Cincinnati Reds

All-Star Volquez gets 11th win

CINCINNATI — At the end of a frustrating performance, Edinson Volquez looked up at the scoreboard, saw the news and started celebrating with teammates in the Cincinnati Reds' dugout.

He was headed to Yankee Stadium.

Volquez lasted six innings Sunday to get the victory on the day he was picked for his first All-Star Game, the Reds' lone representative after right-fielder Ken Griffey Jr. faded out of the picture in the final voting. He got the news when he was lifted for a pinch hitter during a 6-5 victory over the Washington Nationals.

”Everybody has dreams,“ said Volquez, who came to the Reds last December in the trade for outfielder Josh Hamilton, an AL All-Star. ”A lot of pitchers want to win the Cy Young or go to the All-Star Game. This is one of mine.“

Adam Dunn hit a three-run homer that started Cincinnati's comeback, and the Reds held on to complete a four-game sweep against a team that had trouble scoring all series.

Volquez (11-3) was a little off with his control, but he repeatedly pitched out of threats against the NL's worst offensive team. The Nationals are last in batting average, hits and runs.

”We should have won the game,“ Nationals Manager Manny Acta said, with an edge to his tone. ”We caught Volquez on one of his bad days. We should have scored eight runs against him.“

It turned into just another bad day for the Nationals, who have lost 11 of 15.

Both teams were in last place — the Nationals in the East, the Reds in the Central — when they opened the series. It's the Reds' first four-game sweep in two years.

Right-hander Collin Balester (1-1) ran into problems the second time through Cincinnati's batting order. The 21-year-old rookie made his second start in the majors and retired the first 11 batters. Griffey walked with two outs in the fourth, Brandon Phillips singled, and Dunn hit a down-and-in fastball for his 22nd homer, tying it at 3.

”On that pitch, I was trying to go up and in,“ Balester said. ”If you make a mistake, they're going to make you pay.“

There were plenty of bad decisions and bad choices on both sides.

”It wasn't pretty,“ Reds Manager Dusty Baker said. ”We made a lot of mistakes. We won the ball game, but it's hard to enjoy it.“

David Ross doubled home the tiebreaking run in the fifth, and first baseman Dmitri Young misplayed Volquez's sacrifice bunt for an error that set up another run. Catcher Paul Lo Duca moved to first base for the eighth inning and had an error that led to Jerry Hairston Jr.'s run-scoring single for a 6-3 lead.

Francisco Cordero got his 18th save in 22 chances despite giving up RBI singles by Cristian Guzman and Lexington's Austin Kearns in the ninth. A two-out error by first baseman Joey Votto sparked that rally.

■ The Nationals played without outfielder Elijah Dukes, who hurt his right knee when he ran into the outfield wall on Saturday night. Dukes will have surgery Monday to repair torn cartilage and a partially torn patella tendon. He'll be sidelined for four to six weeks.

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