Reporting Byron Kerr
Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang settled in after allowing Cincinnati to take an early lead, then the Nationals brought out the big lumber to welcome Mike Leake to Washington, and the Nationals took the opener, 6-4, at Nationals Park.
Wang allowed RBI singles by Jay Bruce and Ramon Hernandez to stake the Reds to a 2-0 lead in the first. But the Nationals wasted no time in retaliating on Leake.
In the bottom of the first, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse all with base hits. Morse’s RBI double made the score, 2-1, Reds. Later, Ian Desmond raked a two-run single to give the Nationals the lead, 3-2.
Morse connected on his 21st homer in the fourth and Zimmerman added his seventh round tripper in the fifth. Add in a Wilson Ramos run and the Nationals expanded their advantage to 6-2.
The Reds got one back in the sixth on a double by Joey Votto and a Desmond error on a Ramon Hernandez grounder. Washington’s lead was cut to 6-3.
In the seventh, the Reds again scored off of Wang with an RBI double by Edgar Renteria, who injured his left leg running to second base and had to leave the game for pinch runner Paul Janish. Washington’s lead was 6-4 and Wang’s night was over.
Tyler Clippard managed to get two outs in the seventh to end the threat, including a 93 mph fastball.
Drew Storen notched save No. 32 thanks to a clean ninth frame.
But the story was again Wang, who managed to go six 1/3 innings, allowing only four runs, seven hits, one walk with no strikeouts. He threw just 60 pitches, 39 for strikes.
It was his second straight outstanding start and proved the win at Chicago was no fluke.
This was Wang’s first win at home since May 2, 2008, with the New York Yankees in a 5-1 win over Seattle. It marked the first time since June 10 and 15, 2008, that he won two decisions in a row (at Oakland and at Houston).