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Reds hammer Nationals, 15-0

The SportsXchange

CINCINNATI -- Just about everyone joined the hit parade for the Cincinnati Reds in a 15-0 drubbing of the previously unbeaten Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park on Friday night.

"There was something in the air tonight," said outfielder Xavier Paul, whose pinch-hit grand slam was among six home runs hit by the Reds.

Zack Cozart and Todd Frazier each hit two home runs and Shin-Soo Choo added a solo homer for Cincinnati, which collected 19 hits off a Nationals' pitching staff that allowed just one run in a season-opening three-game series sweep of the Florida Marlins.

"We got beat just about every way you could think of," said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. "We came up against a good club. We got our butt kicked. But it's just one game. We'll come back tomorrow."

Cozart, who entered Friday's game 0-for-11, broke out of his slump with a three-run blast in the third and had five RBIs.

"For me personally, you don't want to think about starting 0-for-11 because it's such a long season, but you do think about it," Cozart said. "Tonight was obviously a good night. We showed we can hit."

Cozart and Frazier hit back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches from Washington starter Dan Haren in the second inning. Frazier added a two-run homer in the seventh.

The six homers were one shy of the Reds' franchise record at Great American Ball Park. The 15 runs were the most for Cincinnati since May 28, 2010.

"I think it's a great sign the way we swung the bats tonight," Paul said. "I just tried to take an aggressive swing and got my first grand slam. It felt good."

Washington, which outscored the Florida Marlins 11-1 in three games earlier this week at Nationals Park, fell behind early in Friday's game and was unable to rally against Reds pitching, which now has a franchise-record 43 strikeouts in four games.

Reds starter Homer Bailey (1-0) allowed just two hits and struck out six over six innings. He walked three batters but was in control throughout. He also contributed a double in the second inning. "That's when you know it's a good night when I get a hit," said Bailey.

Washington managed only five hits, two of which came from second baseman Danny Espinosa who ended an 0-for-11 streak, going 2-for-3 with a double.

Bryce Harper went 0-for-4, ending his career-best 12-game hitting streak which dated back to Sept. 24.

The Nationals aren't concerned about their offense after being shut out Friday night. But there were questions about Haren (0-1), who was signed as a free-agent in December. He gave up six earned runs and nine hits Friday, including four homers in four innings.

Haren's career ERA at Great American Ball Park ballooned to 13.05.

"It's location," Johnson said. "The ball came back over the middle of the plate on him. It's just one game. He's a quality pitcher. He knows how to pitch."

Paul's pinch-hit grand slam came off Henry Rodriguez in a seven-run seventh inning, during which Cincinnati sent 11 batters to the plate.

It took just two pitches from Haren for Cincinnati to grab a 2-0 lead in the second inning.

With one out, Frazier launched Haren's first pitch 437 feet into the bleachers in left field. On the next pitch Cozart hit his first home run of the season.

Bailey, looking to build off his strong finish to the 2012 season that included a no-hitter at Pittsburgh, had six strikeouts through four innings Friday.

Cozart's second round-tripper, a three-run blast on an 0-1 pitch from Haren, put Cincinnati ahead 5-0 in the third inning.

Choo added a solo homer in the fourth, making the score 6-0. A video replay confirmed the ball cleared the wall before being corralled by a fan.

NOTES: Cozart recorded his first career multi-homer game. ... Haren gave up four home runs in a game for the first time since June 9, 2012, at Colorado. ... The Reds used the same lineup for the third straight game. Last season, they didn't use the same lineup in three straight games until the final three games of the National League Division Series. ... Entering Friday's action, Washington was the lone remaining undefeated team in Major League Baseball for the first time since the 1913 Nationals of the American League.
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