Reds beat Nationals 7-2, spoiling Dusty Baker's homecoming

CINCINNATI (AP) The Reds have finally gotten their offense to come around, giving them their first enjoyable moments in a long time.

Eugenio Suarez got his third homer in two games with the help of a replay overturn, and the Cincinnati Reds spoiled manager Dusty Baker's homecoming by overpowering the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Friday night.

The Reds matched their season high with their third straight win - 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 homers.

Zack Cozart and Adam Duvall hit solo shots for Cincinnati.

''I guess that's what we've been trying to do all year,'' Cozart said. ''It just wasn't happening. We're feeling pretty good as a team. Whatever we've been doing the past four or five days, we want to keep it going. We're clicking on all cylinders for the first time all year.''

Suarez's RBI single started Cincinnati's four-run second inning off left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3-4), who has lost his last three starts. Brandon Phillips' bases-loaded single finished the nine-batter rally. In his last three games, Gonzalez has allowed 18 runs in 15 2/3 innings.

''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.''

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (2-4) gave up five hits, including Jayson Werth's solo homer, in 6 1/3 innings.

The 27,258 fans applauded Baker when he was shown on the videoboard 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 NL East, while the Reds have the second-worst record in the NL at 20-35.

''It's weird seeing him in the other dugout,'' Cozart said. ''He wants to win. We do, too. It was fun to beat him.''

NL Most Valuable Player 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 homer 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.

Suarez had three hits, including two homers, during an 11-4 win at Colorado on Thursday night that ended his 3-for-37 slump.

REDS WIN REPLAY

In addition to getting Suarez's homer confirmed after a review, the Reds challenged Nelson's call that Trea Turner was safe at third base in the fourth, when he tried to advance from first on Harper's single. The replay showed Turner took his foot off the base after beating the throw, and he was ruled out.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman was placed on paternity leave. His wife gave birth to the couple's second child on Thursday. Turner was called up from Triple-A until he returns. Turner started at second base and had two singles, a double and a walk.

Reds: RHP Michael Lorenzen is scheduled to throw two innings in an extended spring training game on Saturday. He's been sidelined all season by a sprained right elbow. ... RHP Homer Bailey is scheduled to throw in the bullpen on Saturday. Bailey, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, suffered a setback in his rehab last month.

UP NEXT

Nationals: Since his start against the Reds on May 29, 2015, Stephen Strasburg (9-0) is 17-2 with a 2.20 ERA.

Reds: Dan Straily (3-2) makes his first career appearance against the Nationals.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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