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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, April 7th (All times Eastern)

Washington Nationals (4-1) at Cincinnati Reds (3-2), 1:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 0.00) Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (0-0, 1.29)

(Sports Network) - Two of the top young pitchers in baseball square off on Sunday when the Cincinnati Reds host the Washington Nationals in the finale of a three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

Ian Desmond and Wilson Ramos each homered in the top of the 11th inning, and the Nationals held on to beat the Reds, 7-6, in Saturday's second game.

These teams have combined to score 28 runs in the first two games, but, with Washington going with Stephen Strasburg for the rubber game and the Reds countering with Johnny Cueto, such continued fireworks are unlikely.

Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft, was masterful in his initial start of 2013, pitching seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball with three strikeouts and no walks in a 2-0 defeat of the Miami Marlins on April 1.

It followed up nicely on his bounce-back season of 2012, when, after making just five starts in a 2011 lost to injury, he won 15 of 21 decisions for the National League East Division champions and posted a 3.16 earned run average with 197 strikeouts in 159 1/3 innings.

Strasburg made a big splash upon reaching the majors as a rookie in 2010, winning five of eight decisions and posting a 2.91 ERA across 12 starts. He underwent ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow in 2011, however, and made news last year when the Nationals announced he'd be on an innings limit.

He won his lone career start against the Reds after allowing three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings on July 21, 2011, in Cincinnati.

The Reds counter with Dominican-born righty Johnny Cueto, who was fourth in the NL's Cy Young Award voting last season after winning a career-high 19 games in 28 decisions for the Central Division champions.

He posted a 2.78 ERA and allowed 205 hits with 170 strikeouts in 217 innings, finishing behind winner R.A. Dickey, Clayton Kershaw and Washington's Gio Gonzalez.

Cueto debuted this season with a seven-inning stint against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 1 and emerged with a no-decision after allowing a single run on three hits in seven innings.

He's 4-2 in seven career starts against Washington.

On Saturday, Desmond took Cincinnati reliever J.J. Hoover (0-2) deep to left field to begin the 11th. One out later, Ramos crushed his second home run of the game, a drive over the center-field wall to put the Nationals up 7-5. The Washington catcher also belted a two-run blast off Reds starter Mike Leake in the sixth.

Craig Stammen (1-0) struck out the first two Cincinnati batters in the bottom of the 11th before Joey Votto walked and scored on a double by Brandon Phillips. Stammen, however, fanned Jay Bruce on three pitches to end the contest.

The Nationals overcame blowing a 5-1 lead they carried into the eighth. Cincinnati pushed two runs across in the inning, then pulled even in the ninth against new Washington closer Rafael Soriano.

"Good job battling back by our guys," Leake said.

Washington won five of seven games against the Reds in 2012, including two of three in Cincinnati.

04/07 10:17:52 ET

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

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    Today at 1:05 pm on 620am

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  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Tonight at 7:05 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
Final
WAS 3
STL 4
Final
CLE 0
TOR 5
Final
DET 5
ANA 2
Final
BOS 4
BAL 2
Final
KAN 5
MIN 4
Final
CHC 8
CIN 4
Final
OAK 4
HOU 3
Final
PIT 7
MIL 8
Final
NYM 5
ATL 7
Final
TAM 16
NYY 1
Final
MIA 7
SEA 0
Final
TEX 6
CWS 3
Final
LOS 8
ARI 6
Final
COL 3
PHI 1
Final
SDP 3
SFG 1
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
ATL
 
1:10pm Today
MIA
SEA
 
1:35pm Today
PIT
MIL
 
1:35pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:40pm Today
TAM
NYY
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
CWS
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
 
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
 
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
 
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
 
Final
TOR 87
BRK 94
Final
LAC 105
GSW 109
Final
IND 93
ATL 101
4th
OKC 84
MEM 73
 
1:00pm Today
SAN
DAL
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
STL 4
CHI 3
Final
PIT 3
CLB 4
3rd
COL 3
MIN 1
 
12:00pm Today
NYR
PHI
3:00pm Today
BOS
DET
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
Final
NOR 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
NOR
DUR