STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Sports Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jayson Werth hit a three-run home run, Anthony Rendon had a two-run double and the Washington Nationals’ offense awoke in a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
Werth was 2 for 3 and scored three runs to lead the outburst. Rendon and Ben Revere each went 2 for 4.
Washington had scored three runs in its previous three games combined, a stretch of futility that manager Dusty Baker said was “a little bit past a blip” even without reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper.
It was a welcome output on a day that left-hander Gio Gonzalez (8-9) didn’t have his best stuff. Gonzalez allowed four runs and seven hits, including a home run by Francisco Lindor, and struck out five in five-plus innings.
The Nationals knocked around Josh Tomlin (11-5), who allowed seven runs and eight hits and struck out four in four-plus innings.
Gonzalez got into trouble in the sixth when he allowed back-to-back singles, but reliever Matt Belisle induced a double play and a groundout to end the threat.
Recently acquired closer Mark Melancon made quick work of Cleveland to pick up the save.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona returned after a health scare caused him to miss the series opener Tuesday. Francona, who has a history of blood clots and pulmonary embolisms, complained of chest pain and had an elevated heart rate but reported feeling better by Wednesday. … Francona said RHP Tommy Hunter threw a simulated game Tuesday and was progressing well from a non-baseball injury.
Nationals: Harper missed his third consecutive game with a stiff neck. Baker said Harper’s neck was in a spasm and medical personnel hadn’t yet figured out how to alleviate it.
GOODWIN BREAKS THROUGH
Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin made his first major league start and got his first hit with a single off Zach McAllister in the eighth. Fans gave him a standing ovation, giving backup catcher Pedro Severino a good laugh from the rail of the home dugout.
RAMIREZ KEEPS STREAKING
Indians 3B Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 and extended his hitting streak to 14 games. The 5-foot-9 Ramirez has even started some games in the cleanup spot, and bench coach Brad Mills said he likes him there because he comes up with big hits. Ramirez batted fifth on Wednesday.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (11-8, 3.22 ERA) starts the series opener back in Cleveland against RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-7, 5.27) and the Los Angeles Angels.
Nationals: After a day off, RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-2, 2.80) starts Friday against RHP Mike Foltynewicz (5-5, 4.37) and the last-place Atlanta Braves.
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