May 21, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) delivers to the plate during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
• Ian. Desmond.: Philadelphia Phillies' right-hander Kyle Kendrick got a line drive right to right fielder Hunter Pence with a 3-1 sinker to Washington Nationals' leadoff man Steve Lombardozzi for the first out of tonight's game. A 3-1 sinker to Bryce Harper was sent back up the middle, however, for a one-out single to center by the 19-year-old Nats' outfielder, but the game's first baserunner was erased on an inning-ending 6-4-3 off Ryan Zimmerman's bat as the Phillies' starter finished up a relatively quick 12-pitch first. Gio Gonzalez, who gave up just one run on four hits while striking out seven in 7.0 IP his first career start against Philadelphia back on May 5th in D.C., needed just 14 pitches to retire the top of the Phillies' lineup in order in the bottom of the first tonight, and one out and one pitch to Ian Desmond into the second, the Nats' left-handed starter had a 1-0 lead when Desmond crushed a 91 mph sinker from Kendrick, hitting his 7th HR of 2012 409ft+ into the center field shrubs in Citizens Bank. btw: Desmond hit 8 HR's total in 2011...
• K's No. 3, 4 and 5: Given a 1-0 lead to work with, Gio Gonzalez came back out for the second and issued a four-pitch leadoff walk to Hunter Pence, then threw a 94 mph full-count fastball by Phillies' catcher Carlos Ruiz, recording his third K of the day. A wild pitch with John Mayberry up allowed Pence to take second, but a 93 mph 2-2 two-seamer got Mayberry swinging for K no.4 and Gonzalez dialed it up to 95 to get shortstop Freddy Galvis swinging too as the Nationals' left-hander struck out the side in a 22-pitch frame.
• RUN JESUS RUN!!!: Jesus Flores singled to center to start the Nats' third. The Nationals' catcher took second on a sac bunt by Gio Gonzalez and third on a fly to right by Danny Espinosa, then with Bryce Harper up, Kyle Kendrick threw a wild pitch that got by Carlos Ruiz. The Phillies' catcher quickly recovered the ball behind home and tossed to the covering pitcher at the plate in time for Kendrick to make the tag on the sliding Nats' backstop, who was called out at home for the final out of the Nats' third. Still 1-0 Nationals.
• 7, Count'em, 7 K's: Gio Gonzalez struck the first two Phillies out in the bottom of the third, getting Mike Fontenot with an 0-2 fastball for K no.6 and the opposing pitcher with an 81 mph 2-2 curve for K no.7, (matching his K total in 7.0 innings from the first time out vs Philadelphia) before Juan Pierre hit a chopper over the mound that Ian Desmond couldn't barehand, resulting in the Phillies' first hit. The second Phillies' hit followed quickly as Placido Polanco lined to left in the next at bat, and a two-out walk to Shane Victorino loaded the bases for Hunter Pence. A force at second ended the third, but the 25-pitch inning had Gonzalez up to 61 pitches after three scoreless in Citizens Bank.
Charlie Harper Hustle: Bryce Harper started the fourth with a single, sending a 2-1 fastball through the left side of the infield. The Nats' right fielder stole second with Ryan Zimmerman up in the next at bat, and then scored (after Zimmerman K'd and Adam LaRoche walked) when Ian Desmond singled to left too to make it a 2-0 game. A one-out walk by Kyle Kendrick loaded the bases and earned the right-hander a visit from the Phillies' pitching coach, after which he struck out Rick Ankiel and got an inning-ending grounder from Jesus Flores to keep it close after three.
• Nat Gio's Ninth: Gio Gonzalez hit Carlos Ruiz to put another leadoff runner on in the Phillies' fourth, but he got John Mayberry to chase a 1-2 change into the dirt and got an inning-ending 5-4-3 on a grounder to third by Freddy Galvis to complete his fourth scoreless frame. The 15-pitch inning had the Nats' lefty at 76 pitches after four innings in Citizens Bank Park. After the Nats went down in order in a 7-pitch 5th by Kyle Kendrick, Gio returned to the mound, collecting his 9th K in five scoreless and retiring the Phillies in order in a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the frame after which he was up to 92 pitches.
• +D: The Nationals went down in order on 12-pitches by Kyle Kendrick in the top of the sixth. Gio Gonzalez walked Placido Polanco to start the Phillies' half of the inning, and gave up a double to left by Shane Victorino to put runners on second and third with no outs. Rick Ankiel then made a diving catch on a line drive to center by Rick Ankiel, and some bad baserunning by Polanco, who never went back to tag, cost the Phillies a run. Polanco then broke for home on a grounder to first by Carlos Ruiz and an alert Adam LaRoche threw home in time to cut the Phillies' infielder down. Jesus Flores applied the tag and there were two down when John Mayberry flew to right to end the bottom of the sixth with the score still 2-0 Nationals. The 16-pitch inning had Gio Gonzalez up to 108 piches on the night.
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K's, 108 pitches, 65 strikes, 4/3 GO/FO.
• 14-Straight Retired: Nats' catcher Jesus Flores battled for 10 pitches before grounding out for the final out of the top of the seventh. 11 in-a-row set down by Phillies' right-hander Kyle Kendrick. Nationals' right-hander Craig Stammen took over for Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of the inning, throwing a quick 12-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh. Nationals' 12, 13 and 14 went down in order against Phillies' lefty Raul Valdes in a seven-pitch top of the eighth. Stammen came back out for the bottom of the frame and gave up back-to-back one-out singles by Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino, once again bringing Hunter Pence up with runners on. Stammen popped Pence up with the first pitch he threw him though, and got a force at second on a grounder to short by Carlos Ruiz to end his second scoreless frame. 2-0 Nats after eight.
• Rain All Night, Now Lightning: Raul Valdes set Zimmerman, LaRoche and Desmond down for the 15th, 16th and 17th batters in a row set down by Phillies' pitchers. Henry "Lightning" Rodriguez entered the game with a 2-0 lead in the 9th, looking for save no.10 of 2012. The Nats' 25-year-old right-hander started John Mayberry with three straight balls, none of them close and walked the leadoff batter on four straight pitches. Ball one to Freddy Galvis was the fifth straight pitch out of the zone, but a low fastball finally broke that streak. 1-1 count. Galvis got hold of a 1-1 fastball upstairs, but flew out to right. One down. A wild pitch allowed Mayberry to take second, and a line drive single to center by Mike Fontenot moved him to third. Another wild pitch ended Rodriguez's night. Sean Burnett popped Ty Wiggington up to right, allowing Mayberry to score from third and make it a 2-1 game with two down. Hector Luna vs Sean Burnett: 2-out walk. Runners on first and second, two down. Placido Polanco lines out to second. Silence in Citizens Bank. Ballgame. 2-1 Nats win.
• Miss The Game? The D.C. Faithful Were Watching...
• Tonight's WPA Graph ( - witty commentary, Doghouse is on vacation):
Nationals now 25-17.