Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Mike Leake spun seven solid innings and chipped in with a pair of hits and a run scored, as Cincinnati pulled away late in a 5-1 win over Washington in the middle of a three-game set at Nationals Park.
Leake (5-0) yielded a lone unearned run on seven hits, while fanning five and not issuing a walk for Cincinnati, which remained a game behind front-running St. Louis in the National League Central.
Orlando Cabrera had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run, while Brandon Phillips had a hit, scored twice, knocked in a run and stirred up a little ill will for the Reds, who stopped a two-game slide and won for just a second time in their last six games.
Luis Atilano (5-2) was the hard luck loser, yielding two runs, just one earned, on six hits, while walking one and striking out a season-high six over a season-best seven frames for a Washington team that has lost four of its last five.
The Reds struck in the first inning when Votto doubled home Phillips with one out. The run was unearned, as Cabrera started the game by reaching on a Ryan Zimmerman error before getting forced at second on Phillips' grounder.
Leake helped his own cause in the fifth with a looping one-out single to right and then came in to score when Cabrera doubled into the left-field corner to make it a 2-0 game.
Two Nationals reached base in each of the first two innings, and Washington had a runner at second with one out in the third, but could not push across anything against Leake, the eighth overall pick in last year's draft.
Washington finally broke through in the sixth when Zimmerman singled with one out and advanced to second base when Josh Willingham was hit by a pitch with two outs. Roger Bernadina hit a line drive to first base that Votto made a half-jump on and could not corral on a backhand attempt, allowing Zimmerman to dash in and score.
Tyler Walker took over for Atilano in the eighth and gave up a leadoff double to Cabrera that was followed by a Phillips base hit back through the middle that extended the visitors' lead to 3-1.
Sean Burnett then replaced Walker and uncorked a wild pitch over Votto's head, and Phillips attempted to reach third base, but was thrown out. However, it was ruled that shortstop Ian Desmond impeded his progress, even though it looked like Desmond was trying to get out of the way, and Phillips was awarded third base. Scott Rolen sent a ground ball to Desmond, who threw home to try to get Phillips, who steamrolled catcher Wil Nieves in a collision at the plate to jar the ball loose and score. Jay Bruce's RBI single scored Votto to finish the three-run rally.
Phillips, noticably self-aggrandazing after scoring in the eighth, was hit in his next at-bat in the ninth by Miguel Batista, who was then thrown out of the game.
The Nationals selected the contract of catcher Jamie Burke from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday and unconditionally released catcher Chris Coste. The team also placed catcher Carlos Maldonado on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday, with a fractured left thumb...Leake is now 10-for-24 at the plate this season and has hit safely in seven of his 11 starts...The Reds are 17-6 when they score first and 25-2 when leading after seven innings... Nieves went hitless in four at-bats and has only three hits in his last 28 trips.