WASHINGTON -- With just three Major League starts under his belt, pitcher Tony Cingrani has already immortalized himself in the annals off Reds' history.
Cingrani became the fifth Reds pitcher to strike out four batters in an inning when he struck out Denard Span, who reached first base when the ball got by catcher Corky Miller in the fourth inning, and then followed by shutting down Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond, Adam LaRoche. He was able to get out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam to keep the Nationals scoreless.
"I just threw fastballs and some curveballs in there, and I just got ahead of them," Cingrani said. "I bared down and got them out. That's what you got to do."
The other Reds to accomplish this feat are Joe Nuxhall against Milwaukee in 1959, Mario Soto against the Cubs in 1984, Tim Birtsas against San Francisco in 1990 and Frankie Rodriguez against the Marlins in 2001.
Cingrani, who was making just his third Major League start, threw six scoreless innings and gave up just two hits with a career-high 11 strikeouts and one walk.
He is the first Reds rookie with double digit strikeouts since Johnny Cueto in 2008.
Reds manager Dusty Baker has been involved in games where the pitcher has struck out four batters in an inning. But he was especially pleased with the fire Cingrani showed.
"I've seen it happen," Baker said. "I don't think he wants to do that all the time. But we were happy to get what we could get. The mark of a good pitcher is the guy who can get out of trouble. "
Catcher Corky Miller was impressed the way Cingrani pounded the zone. He could not recall being in a Major League game where a pitcher strikes out four in an inning.
"I can't remember if I have," Miller said about the four strikeouts in an inning. "I've been around a long time so I don't know. Probably not in the big leagues. They got hitters up here who can hit. He got into that spot, and with some guys you hope for the double play. With Tony, you hope for the strikeout."
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.