WASHINGTON -- Left-handed starter Tony Cingrani of the Reds was rather nonchalant about his impressive performance on Sunday, as he struck out a career-high 11 batters -- including four in one inning -- as Cincinnati won 5-2 over Washington to salvage the final game of the four-game series.
"I just threw the fastball and just got ahead of them," said the soft-spoken Cingrani, making just his third big league start.
"He threw strikes. He was around the plate with movement and away from right-handed hitters. He wanted it," said Reds' manager Dusty Baker.
And what about the fourth inning, when he became the fifth pitcher in Cincinnati history to notch four strikeouts in one frame?
"I beared down and got them out," said Cingrani, who also had his first Major League hit in the second and lowered his ERA to 1.50. "That is what you have to do. We were up by four at that point. That is what I do."
Cingrani (2-0) struck out four batters in the fourth, thanks to a wild pitch after he fanned Denard Span for the first out. He struck out Bryce Harper, and after a walk to Jayson Werth he fanned Ian Desmond and Adam LaRoche to end the inning with the bases loaded.
"I walked Werth. I didn't want him to beat me," said Cingrani, whose pitches can be tough to pick up at times. "I struck out Desmond with a fastball. LaRoche fouled off a couple of pitches but I got him."
"I have seen it happen some," Baker said of the four-strikeout frame. "I don't think he wants to do that all of the time" since it drives up the pitch count.
Sam LeCure came in to pitch the seventh for the Reds and gave up an RBI double by Kurt Suzuki to make it 4-1 with one out.
Zack Cozart reached base his first four trips to the plate and then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth to make it 5-1 against reliever Ryan Mattheus.
The Reds (14-12), who had just 11 hits in the first three games of the series, won just their second road game in 10 tries.
"It is just nice to get a win. Period. Especially on the road," Baker said.
The Nationals (13-12) absorbed the loss as starter Ross Detwiler (1-2) lasted just five innings while giving up four runs (three earned) and 11 hits, including several infield bleeders.
"Tip your hat to the other guy," Washington manager Davey Johnson said of Cingrani. "He threw a good ballgame. He threw more breaking balls; I thought he was mostly a fastball pitcher."
"He had a real good fastball and he was using it," LaRoche said. "He's got that extra gear on his fastball."
An infield single by Cozart drove in Corky Miller to give the Reds a 4-0 lead in the top of the fourth against Detwiler, who entered the game with the second-best ERA in the league at 1.38.
The Reds took a 3-0 lead in the second on a bases-loaded single by Joey Votto following a walk to Cozart.
Phillips had a two-run single to center in the top of the first to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. His hit scored Cozart, who had singled with one out, and Votto, who had doubled.
Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth for the Reds and gave up an RBI double by Desmond that made it 5-2. But Broxton got LaRoche to pop out to end the inning and Aroldis Chapman pitched a perfect ninth for the Reds and got his fifth save.
Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the Major League debut of Harper. Against the Reds he was 0-for-3 with a walk and scored in the eighth on the Desmond hit. Harper, 20, made his Major League debut on April 28, 2013 at Los Angeles. He has nine homers and 18 RBI this season and ranks among the league leaders in several categories.
NOTES: Washington catcher Wilson Ramos, in his second rehab appearance with Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday night, started at catcher at Bowie, Md. He hit in the No. 3 hole and was 2-for-3 with an RBI. "He caught six innings. His (at bats) and defense have been good. Today is a workout day for him," Doug Harris, director of player development for the Nationals, wrote in an e-mail Sunday afternoon. ... Reds' outfielder Chris Heisey, who left Saturday's game in the third inning, is day-to-day with a strained right hamstring. Xavier Paul, who took over for Heisey on Saturday in left, got the start Sunday in left. ... Washington third Ryan Zimmerman hopes to come off the DL and join the team in Pittsburgh on Friday, according to MLB.com. ... The 2013 DC Sports Hall of Fame inductees were honored before the game. The list included former NBA greats Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing (not present), former Caps' player Mike Gartner and NFL Hall of Famer Willie Wood (not present).