More from Gonzalez, Turner and Werth

CINCINNATI - Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that pitching coach Mike Maddux and Gio Gonzalez continue to fine tune what is going on with the southpaw. He has now allowed 18 runs in his last three starts.

"We got to go back to the drawing board and try to find a way for Gio to get it together because we need Gio," Baker said. "We need Gio that was in the month of April more than anything. Mike (Maddux) and him are working on things. He's got to continue to work. When things aren't going too good, you got to work a little harder and concentrate a little better.

"We just got to stay away from that bad inning and we got to pitch ahead of the hitters like we talked about earlier because his stuff is good. We got to stop this before he starts thinking that I'm snake bit or anything like that. He'll find it and we'll help him find it."

Gonzalez tried to explain why he has had one bad inning in his last three starts.

Gio Gonzalez gray pitch.jpg"There's no pattern to it, there's no explanation to it. That's exactly it," Gonzalez said. "That second inning just, I repeat I felt like I threw pitches with conviction where I wanted to throw and I can't do nothing on where it lands. The rest is all up to the man upstairs."

He said his mindset changed after that tumultuous second frame, and he began to not worry about precise location and instead threw the pitch he wanted to in each situation.

"I just decided you know what here you go, I'm going to rare back and just throw," he said. "Here it is, I'm not going to try to just nitpick the corner, I'm going to come at you and here you go. And that's what happened.

"Again, I felt like I threw better than what it showed today. Honestly. I felt like I could have got another inning. I felt like I could have kept going. And that's a great sign for me, I take it as a positive. Sometimes it's going to be bad luck, but you just got to continue to keep positive and move forward. I'm going to look more on the positive. Today was a better outing than what I expected."

Gonzalez believed that one reason why he was able to still pitch six innings and give up only one more run after a bad second frame was his attitude as he worked with catcher Jose Lobaton.

"I had to do nothing but go out there and battle," Gonzalez said. "At least the battling part was a lot better than the last couple starts, this one was actually on a positive note. Everything was up, the velocity was up and the strikeouts and walks were down. I am going deeper in the game now, finally six, I felt like I could have kept going seven and with the situation, if I could go out there, I'd love to. It just felt like I was getting stronger, which was great."

* Second baseman Trea Turner, making his first start for the Nationals in 2016, delivered a career-high performance with a double and two singles. Does he not get anxious on such a big stage because he has been here before?

"I mean, for sure," Turner said. "You've got different teammates, different stadium. You can't not recognize those. Definitely different. I just wanted to stay calm and keep it simple and try not to make it more than what it was. Just another at-bat just against a little bit better competition."

The Nationals were close to mounting a rally in the fourth inning Friday night after a one-out walk to Turner.

Down 4-0, the Nats were poised for a big inning with slugger Bryce Harper stepping in.

His hot shot to center field got Turner to showcase his speed. Turner went all the way to third and beat the throw from center fielder Billy Hamilton. Turner was called safe.

But after a 70-second replay review, the umpires reversed the call and said that video replay showed third baseman Eugenio Suarez had tagged Turner when he popped up after the slide.

It appeared that Turner was on the bad for most of the tag. It also looked like Suarez might have helped to nudge Turner a bit off the bag when his momentum pushed him off.

Baker did not appreciate the call.

"It was big in that one inning when Trea came off third," Baker said. "I wished they would get rid of that rule to tell you the truth. Because it looked like (Suarez) helped him off the bag as well, you're coming up off balance on the slide. I don't know if the umpires like it or the players. Nobody really likes it. I'm hoping that's one of the changes that they make."

Turner was surprised they reversed the call as well.

"I actually didn't know I came off the bag," Turner said. "I was confused why they were challenging it. It's unfortunate because it could've been a big play looking back at it. Maybe (Daniel Murphy's) at-bat goes different and scored a run right there and make it that much closer. A tough play, but it's baseball. It's the new rules and we've got to abide by them and hopefully it doesn't."

Instead of men on first and third and one out, the Nats were left with a man on and two outs. Murphy then grounded out to end the threat.

* Left fielder Jayson Werth was in a good mood after hitting his ninth homer of the season Friday night. One reason is his ability to get to the type of pitch that Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan delivered in that spot: Finnegan threw him five consecutive sinkers.

"I'd like to be able to cover that pitch with two strikes. I think it's a good sign," Werth said. "I think that's kind of been indicative of my swing over the course of my career. But this year it really hasn't been there a lot. I've been chasing the breaking ball in the dirt.

"I think if I can get back to that and covering that pitch and barreling up out there and let the ball get deep, that will help with the off-speed stuff in the dirt. I've been working hard, really have, and hopefully that's a good sign."

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