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Resilient offense leads Nationals past Reds in Game 2 of doubleheader

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USA Today Sports

Resilient offense leads Nationals past Reds in Game 2 of doubleheader

Nationals slugger Bryce Harper was forced to leave soon after being hit by a pitch, then Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto went wild when he got drilled Saturday night as Washington won 6-2 to split a doubleheader.

The Reds won a tame opener, 7-1. Things quickly turned testy in the nightcap.

Harper was hit in the right kneecap in the sixth by a pitch from Austin Brice. Harper initially struggled to put any weight on his leg, but ultimately made his way to first base.

But Harper labored defensively chasing after a double by Mason Williams in the seventh and was immediately replaced in right field by Adam Eaton -- Harper said he's not sure if he'll be able to play Sunday.

In the eighth, Votto was hit for the second time in the game and gestured at pitch Ryan Madson as he took first base. After being retired on a forceout at second to end the inning, Votto waved at Washington's dugout, prompting plate umpire Andy Fletcher to warn both teams.

Votto also was hit in the first inning. Washington's Spencer Kieboom was plunked in the seventh.

Anthony Rendon had a pair of RBI doubles and Matt Adams homered in the second game for Washington.

Jose Peraza led off the game with a homer for Cincinnati and Eugenio Suarez hit his 26th home run.

The Nationals scored single runs in each of the opening five innings against Matt Harvey (5-7).

Jeremy Hellickson (5-2) pitched into the sixth. The Nationals have won four of five.

In the opener, Cincinnati starter Anthony DeSclafani (5-3) allowed one run in seven innings, stopping Washington's three-game winning streak.

The Reds had six runs and 10 hits against Gio Gonzalez (6-8), who lasted only 3 2/3 innings. He has lost seven straight decisions.

Phillip Ervin hit a three-run homer and Brandon Dixon had a solo shot as the Reds snapped a three-game losing streak.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: Brice was recalled from Triple-A Louisville to serve as the 26th man for the second game. He replaced Harvey in the fifth and allowed one run in two innings.

Nationals: Pitcher Stephen Strasburg, put on the 10-day DL retroactive to July 22, is eligible to return, but when he will remains unclear. "Every day, he's progressing. There's no real timeline right now," manager Davey Martinez said. "Hopefully, he's feeling good enough in the next week or so he can get off the mound, throw a bullpen. We'll see. He's definitely progressing in that direction."

UP NEXT

Reds: RHP Luis Castillo (6-8, 4.98) allowed six earned runs over five innings in Cincinnati's 13-7 home loss to Washington on March 31.

Nationals: RHP Tanner Roark (5-12, 4.37) is 2-0 in last two starts with 18 strikeouts and one earned run over 15 innings.

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Juan Soto greets Nationals fans while dressed as Santa Claus

Juan Soto greets Nationals fans while dressed as Santa Claus

The winter can feel like one of the slowest seasons of the year, especially for baseball fans who long for the season to pick back up again.

But Nationals outfielder Juan Soto met with fans on Saturday at a Dick’s Sporting Goods in Bailey's Crossroads, Virginia, and did his best to make them feel merry by getting in the holiday spirit.

Soto already helped give D.C. the greatest gift of all in a World Series title, so maybe he really is Mr. Claus.

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Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

Nationals sign reliever Kyle Finnegan to major-league deal

The Nationals announced their first move toward rebuilding their bullpen for the 2020 season Sunday, signing right-hander Kyle Finnegan to a major-league deal.

Finnegan, 28, became a free agent for the first time this winter after seven seasons in the Oakland Athletics’ minor-league system. The A’s drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft out of Texas State, originally developing him as a starter until converting him into a reliever in 2016.

Oakland granted Finnegan an invite to Spring Training ahead of last season, but he never made his way onto the team’s 40-man roster. His breakout season was in 2019, when the organization asked him to lower his arm slot to generate more movement on his pitches.

Finnegan posted a 2.66 ERA with 14 saves over 42 appearances for AA-Midland and AAA-Las Vegas last year. His fastball has touched triple digits in the past but sits in the mid-to-upper 90s. His newfound success has also seen him rack up more strikeouts, as evidenced by his K/9 that jumped from 9.7 in 2018 to 12.8 in 2019.

Prior to signing with Washington, Finnegan joined the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League. He has a 2.31 ERA in 14 appearances so far this winter.

The Nationals’ 40-man roster now sits at 30 with the addition of Finnegan following non-tenders of Javy Guerra and Koda Glover. It will move up to 32 once the signings of Yan Gomes and Howie Kendrick are made official. The move comes less than 12 hours before the MLB Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin in San Diego.

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