- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

CINCINNATI — Another subpar start by Gio Gonzalez spoiled manager Dusty Baker’s homecoming.

Eugenio Suarez hit his third home run in two games with the help of a replay overturn, and the Cincinnati Reds overpowered the Washington Nationals, 7-2, on Friday night.

Suarez’s RBI single started a four-run second inning for Cincinnati (20-35) off Gonzalez, who gave up five runs and nine hits in six innings and has lost his last three starts. Brandon Phillips’ bases-loaded single finished the nine-batter rally, which included several borderline hits.

“There was a broken-bat hit, an infield hit,” Baker said. “But you’ve got to find a way to get out of that. There was only one ball hit hard.

“We need him to get himself together. We need Gio. We need him to break this streak he’s been on.”

In his last three games, Gonzalez (3-4) has allowed 18 runs in 15 2/3 innings. He had better control this time, fanning eight without walking a batter, and his fastball was livelier than in the last couple games.

“I’m looking at the positives,” the left-hander said. “Eight [strikeouts], no walks. That’s the silver lining. My velocity was up. There was progress. You see signs of the old Gio coming back.”

The Reds matched their season high with their third consecutive win, marking only the third time they’ve put together that long of a streak. They have been on their best hitting surge of the season in the last five games, scoring 40 runs with the help of 15 home runs.

Zack Cozart and Adam Duvall hit solo home runs for Cincinnati.

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (2-4) gave up five hits, including Jayson Werth’s solo home run, in 6 1/3 innings. Werth, who has nine home runs, is trying to fix some problems with his swing.

“I’ve got a lot of season to get it going, to get it right, and I plan on doing that,” Werth said.

The 27,258 fans applauded Baker when he was shown on the video board after the first inning. Baker returned to Great American Ball Park for the first time since he was fired after the 2013 season, when the Reds made another quick postseason exit.

Baker led the Reds to three playoff appearances in four years, but was fired after a wild-card loss in 2013. His Nationals lead the Nationals League (33-22) East, while the Reds have the second-worst record.

Bryce Harper was back in Washington’s lineup for the first time since he was hit on the side of the right knee on Monday. The right fielder had a single in four at-bats.

A video replay helped Suarez get a solo home run in the third inning. His fly to left field appeared to hit the yellow padding atop the wall and deflect back onto the field.

Third base umpire Jeff Nelson ruled the ball in play, and Suarez stopped at second base. After a video review showed a fan behind the wall touched the ball and knocked it back, Suarez was awarded his 13th of the season.

Daniel Murphy went 0-for-4, snapping his 11-game hitting streak.

First baseman Ryan Zimmerman was placed on paternity leave after his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child on Thursday. Trea Turner was called up from Triple-A Syracuse until he returns. Turner started at second base and had two singles, a double and a walk.

Stephen Strasburg (9-0) is 17-2 with a 2.20 ERA since his start against the Reds on May 29, 2015. He’ll oppose Dan Straily on Saturday.

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