Max Scherzer made his first start at home since July 25 and batterymate Kurt Suzuki drove in four runs with a homer and double as the Washington Nationals beat the visiting Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Wednesday.
First baseman Asdrubal Cabrera had three hits and drove in two runs for Washington and second baseman Brian Dozier added three hits and a walk.
The Nationals (74-58) have won six of the last seven and 16 of 21 while the Orioles (44-89) lost for just the third time in eight games. Washington began the day 5 ½ games back of first-place Atlanta in the National League East but hold the top spot in the Wild Card race.
In his second start since coming off injured list, Scherzer was lifted with one out in the fifth after throwing 89 pitches.
He gave up two runs on six hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. Scherzer was replaced by winning pitcher Wander Suero (5-7), who got a double play grounder off the bat of Trey Mancini to hit the threat.
Scherzer now has 200 strikeouts this season — the eighth straight time he has reached that mark. The record is nine straight years by Tom Seaver, from 1968 to 1976.
The win came at a cost as Washington right fielder Adam Eaton had to leave the game in the bottom of the first inning. He was hit by a pitch and then ran to third on a double. However, he came up limping and had to leave the game Eaton was replaced by Gerardo Parra.
After being blanked Tuesday in a 2-0 loss by Baltimore, the Nationals broke through for five runs in the first.
Washington hit for the cycle during the five-hit inning, as Juan Soto had a two-run triple, Cabrera drove in a run with a single and Suzuki had a two-run homer to make it 5-0.
The Orioles scored in the third as Jonathan Villar singled with two outs and then came home on a double to left by Anthony Santander.
The Nationals scored three in the fifth to make it 8-2 as Cabrera had a RBI double and Suzuki had a two-run homer.
The Orioles’ Chris Davis hit a two-run homer off Tanner Rainey, whose fastball hit 100 miles per hour, in the sixth to trim the lead to 8-4.
Fernando Rodney threw a perfect eighth inning and Daniel Hudson pitched the ninth for the Nationals.
Baltimore starter Asher Wojciechowski (2-7) yielded five runs in four innings to pick up the loss.
The Nationals are off Thursday and begin a three-game series with last-place Miami at home on Friday.