WASHINGTON (AP) — With one of baseball’s deepest and toughest lineups, the Washington Nationals showed why they lead the National League in hitting and scoring.
Michael Taylor homered twice among his four hits, Trea Turner finished 5 of 5 with a walk and the Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 18-3 on Saturday.
Daniel Murphy had four RBIs with his three-run double highlighting a six-run second inning. Taylor’s two-run homer capped a four-run fourth inning and he added a solo shot in the sixth.
Turner, Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Wieters each drove in two runs. Bryce Harper had one of Washington’s 19 hits.
“When everyone is doing well, you get a day like today,” Turner said. “It’s not a fun lineup to face for other teams and that’s the way we want it to be.”
Washington led 13-0 as Joe Ross (4-3) blanked the Reds until Patrick Kivlehan’s pinch-hit home run in the sixth.
In his first appearance since Aug. 28, Homer Bailey (0-1) allowed eight runs and six hits with three walks in 1 2/3 innings.
The Reds, who have lost 13 of 14, gave up 17 runs on May 29 at Toronto.
The Nationals began the day leading the NL with a .276 batting average and 404 runs scored.
“You’ve got Taylor who has a four-hit day and hits two homers and he’s hitting eight. That speaks pretty well of your lineup,” Reds manager Bryan Price. “Also that wasn’t a credible performance on our part. They hit the pitches they should hit.”
Washington took the first two games of the series from the Reds after losing three of four.
All of Turner’s career-high five hits were singles including run-scoring hits in the second and eighth.
“As he goes, we go,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of his leadoff hitter. “That’s a quite a day.”
Cincinnati activated the 31-year-old Bailey from the disabled list before the game. The right-hander had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs in his right shoulder on Feb. 28.
Washington made Bailey’s first outing of the season uncomfortable from the start. After Turner and Brian Goodwin opened the bottom of the first with a single and walk respectively, Zimmerman hit a one-out double into the right-center gap, scoring both runners.
Trailing 3-0 in the second, Bailey walked two batters to load the bases with two outs. Murphy cleared them with a line drive into the right-field corner and then scored on Anthony Rendon’s double.
“I had no excuses,” Bailey said. “I just didn’t pitch well today. That’s all I can say.”
Reds reliever Lisalverto Bonilla surrendered five runs on eight hits, including both of Taylor’s homers.
Ross surrendered one run and six hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk.
“Joe threw a good game,” Baker said. “Had some outstanding changeups.”
Kivlehan added an RBI single in the eighth.
Reds: Bailey was diagnosed with right biceps tendinitis following a one-inning start last August and eventually shut down for the season. He allowed two earned runs over 16 2/3 innings during three rehab starts before his recall Saturday. OF Jesse Winker was optioned to AAA-Louisville to make room for Bailey. ... LHP Brandon Finnegan, on the DL since Apr. 16 with a left shoulder injury, will start Monday, Price said.
Nationals: Taylor’s first four-hit game of his career came after being held out the lineup the previous two games with an undisclosed injury. The center fielder also tracked down Scooter Gennett’s deep fly ball for a leaping catch just shy of the wall in the third. Though he wouldn’t specify the injury, Taylor said of the rest, “I needed it,” I was a little banged up.”
ROCKIN’ FOR ROSS
Scoring early and often is common when Ross is pitching. Washington scored at least 10 runs in six of his 10 starts in 2017. Informed of the run support for Ross, Taylor cracked, “I’m sure he doesn’t mind.”
Reds: Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.20 ERA) leads Cincinnati with seven quality starts
Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (6-4, 4.88) allowed 13 earned runs in 7 2-3 innings over his last two starts.