Cozart comes through again with big two-out hit

For second straight game, shortstop boosts Reds in come-from-behind win

Cozart comes through again with big two-out hit

CINCINNATI -- Two games. Two days of big two-out hits and two come-from-behind efforts. Two wins. It all added up again on Saturday for the Reds, and especially for shortstop Zack Cozart.

In an 8-5 win over the Nationals, it was Cozart's bases-loaded, two-run double with two outs in the eighth inning that provided the game-winner. Cozart also had a two-out RBI single in a three-run sixth that helped bring Friday's 5-2 win.

Cozart's RBI single

"That has obviously been a topic when we were losing," Cozart said. "We weren't getting a lot of those hits. To get those two-out hits these last couple of games, they win games. It's as simple as that."

The Reds came in batting .193 with runners in scoring position -- which is last in the Majors -- and .205 with two outs and runners in scoring position. On Saturday, they were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

During their skid where they lost 10 of 11, Cincinnati took a lead after trailing just once in that stretch -- on Monday vs. Colorado. The next time it happened was on Friday vs. Washington. On Saturday, Michael Taylor's three-run homer off Raisel Iglesias put Cincinnati down by a 5-2 score -- but not out.

Taylor's three-run homer

It was 5-4 in the eighth when the Reds rallied against reliever Casey Janssen. It was Brayan Pena's infield single off first baseman Ryan Zimmerman's glove that loaded the bases with one out. After Marlon Byrd lined out, it was up to Cozart, who drove a 1-2 pitch to the center-field wall over the head of Denard Span, scoring Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce.

"I don't know if I can stress the importance of that at-bat," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "If not, it's [closer Drew] Storen vs. our lineup [in the ninth], and he's very, very good. Not to say we wouldn't have won the game still, but it would have been a lot more challenging."

Billy Hamilton followed Cozart with his own two-out, two-run single that iced the game and the three-game series for Cincinnati with a chance to sweep Sunday. The three-run deficit was also the largest the team has overcome this season.

Hamilton's two-run single

Perhaps not a coincidence, the Reds are also 2-0 since Price held a team meeting following Wednesday's loss to the Rockies.

"It was a really good meeting, talking about pressing. We're all good players and have played well in the big leagues for some time, most of us. It was just, 'Hey, let your ability take over,'" Cozart said. "We've had two games since then, we've played pretty well. It probably did work a little bit."

Cozart is batting .271/.326/.452 in 43 games after a dismal 2014 season at the plate.

"It's always fun to see guys that are this invested have success, especially coming off a tough year like Zack did," Price said. "He just shows up and plays hard, and when we win, he's got a big smile on his face if he's 0-for-4 or if he smokes a two-run double to give us a lead off a really good relief pitcher in Janssen."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.