By HAL McCOY
What Scott Feldman did Sunday afternoon just puts extreme emphasis on what the problem is with the Cincinnati Reds.
Starting pitching, starting pitching, starting pitching and, yes, starting pitching.
Feldman pitched seven innings against the Washington Nationals and gave up two runs, seven hits and just two walks to carry the Reds to a 6-2 victory.
What is so special about that? Feldman is the first Reds starting pitcher to win a game since June 8. And Reds starters were 0-and-8 with an 8.48 earned run average for their last eight decisions.
And guess who that starting pitcher was June 8. If you said Scott Feldman you win a pair of those spiffy baseball socks Joey Votto wears.
On June 8 Feldman shut down the St. Louis Cardinals on no runs and four hits over seven innings for a 5-2 Reds victory.
Feldman’s only misstep Sunday against the Nationals was a two-run home run by Michael Taylor in the fourth inning — the 18th straight game that the Reds have given up at least one home run, a club record.
That was it, though. Feldman was in complete control of Nationals slugger Anthony Rendon to escape two problems. The Nationals had two on and two out in the first inning but Feldman struck out Rendon. The Nationals had two on with two outs in the third but Feldman retired Rendon on a weak ground ball.
What it made it much healthier for Feldman was that before the threw a pitch the Reds hav4 a 5-0 lead against Nationals starter Tanner Roark.
The first four Reds reached base to start the game. Billy Hamilton doubled and Scooter Gennett singled him home. Joey Votto singled and Gennett came all the way around to score on right fielder Bryce Harper’s throwing error to third base.
Adam Duvall walked and a couple of ground balls scored a third run. Jose Peraza singled and Tucker Barnhart doubled for two more runs and a 5-0 lead.
The unbelievable Scooter Gennett homered in the second inning, his 11th homer (fourth in his previous seven games), and he finished the day with four hits, two runs scored and two driven in.
Gennett presents Reds manager Bryan Price with a dilemma. Gennett is starting at second base because shortstop Zack Cozart is on the disabled list. Price moved Jose Peraza to shortstop and put Gennett at second. Cozart is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday.
So what is Price going to do with Gennett?
After Gennett’s second-inning home run, the Reds didn’t score again. And after Taylor’s fourth-inning home run, the Nats didn’t score again.
Tony Cingrani pitched one-thir of an inning and gave up a hit, then Raisel Iglesias pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, retiring all five batters he faced with one strikeout.
The win was only the second in 14 games for the last place Reds and the Sunday victory prevented the Nationals from a three-game sweep. Washington hasn’t swept a series from the Reds since 2008.
In addition to Gennett’s four hits, Billy Hamilton had two hits for the second straight game after shedding a career-worst 0-for-20. And Tucker Barnhart had two hits and two RBI.
The Reds left Washington for a one-day stay in St. Louis, where they will make-up a rained-out game against the Cardinals. Brandon Finnegan comes off the disabled list to make the start.