CINCINNATI (AP)—Alfonso Soriano wasn’t sure what pitch he hit out of Great American Ball Park.
“It was either a changeup or a fastball. I didn’t have time to look at it,” Soriano said. “It was in the middle of the plate and I got good contact.”
Whatever it was, it traveled an estimated 492 feet, the fourth-longest drive at the home run friendly ballpark, and it was the last of the Washington Nationals’ season-high five homers in a 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
“Any time you hit the ball out, it’s a good swing, but some are better than others,” Washington manager Frank Robinson said. “Soriano’s would have been out of the Grand Canyon.”
“Right now, everything is beginning to fall into place, and I feel a lot better,” said Guillen, who is 8-of-24 with three home runs and eight RBIs in his past six games.
Soriano’s ninth-inning drive off Brian Shackelford, his 10th, was only the fifth ball to clear the batter’s eye in straight-away center field at Great American Ball Park.
Armas (3-2) held the Reds to one hit until he loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh on a single, a walk and a hit batsman. Scott Hatteberg hit a sacrifice fly off Joey Eischen to cut the Washington lead to 6-1 but Gary Majewski relieved Eischen and retired Austin Kearns and Jason LaRue to end the threat.
Armas allowed one run and two hits in six-plus innings. He struck out four and walked one to shut down the NL Central-leading Reds, whose offense is one of the most potent in the league.
“For six innings, he was lights out,” Robinson said. “He was nice and easy, locating pitches in the zone and keeping hitters off balance.”
Reds starter Brandon Claussen (2-4) allowed 11 hits in 5 1-3 innings and struck out four in his second straight loss.
“He gave us a couple good innings, then gave up way too many hits,” Reds manager Jerry Narron said. “At times, I thought he threw real well. At this level, you have to be way more consistent.”
Zimmerman hit his fifth homer of the season in the fifth inning. Guillen led off the sixth with his fourth homer, and LeCroy hit a drive one out later to make it 4-0 Nationals.
Guillen added a two-run drive off Matt Belisle in the seventh.
“We were in the game until then,” Narron said. “That spread it out.”
Clayton was 3-of-4. … Cincinnati CF Ken Griffey Jr., on the 15-day DL since April 12 with a strained tendon in his right knee, was held out another day. … Washington SS Cristian Guzman had season-ending surgery on his right shoulder. … Wednesday’s starter for Cincinnati, RHP Aaron Harang, turned 28 on Tuesday. … Nationals C Brian Schneider, who left Saturday’s game with Pittsburgh with tightness in his left hamstring, was expected to return Wednesday.