CINCINNATI -- The anticipated low-scoring pitchers' duel between Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg and his Cincinnati Reds counterpart, Johnny Cueto, didn't transpire Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.
But Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who's beginning to break out of his early-season slump, had a two-run double in the first, and left fielder Xavier Paul, making the start to add another left-handed bat against Strasburg, went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, lifting Cincinnati to a 6-3 victory over Washington in the finale of a three-game series.
Kurt Suzuki went 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs for the Nationals.
Both Strasburg and Cueto, who combined for 34 wins last season, lacked command Sunday, combining for 222 pitches and nine earned runs allowed in 11 1/3 innings.
Cueto (1-0) lasted six innings before the Reds rallied for three runs to earn him the victory.
Strasburg (1-1) was coming off a strong Opening Day outing in which he allowed just three hits in seven innings with no walks and three strikeouts. But Cincinnati made things rough for him Sunday.
The Reds loaded the bases without hitting the ball into the outfield with infield singles by Paul and Brandon Phillips and a walk to Joey Votto. Bruce then lined a double to left-center, putting the Reds ahead 2-0. A third run scored on Todd Frazier's groundout.
Strasburg needed 23 pitches to get through the first inning.
Suzuki tied the score in the second with a three-run home run on a 1-1 pitch from Cueto. He hit only six homers all of last season. Suzuki also doubled in the fourth.
The Reds exhausted their bullpen during the season-opening home stand and needed a strong outing from Cueto. But he mostly labored through six innings, throwing 108 pitches and allowing three earned runs and seven hits while striking out six.
After a rocky first, Strasburg allowed just three hits over the next four innings with five strikeouts. But he struggled in the sixth.
Derrick Robinson singled for his first MLB hit and later scored from third to put the Reds ahead. Phillips and Bruce both had RBI singles in the inning to make the score 6-3.
Cincinnati's bullpen then held the Nationals at bay. Left-hander Sean Marshall made his season debut with a scoreless seventh. Closer Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the ninth for his second save.
NOTES: Nationals 1B Adam LaRoche did not start for the second consecutive game due to lower back stiffness. Chad Tracy played first base and batted fifth for the second straight day. LaRoche remains 0-for-13 to start the season, the worst start of his career. ... Reds LHP Marshall, who's been battling shoulder fatigue, made his season debut pitching a scoreless seventh with one strikeout. ... Suzuki started Sunday's game in continuation of manager Davey Johnson's plan to alternate starts between he and Wilson Ramos.