Tony Cingrani achieves rare four-strikeout inning

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Reds rookie Tony Cingrani was electric in his third career start this afternoon against the Nationals. The 23-year-old lefty held the Nats to two hits, walking one and striking out 11 over six innings, lowering his ERA to 1.50 in the process.

Cingrani struck out four Nationals in the bottom of the fourth, a rare feat. He struck out Denard Span to lead off the inning, but catcher Corky Miller couldn’t corral the sinker in the dirt, allowing Span to reach base safely. Danny Espinosa doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs, but Cingrani buckled down and struck out Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, and Ian Desmond to escape the inning unscathed and with four more strikeouts in the box score.

The last Reds pitcher to strike out four in an inning was Frankie Rodriguez in 2001, per the Reds official Twitter. More specifically, it was on July 22.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).