Washington Nationals Win 8-7 Over Chicago White Sox; Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth And Adam LaRoche (2) Go Yard

Patrick McDermott

Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez struggled early but kept the Nats in the game and the bats warmed up with Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche all going yard in what ended up an 8-7 win over the Chicago White Sox in the first game of three tonight in Washington, D.C.

Chicago White Sox' outfielder Alejandro De Aza went around on a 1-2 fastball up high and inside from Gio Gonzalez and was punched out by third base umpire Ron Kulpa on the appeal. Third baseman Jeff Keppinger lined a 3-2 four-seamer over a leaping Washington Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman for a one-out single, then moved up on an Alex Rios' line drive to center field in Nats Park. Gonzalez was up to 21 pitches in the first inning of tonight's Interleague game when he walked Paul Konerko to load the bases, but Gonzalez got up 0-2 on Dayan Viciedo and threw a belt-high heater by the right-handed swinging outfielder for out no.2 then worked back from 3-0 to a full count with Alexei Ramirez and ... balked home a run. What? Balked home a run. 1-0. Gio Gonzalez couldn't believe it, screaming into his glove as he walked behind the mound. Home plate ump Phil Cuzzi was right. One pitch later, the Nats' left-handed starter was at 33 pitches overall, 20 of them strikes, when Ramirez flew out to Denard Span in center to end the top of the first.

Bryce Harper battled Jake Peavy in an 11-pitch, two-out at bat in the bottom of the first before singling to center... but he got thrown out by Alex Rios trying to stretch it into a double. #mentalerror, #overaggressive #controlledaggression #tryingtomakesomethingthappen #workinprogressaccordingtoWerth

Gio Gonzalez got White Sox' catcher Tyler Flowers looking with a 2-2 bender that broke in over the top of the zone for a called strike three. A 93 mph fastball 2-2 fastball got Gordon Beckham swinging for out no.2 of the second and K no.4 for Gonzalez, and he popped the opposing pitcher up to complete an 18-pitch second inning at 51 overall. Ian Desmond battled for eight pitches before he K'd looking at a 1-2 two-seamer for out no.3 of Jake Peavy's second. 40 pitches total for the White Sox' starter.

Alejandro De Aza doubled by a sprinting Jayson Werth and off the Chili's ad right in the middle of the out-of-town scoreboard in right in Nationals Park on a 2-1 fastball from Gio Gonzalez. A 1-2 fastball outside got Jeff Keppinger swinging for out no.1 of the third and K no.5 for Gonzalez. An Alex Rios' groundout to second moved De Aza up, and Gonzalez worked carefully with Konerko up, eventually walking him, then went to 3-0 with Dayan Viciedo before battling back to a full count and striking the White Sox' outfielder out to strand two and end a 23-pitch third at 74 pitches overall down 1-0 to Chicago, a team he's never beaten (0-4) in five career starts. 6 Ks though.

Gio Gonzalez flew to right-center with two down in the Nats' third for the second single of the night off Jake Peavy, but just like Bryce Harper, who singled with two down in the first and got thrown out by Alex Rios, Gonzalez got thrown out trying for second when Rios picked up the ball Alejandro De Aza dove for and missed and threw a strike to Alexei Ramirez at second where the Nats' starter was dead to rights. 3 outs. 1-0 Sox after three.

After weak groundout to second on the first pitch to Alexei Ramirez, Gio Gonzalez got Tyler Flowers looking with a 1-2 bender outside for K no. 7 in 3.2 IP and got another groundout to second by Angel Sanchez, who replaced an injured Gordon Beckham, ending a 10-pitch fourth at 84 pitches overall. Denard Span singled to center to start the fourth and stayed at first. #phew. Jayson Werth flew to center in the next AB, but De Aza tracked it down 399 ft from home, a few feet short of the wall at 401 ft. Bryce Harper singled to right in the at bat that followed, allowing Span to go from first-to-third™ and Ryan Zimmerman's sac fly scored the tying run to make it 1-1 after four.

Alejandro De Aza was 2 for 3 tonight after hitting an opposite field ground-rule double into the visitor's pen in left with one down in the White Sox' fifth, but he was doubled up on an infield pop by Jeff Keppinger when he ran on the pitch and got deked into sliding at third by a tricky Ryan Zimmerman. Ian Desmond made the catch, threw to second for the double play, then went in and picked up a bat and homered to left for a solo blast and a 2-1 Nats' lead. Desmond's second of 2013 came on a 1-1 change from Peavy that ended up in the visitor's bullpen. One out after Desmond's blast, Wilson Ramos ripped a grounder through short for a single. Chad Tracy hit for Gio Gonzalez, ending the lefty's second start, and K'd swinging with Ramos running. Strike'em out, throw'em out to end the fifth.

Gio Gonzalez's line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 99 P, 57 S, 3/3 GO/FO.

Alex Rios hit a broken bat single to short center off Craig Stammen in the top of the sixth. Rios stole second and took third when Wilson Ramos' throw to second bounced off the runner's helmet. With a runner on third, Paul Konerko flew to center for a sac fly that tied the game up at 2-2. Dayan Viciedo singled up the middle with one down and moved up when Ian Desmond tried to barehand an Alexei Ramirez grounder toward second and came up empty. Two on, but there were two outs after Tyler Flowers lined out to right on a first-pitch fastball and three when Angel Sanchez grounded into an inning-ending force at second base.

Denard Span was 2 for 3 tonight after doubling to right field to start the Nationals' sixth and Span scored the first of two runs in front of Jayson Werth, when the Nats' right fielder ca-lobbered a first-pitch fastball from Peavy for a two-run home run that landed in the left field seats. Werth's third HR of 2013. 4-2 Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman took the first walk of the year from Peavy one-out later and Adam LaRoche broke out of his "season-long" slump with his first hit in 16 at bats so far this year. Two-run home run to center for LaRoche, 6-2 Nationals in the sixth. 5 for 14, 3 HRs in his career for LaRoche vs Peavy. 6-2 Nats after six.

Tyler Clippard threw an 0-2 change by White Sox' infielder Connor Gilaspie for the first out of the seventh. Alejandro De Aza walked with one down and moved up to second on a single by Jeff Keppinger. Alex Rios popped out to Adam LaRoche in foul territory off first for out no.2, but Paul Konerko got all of a 93 mph 1-0 fastball from Clippard and hit a 3-run blast into the left field seats. 6-5 game after six and a half in D.C.

White Sox' right-hander Nate Jones walked Steve Lombardozzi with one down in the Nats' seventh. New reliever Donnie Veal threw a pick attempt by first and off the rolled-up tarp, allowing Lombardozzi to take second then third, then Veal walked Denard Span to put two on for Jayson Werth. Matt Lindstrom was the third pitcher of the inning for Chicago, and he gave up an RBI single by Werth that made it a 7-5 game after seven in D.C. Drew Storen took over on the mound for the Nats, getting a fly to center from Alexei Ramirez and back-to-back Ks from Tyler Flowers and DeWayne Wise, one looking, one swinging. 10-pitch frame.

Adam LaRoche hit a 2-0 fastball from White Sox' lefty Matt Thornton over the GEICO sign on the center field wall for his second hit of the year and second home run tonight to make it an 8-5 game after eight in Nats Park. Nats' closer Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth to the strains of his own personal theme song and struck out Connor Gillaspie for out no.1. Alejandra De Aza singled again, sending a soft liner out to Harper in left field. Jeff Keppinger flew to center for out no.2 and Alex Rios... hit a hanging-[blank] 1-1 slider out to left and into the visitor's bullpen. 8-7 game, but Soriano pops Konerko up to end it.

Works done. Untuck your jersey, son.

Nationals win, 8-7 final.

Nationals now 5-2.

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