CINCINNATI (AP) — Bryce Harper got doubled up on a fly out. Later, he was retired in a rundown after going too far around second base. The Nationals' aggressive play wound up costing them in a close game.
Johnny Cueto fanned nine in seven innings on Saturday, and Brayan Pena singled through a drawn-in infield for the only run, leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 1-0 victory that ended their seven-game losing streak.
The Nationals weren't going to second-guess themselves for the daring that cost them on the bases.
"It's part of our DNA," manager Matt Williams said. "We're going to be aggressive. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it bites you. You can't change the way we play. It's aggressive by nature.
"It's the way we play, and we're not going to change how we go about it."
Two exceptional plays in the Reds' outfield prevented early runs.
Center fielder Billy Hamilton ran down Adam LaRoche's fly with two runners aboard in the first. Right fielder Jay Bruce got to Wilson Ramos' fly to the warning track and doubled up Harper at first base in the second inning.
"Guys hit balls like that in this yard all the time and it usually hits off the wall or goes out of the yard," Harper said. "So nothing I can do about it. I thought I definitely would have scored if it's over his head. Bruce made a great play and came up firing."
Harper got caught in a rundown between second and third base in the seventh inning after trying to take an extra base on Ramos' infield single.
"Just trying to go to third," Harper said. "I thought I had a bead on it and they got me."
Cincinnati ended its longest losing streak in five years by getting several good defensive plays and another dominating performance by its All-Star starter. Cueto (11-6) gave up four hits and walked three.
Left-hander Aroldis Chapman pitched out of a two-on, two-out threat in the eighth and finished for his 22nd save in 24 chances. He extended his streak of at least one strikeout in his last 43 appearances, the longest by a reliever in the majors since 1900.
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