July 2, 2013 / 4:35 AM / 5 years ago

Harper homers on return to spark Nationals onslaught

(Reuters) - Bryce Harper made light of a month-long absence by belting a home run and Jordan Zimmermann grabbed his 12th win of the season as the Washington Nationals eased to a 10-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

Harper had missed 31 games with an injured left knee but the 20-year-old returned in style with a homer in his first at-bat to put the Nationals on course for the win and draw a curtain call from his home fans.

As Washington seized an 8-0 lead, Zimmermann worked his way through six innings and allowed four runs to take his record to 12-3, moving level with Detroit’s Max Scherzer (12-0) for the most wins in the Major Leagues.

Jayson Werth had five RBIs at the plate for the Nationals while the struggling Brewers suffered their sixth straight loss.

In Houston, Matt Moore tossed seven impressive shutout innings to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a comprehensive 12-0 drubbing of the hapless Astros.

Moore struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits to improve to 11-3 and Tampa Bay belted 17 hits in a dominant performance. Ryan Roberts smacked two home runs while Sean Rodriguez went 4-for-6 with three RBIs.

In Cincinnati, the Reds pounded San Francisco 8-1 in a rain-shortened game that lasted only six innings.

Todd Frazier had a home run and four RBIs to lead the offensive charge against Giants pitcher Michael Kickham, who lasted just 2 2/3 innings.

Rain halted the game after the sixth inning and the umpires waited almost an hour and a half before calling off the contest.

In Minnesota, Robinson Cano launched a pair of home runs and the New York Yankees used a late burst to beat the Twins 10-4.

Cano homered in the first and third innings, to give him 19 on the year, then figured in his team’s late rally. He scored on an error to tie the game 4-4 in the eighth, where New York put up three runs before added four in the ninth to pull away.

Yankees starter Andy Pettitte broke the franchise’s career strikeout record with his 1,958th, one more than Whitey Ford.

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien

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