Nationals go for rare four-game sweep vs. Reds (Jul 16, 2017)

CINCINNATI — The National League East-leading Washington Nationals will be looking for their seventh win in nine games on Sunday against a team that’s at the bottom of the standings in its division.

Washington’s pitching staff shut out the Cincinnati Reds for 16 innings until they exploded for seven runs in the last two innings on Saturday.

The Nationals took two of three from the Reds on June 23-25 in D.C. They have won four of the five meetings this season.

The Nationals will be trying to nail down a four-game sweep of the Reds. Neither team has been able to sweep a four-game series since the Washington franchise moved from Montreal in 2005.

The Nationals have clinched the season series for the second straight year.

Homer Bailey (2-2) is scheduled to start against Washington on Sunday. Bailey missed most of the last two seasons before returning to the Reds’ rotation on June 24 against the Nationals. He allowed eight runs in 1 2/3 innings.

After an 0-2 start, Bailey rebounded with two winning starts in Colorado and Arizona in which he allowed one run.

Bailey is 1-4 lifetime against the Nationals with his lone victory a 15-0 decision on April 5, 2013, with six scoreless innings. Daniel Murphy is 3-for-7 with two doubles against Bailey.

Bailey’s mound opponent will be Tanner Roark (6-6), who is 1-2 against Cincinnati lifetime with a 4.37 ERA in six starts. He allowed six runs in six innings against the Reds on June 25 and took the 6-2 loss.

Scooter Gennett was 4-for-5 in that game and hit his 11th home run of the season off Roark. He is the only current Reds player to homer against Roark.

Joey Votto is 4-for-10 against Roark, all singles, and Tucker Barnhart is 5-for-10 with a double.

Votto has a .314 lifetime average against the Nationals and had one of the best days of his career against them on May 13, 2013. He hit three home runs, including a walk-off grand slam in a 9-6 win.

Roark has been able to keep Billy Hamilton off the bases. Hamilton has two hits in 14 at-bats against Roark and walked once.

Bryce Harper has a 10-game hitting streak, batting .436 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. Harper has reached base in 18 straight games.

Daniel Murphy got Friday off to get a mental break after the All-Star Game, which he started at second base. He leads the NL with a ..343 average and hit his 30th double on Saturday to drive in his 67th run of the season.

Ryan Zimmerman needs one more home run to break a tie with Vladimir Guerrero for the franchise record. He has 234 going into the game Sunday. Zimmerman, the starting firstbaseman for the NL is 0-for-10 in his last three games.

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