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Cueto bests Gonzalez as Reds blank Nats

Jul 27, 2014 - 12:15 AM Cincinnati, OH ( - When in the midst of your longest losing streak in nearly five years, just send your staff ace to the mound.

The Cincinnati Reds did just that.

Johnny Cueto hurled seven strong innings to help the Reds snap a seven-game losing streak with a 1-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

Cueto (11-6) limited the Nationals to four hits and walked three while striking out nine for Cincinnati, which hasn't lost eight in a row since July 28-Aug. 4, 2009.

"Most teams are going to go through a stretch like this and you hope it's not in September and it takes you out of the race," Reds manager Bryan Price said about ending the losing streak. "It was in the end of July and it hasn't."

Gio Gonzalez (6-6) was up to the task in opposing Cueto, allowing a run on four hits with eight strikeouts.

"Cueto has been fantastic," Gonzalez said. "It was going to be a close one all the way to the end."

Washington looked to open the scoring in the first, but Billy Hamilton had other ideas. With one out and runners on first and second, Adam LaRoche sent a looping liner to deep center, where Hamilton raced back and leaped up to make the catch for the second out of the inning. Ian Desmond then lined out to end the threat.

Aside from the early run-scoring opportunity, Cueto and Gonzalez were dealing until the Reds finally broke through in the fifth.

Chris Heisey hit a ground-rule double to left, then stole third two batters later. Brayan Pena ripped a single through the hole on the left side to open the scoring, giving the Reds a 1-0 lead.

Cueto struck out four straight batters from the sixth through the seventh before issuing a one-out walk to Bryce Harper. Wilson Ramos followed with an infield single, however, Harper took a wide turn around second and ultimately was tagged out in a rundown. The miscue crushed any potential rally, as Cueto got Kevin Frandsen to fly out to right in the next at-bat for the third out.

Jonathan Broxton breezed through the first two batters in the eighth before walking Anthony Rendon and hitting Jayson Werth to put a pair of runners on, forcing the Reds to bring in Aroldis Chapman for a four-out save. Chapman induced a harmless groundout from LaRoche to end the inning.

Desmond drew a walk to lead off the ninth, but was gunned down trying to swipe second for the first out in the frame. Chapman then blew a fastball by Harper and got Ramos looking to secure his 22nd save of the season.

Game Notes

Cincinnati's Zack Cozart went 0-for-3 and is now in the midst of an 0-for-20 slump ... Chapman added to his major-league record with a strikeout in his 43rd consecutive appearance ... Gonzalez entered the game with a 2-0 record and 1.00 ERA over four starts against the Reds ... Washington went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base ... Game time: 2:29.