reds unraveled. Cincinnati committed three errors, and the bullpen allowed seven runs over 2 2-3 innings.

The Nationals scored twice in the first inning, but Cincinnati responded with five in the second. Joey Votto’s three-run double was followed by Jay Bruce’s two-run homer.

For the second straight night, Washington’s new build-for-the-future double-play combination — youngsters Emilio Bonifacio and Alberto Gonzalez — provided a spark. The speedy Bonifacio had a double, his first career triple and also reached on an error. Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with a double and scored two runs.

Mike Lincoln (1-3), who entered with a 19-inning scoreless streak, allowed four runs in the seventh while retiring only one batter to get the loss. The Reds have lost seven of eight.

Ronnie Belliard added a pinch-hit, two-run homer, Lastings Milledge also went deep, and Austin Kearns went 3-for-5. Charlie Manning (1-2) got his first career win by pitching a scoreless seventh inning.

Josh Fogg pitched 5 1-3 innings for the Reds, allowing three runs and six hits. He struggled early but settled down after a visit from manager Dusty Baker following back-to-back walks in the third.

Belliard’s homer off Bill Bray cut the Reds’ lead to 6-4 before the big seventh put Washington ahead.

Nationals starter Jason Bergmann pitched six innings. He has been getting terrible run support all season — 13 runs in his previous 14 starts — but this time he gave up five earned runs, the most he has allowed since June 6.

Notes: Bruce’s home run was his second in two nights. … Reds C Paul Bako executed a perfect squeeze bunt in the sixth inning. … LF Elijah Dukes was scratched from the Nationals lineup after arriving late for pregame. He entered in the sixth inning and appeared to injure himself running out a groundball in the eighth. … Reds OF Jerry Hairston Jr. sat out with a sore right hamstring. Hairston, who came off the 15-day disabled list Friday after missing time with a hamstring strain, is expected to miss Sunday’s game, too. … Cincinnati RHP Aaron Harang, on the 15-day DL with a strained right forearm, will make a rehab start on Monday for Triple-A Louisville. … The Reds are 19-31 against opponents with losing records.