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WKEF-TV ABC 22 News :: Sports - Local Sports - Reds Lose Seventh Straight

Reds Lose Seventh Straight

CINCINNATI -- Tanner Roark won the final spot in Washington's rotation during spring training. Halfway through the season, he's the Nationals' top winner.

Roark allowed only three singles over seven innings on Friday night, and Denard Span matched Cincinnati's hit total with his four singles, leading the Nationals to a 4-1 victory that extended their surge and the Reds' slump.

The Nationals won for the seventh time in nine games. They are 56-44, the second-best mark after 100 games in franchise history. The 2012 club went 60-40 on its way to the NL East title.

Roark (10-6) became Washington's first 10-game winner and improved to 3-0 in his last three starts. The right-hander has allowed three runs over 21 innings during those three wins, lowering his ERA to 2.82 -- the best in the rotation.

Nobody would have predicted that during spring training.

"It's pretty cool just to think about," Roark said. "You dream ever since you're a kid of getting to the big leagues. I took the opportunity and tried to run away with it.

"It is a little surprising. It's been a good ride so far. Keep it going."

Rafael Soriano gave up a walk and a double in the ninth while getting his 24th save in 27 chances and finishing the combined four-hitter.

The Reds remain stalled since the All-Star break, dropping all seven games for their longest losing streak in five years. It's the first time they have lost their first seven games after the All-Star break since 1991, when they dropped eight in a row.

Span had four singles, stole a base and drove in a run off Alfredo Simon (12-5), who has lost both starts since his first All-Star selection. The Nationals piled up nine hits, two walks and three runs off Simon in only 4 1/3 innings.

Span is 9 for 18 on Washington's road trip with two four-hit games.

"He's been great," manager Matt Williams said. "The key for him is hitting the ball back through the middle. We've seen that over the last week or so, hitting the ball up the middle or the other way."

Heading into the All-Star break, the Reds won seven of nine at home, cutting their deficit in the NL Central from seven games to 1 1-2. Their worst road trip in five years wiped out most of their gains, but they had hoped to get their offense back in form at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park.

Roark allowed a run in the fourth when Billy Hamilton singled, stole second and came around on Ryan Ludwick's infield single. Otherwise, the Reds got only one other runner to second base.

During the seven-game losing streak, Cincinnati has batted .176 as a team while scoring a total of 13 runs.

"It's just really a mental game," manager Bryan Price said. "When we were going good before the break, nobody was pressing. Now, everybody's pressing. We can't get our offense going because we're not getting a lot of baserunners."

Washington had at least one hit in each of the first six innings, with four players having multi-hit games. The Nationals put five hits together in the fourth for three runs, includingZach Walters' RBI double, Span's single and Anthony Rendon's run-scoring single. Adam LaRoche singled home a run in the sixth off J.J. Hoover.

Walters was called up Wednesday to fill in while Ryan Zimmerman is disabled by a pulled hamstring.Reds Lose Seventh Straight

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Ohio Sports

BREWERS-REDS

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Johnny Cueto pitched seven solid innings, and the Cincinnati Reds stayed in the chase for the NL's top record by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 on Tuesday night after learning they'll be without their manager for the rest of the week.

The Brewers dropped back-to-back games for the first time in more than a month, and it came at a bad time. They started the day 3 1/2 games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild card spot.

They got no break from the Reds, who clinched the NL Central title on Saturday night.

Manager Dusty Baker met players before the game and revealed he suffered a mini-stroke in addition to being treated for an irregular heartbeat last week. The 63-year-old manager hopes to return to the dugout next week.

REDS-BAKER

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Dusty Baker won't manage the Cincinnati Reds until the final series in St. Louis, giving him time to recover from an irregular heartbeat that left him hospitalized last week.

Baker met with owner Bob Castellini and his team on Tuesday before a game against the Brewers. Bench coach Chris Speier said he'll manage the final three home games against Milwaukee and three in Pittsburgh over the weekend, with Baker taking over for the last three games next week.

The 63-year-old manager was hospitalized in Chicago last Wednesday for an irregular heartbeat, a problem he's had for a while. He was in the hospital for four days, missing the Reds' 6-0 win over the Dodgers on Saturday night that clinched the NL Central title.

INDIANS-WHITE SOX

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox have lost sole possession of first place in the AL Central race, with the Indians playing spoiler. Gordon Beckham hit into a game-ending forceout with the potential tying run on second base yesterday as the Indians downed the White Sox 4-3.

Down 4-0 in the fourth inning, the White Sox closed within a run when Paul Konerko homered off Chris Perez leading off the ninth. Perez walked a pair of batters with two outs, and Beckham grounded to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw to second baseman Jason Kipnis for the force.

Chicago (82-72) had held sole possession of the division lead since September 3. Detroit pulled into a tie for the division lead with its win over Kansas City last night.

T25-OHIO ST-MATCHING UP

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Through four games and four victories, Ohio State's defense has faced a continual drumbeat of short passes, quick routes, screens and sweeps.

Every opponent, it seems, has relied on a sleight of hand.

Now the Buckeyes are looking forward to getting into familiar territory when they open Big Ten play.

When No. 14 Ohio State travels to 20th-ranked Michigan State on Saturday, the Buckeyes anticipate they'll run into a more conventional Midwestern attack. Granted, that means having to counteract the 244-pound blasts of the Spartans' massive Le'Veon Bell.

But after a month of chasing people, the Buckeyes think they might benefit from a change of pace from the subterfuge and rush-avoiding quick-hitters in a trade for raw man-on-man power struggles at the line of scrimmage.

T25-UPTIGHT SPARTANS

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan State's lackluster win last weekend got to coach Mark Dantonio.

After the Spartans beat Eastern Michigan 23-7 Saturday, Dantonio hurried through a terse news conference full of abrupt answers. The Michigan State coach said "next question" seven times in under a minute and was clearly annoyed with the way his team played.

On Tuesday, Dantonio spoke with reporters for around a half-hour, but Michigan State isn't making any players or assistants available this week. The Spartans' coach is trying to send a clear message to his players that it's time to get serious.

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