CINCINNATI — Gio Gonzalez pitched four-hit ball into the ninth inning, and Bryce Harper extended his mid-July tear with a pair of homers on Friday night, leading the Washington Nationals to a 5-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Gonzalez (8-4) snapped his streak of three straight tough-luck losses. He allowed a double and three infield singles before leaving with one out in the ninth after his 113th pitch. Matt Albers gave up three singles, and Matt Grace escaped the bases-loaded threat for his first save.
The Reds were shut out for only the second time this season. Four of their seven hits were infield singles.
Harper had a two-run shot and a solo homer off Tim Adleman (5-7) as the NL’s top offense got right back in form after the All-Star break. Harper has 22 homers overall, four during his nine-game hitting streak.
The Nationals lead the league in most categories on offense and featured three starting position players in the All-Star Game — Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy. Murphy got a planned day off on Friday, and the rest of the offense carried on without him.
Anthony Rendon extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single. Stephen Drew also drove in a run with a single off Adleman, who lasted only 4 1/3 innings — his season low for a start that didn’t involve an injury.
Gonzalez had lost his last three starts despite allowing a total of five runs, getting little help from his offense or the bullpen. Everything fell into place to end the streak.
The Reds got only two runners as far as second base against Gonzalez, who walked two and struck out six.