WASHINGTON (AP) — After missing three starts because of a stomach bug, Brian Dozier felt good enough to return to the Washington Nationals’ lineup, good enough to eat a postgame plate of pasta, good enough to homer — and good enough to celebrate that solo shot with a dugout piggyback ride.
After sitting out just one game with a sprained right ankle, Dozier’s teammate Juan Soto looked just fine running around the diamond after launching a drive that landed more than 400 feet away in the second deck.
“Juan hits the home run, he comes over and says: ‘I told you I was fine,'” manager Dave Martinez said. “I go, ‘Thanks.’ I didn’t want him to play. I wanted to give him a break.”
Dozier hit his 17th of the season and Soto his 25th as both were back in the batting order, Joe Ross extended his scoreless streak to 17 1/3 innings before giving up a run, and Washington beat the Cincinnati Reds 3-1 Tuesday night.
“Stomach’s still turning a little bit,” Dozier said. “Body aches are gone and I’m keeping stuff inside my body longer. But headache’s good. Chills are great.”
Ross (3-3) allowed one run and five hits in his 6 2/3 innings; the run came when the final batter the righty faced, José Iglesias, delivered an RBI single. Still, Ross now is responsible for the most consecutive innings without a run by a Nationals pitcher this season — and that’s on a staff that includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.
“I was impressed,” Reds manager David Bell said about Ross, who is 3-0 with a 0.52 ERA in his past three starts.
With closer Sean Doolittle coming off five appearances in seven games — he mentioned feeling tired after Monday’s save — Daniel Hudson got the last four outs, striking out Tucker Barnhart with men on the corners to end it as rain fell. It was Hudson’s third save of 2019 and first since joining Washington from the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade-deadline deal.
Washington won its third game in a row with the mix of starting pitching and power hitting that let it surge from a 19-31 start to the lead in the NL wild-card standings. One hallmark of the turnaround has been the post-homer dance moves that midseason acquisition Gerardo Parra ushered in, and Dozier took it to a new level by leaping onto the back of batting practice pitcher Ali Modami for a trip through the dugout in the fourth.
His shot to left off a knuckle curve made it 3-0 and came two batters after Soto’s deep shot.
All of Washington’s runs came off Alex Wood (1-1), who had gone 36 appearances since last allowing two homers in an inning.
“Still just waiting for that timing to click,” Wood said, “where it ties everything together.”