Cozart's double rallies Reds over depleted Nationals 8-5

CINCINNATI (AP) Given the way things have been going lately for the Cincinnati Reds, Zack Cozart had a feeling his fly ball might just get caught. Instead, it landed for a double, and the Reds had won consecutive games for the first time in more than two weeks.

Joey Votto hit a two-run homer - his second in two days - and Cozart doubled with the bases loaded in the eighth inning on Saturday, rallying Cincinnati to an 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

Cozart's double over the head of center fielder Denard Span highlighted a four-run inning off Casey Janssen (0-1). At first, Cozart feared that Span was going to be able to get to it.

''I didn't have a good feeling about this one when I hit it,'' Cozart said. ''He's pretty good. He happened to be playing shallow.''

Billy Hamilton followed with a two-run single, putting the Reds in position for only their third win in their last 13 games.

''Sometimes you need things to go right to know that you can do it again,'' manager Bryan Price said. ''Sometimes, you need to remember how good you can be.''

The Reds' biggest comeback of the season ended Washington's club-record streak of winning nine consecutive series. The NL East leaders have lost consecutive games for the first time since April 26-27.

J.J. Hoover (3-0) retired all three batters on grounders in the eighth. Aroldis Chapman walked two while getting his ninth save in as many chances.

The Nationals were missing outfielder Bryce Harper, scratched from the lineup because of a sore back. He was hit in the middle of the back by Tony Cingrani's pitch on Friday night during Cincinnati's 5-2 win and had words with the pitcher.

The Nationals yelled from their dugout on Saturday after left-hander Gio Gonzalez got hit twice, including on the left elbow in the sixth inning after Michael Taylor hit a three-run homer. Reds third baseman Todd Frazier yelled back.

Taylor was in a 1-for-24 slump with 13 strikeouts when he connected off Raisel Iglesias for a 5-2 lead. Ryan Zimmerman and Span had RBI singles off Iglesias, who hasn't won either of his starts while filling in for the injured Johnny Cueto.

Frazier had a single and two doubles. His first extra-base hit helped the Reds cut it to 5-4 in the sixth. His one-out double started the go-ahead rally in the eighth, when Cincinnati sent nine batters to the plate.

STREAKS

Hamilton extended his hitting streak to six games (8 for 22). Hoover extended his streak to 16 games without allowing a run.

YOU'RE GONE

Nationals 3B Yunel Escobar was ejected by plate umpire Andy Fletcher for arguing a called third strike in the seventh inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg, who left Friday night's start after 16 pitches because of a stiff neck, went on the 15-day DL and was sent back to Washington for an exam.

Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips was back in the lineup after being limited to pinch hitting the last three games because of a sore toe on his left foot. He went 0 for 5.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Tanner Roark (1-2) makes his second consecutive start after opening the season with 13 relief appearances. He gave up three hits and a run in five innings of a 2-1 win over the Cubs on Monday.

Reds: Michael Lorenzen (1-2) makes his fifth career start, facing the Nationals for the first time.

---

Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.