CINCINNATI (AP)—The Washington Nationals made the most of getting some pop from two unlikely sources.
Rafael Belliard and Wil Nieves(notes) hit solo home runs to back Garrett Mock’s(notes) seven solid innings and Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
Mock (2-4), making his sixth start since being recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on July 16, retired 10 consecutive batters in one stretch on the way to his second win in his last two starts. He allowed six hits with four walks and six strikeouts in what manager Jim Riggleman said was his best start.
“He’s been a little sharper each time out,” Riggleman said. “Tonight was his best.”
Mock didn’t argue with that assessment.
“It was my best game, because my defense—every stinking one of them—was with me,” he said. “Then the bullpen—every dude—came in and did an unbelievable job.”
Jorge Sosa(notes), Sean Burnett(notes) and Jason Bergmann(notes) combined to pitch scoreless seventh and eighth innings and Mike MacDougal(notes) threw a perfect ninth for his 12th save, completing Washington’s third shutout of the season. The Reds have been shut out four times.
Ryan Zimmerman(notes) went 0 for 4—including a line drive that was picked off by leaping shortstop Paul Janish(notes) in the eighth inning—and his hitting streak was snapped at 16 games. It had been the longest current streak in the NL.
Belliard, who went into the game 8 for 19 (.421) in his career against Harang, broke up a scoreless tie by hitting Harang’s first pitch of the fifth inning into the upper deck in left. It was Belliard’s fourth of the season.
“Belliard’s a pro,” Riggleman said. “He can flat-out hit, anywhere in the lineup.”
“I can’t make mistakes,” Harang said. “The first pitch to Belliard was up. It was a slider that started outside and came back over the plate, and he recognized it. We’ve got a history.”
Nieves hit Harang’s first pitch of the seventh for an opposite-field homer into the right field seats. It was the catcher’s first of the season and second of his career. He hit his first last season for the Nationals.
“I was feeling good in my first at-bat,” Nieves said. “I was looking for something middle away. I knew I hit it good, but this year, I’ve hit a lot of balls that stayed in.”
“That was a fastball up and out of the zone, and he just got underneath it,” Harang said.
Harang, who leads the major leagues in losses, allowed six hits and three walks with six strikeouts. He had lost a career-high nine consecutive decisions before winning at San Francisco last Sunday. The Reds, hitting .241 as a team going into the game, have hit a combined .239 (200 for 838) in his 25 starts.
“We’ve got to find a way to get some runners in scoring position,” manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s got to be frustrating for him. I know it’s frustrating for us.”
NOTES: The Reds traded SS Alex Gonzalez and cash to Boston for minor league SS Kris Negron and purchased the contract of 1B Kevin Barker(notes) from Triple-A Louisville. … The Nationals agreed to terms on Friday with eighth-round draft pick Roberto Perez, a SS from Dorado, Puerto Rico, Academy. Perez is the nephew of former major league SS Dickie Thon. … Willy Taveras’s(notes) first-inning walk was his first base on balls in 19 games since July 19. … Harang passed Gary Nolan and moved into seventh place on Cincinnati’s career strikeout list. Harang has 1,039 with the Reds.