Gio Gonzalez entered tonight's game with a (5-0) record and a 0.72 ERA in six career outings against the Cleveland Indians, and he had a (4-0) record with a 0.68 ERA in four starts in Progressive Field, though he hadn't faced the franchise since 2011 when he was still pitching for the Oakland A's. After Indians' starter Justin Masterson threw a scoreless, 13-pitch top of the first against the visiting Nationals in which he gave up just a two-out single to right by Ryan Zimmerman, Gonzalez threw a scoreless 14-pitch bottom of the inning in which he gave up a only one-out double by Jason Kipnis before retiring the side in the first game of three to be played in Ohio this weekend.
Justin Masterson struck out the side in a 13-pitch second vs the Nats that had him up to 27 pitches with four Ks in two scoreless. Gio Gonzalez got the first two batters he faced in the Indians' second swinging, and Roger "The Shark" Bernadina made a shoestring catch after initially misjudging Michael Brantley's inning-ending fly to left. 0-0 after two in Cleveland after a 15-pitch frame by Gonzalez. 29 pitches overall for the Nationals' lefty.
Masterson issued the first free pass of the game when he put Kurt Suzuki on in the first at bat of the third. Steve Lombardozzi singled to center past a diving Mike Aviles at short. Denard Span bunted both runners into scoring position/gave up an out. Masterson missed with a 2-2 fastball outside and issued his second walk of the inning to Roger Bernadina, loading the bases with one down, then uncorked a wild pitch with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate that brought Kurt Suzuki in to make it 1-0 Washington. A called strike three on Zimmerman had Masterson at 5 Ks with two out in the third, and a groundout to first by Adam LaRoche ended the inning with the Nationals up 1-0.
A high 2-2 fastball got Mike Aviles swinging and had Gio Gonzalez at 4 Ks total in 2.1 IP. A 1-2 curve caught Drew Stubbs flat-footed. 5 Ks. A weak grounder to first off Michael Bourn's bat ended a 17-pitch inning that had Gio Gonzalez at 46 pitches overall, with eight Indians in a row set down after Jason Kipnis doubled in the first.
Jayson Werth took a 94 mph 1-2 sinker from Justin Masterson for a strike and the sixth strikeout of the game by the Indians' right-hander. Ian Desmond worked the third walk of the game out of Masterson, but Chad Tracy popped out and Kurt Suzuki K'd swinging to end the top of the fourth. 7 Ks for Masterson. Ian Desmond was out behind second waiting for a ground ball from Jason Kipnis in the first at bat of the Indian's fourth. Grounder. Desmond. Out. Ryan Raburn went with a 1-1 fastball outside and improved to 7 for 13 career with his third home run off Gio Gonzalez when he hit a two-out opposite field home run to right to tie the game up at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Carlos Santana singled in the at bat that followed, but Gonzalez struck Mark Reynolds out to end the inning after 18 pitches at 64 overall on the night.
Denard Span walked with one down in the top of the fifth then stole second one out later with Ryan Zimmerman up, (7 SB). Zimmerman started up 3-0 and went to a full count, but struck out on a 3-2 slider Masterson threw off the plate outside. 8 Ks for Masterson. Gio Gonzalez retired the Indians in order in the bottom of the fifth, striking Drew Stubbs out with a 1-2 fastball to end a 13-pitch inning at 77 pitches overall.
Justin Masterson got Adam LaRoche swinging with a brutal 2-2 slider to end an eight-pitch at bat with 9 Ks in 5.1 IP. Jayson Werth sent a 2-2 fastball back to the mound. Ian Desmond K'd swinging at a 2-2 slider inside and Masterson had 10 Ks in 6.0 IP with the score tied at 1-1 in Cleveland. Michael Bourn flew out to his counterpart in center on Gio Gonzalez's second pitch of the bottom of the sixth. A full-count fastball to Jason Kipnis had Gonzalez at 85 pitches with 8 Ks in 5.2 IP. The Nats' lefty missed inside with a full-count fastball to Nick Swisher, issuing his first walk of the game with two down in the Indians' sixth. Ryan Raburn took the second straight walk to bring Carlos Santana up with two on. Gonzalez went to a full count with the third straight batter, and issued the third straight walk. Bases loaded. Mark Reynolds stepped in with three runners on, but popped up to second to end a 32-pitch inning by the Nationals' starter. 109 overall.
Justin Masterson got weak groundouts from both Chad Tracy and Kurt Suzuki for the first two outs of the seventh. A fly to left by Denard Span ended a quick, 1-2-3 inning for Masterson. 113 pitches overall after seven. Still 1-1 in Cleveland. Michael Brantley grounded to second on Gio Gonzalez's 114th pitch. Mike Aviles lined out to center on an 0-2 pitch from Gonzalez, but the Nats' lefty walked Drew Stubbs with two down on pitch no. 122. Michael Bourn fell behind 0-2 and grounded out weakly to short to end an 18-pitch seventh with Gio Gonzalez at 127 pitches total on the night.
Right-hander Cody Allen took over for Cleveland in the top of the eighth. Denard Span battled for six pitches before striking out. Roger Bernadina K'd swinging on a pitch in the dirt. Ryan Zimmerman flew to center to end a 1-2-3 inning for the Indians' reliever.
Gio Gonzalez's line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 Ks, 1 HR, 127 P, 73 S, 6/2 GO/FO.
Tyler Clippard took over for Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of the inning. Jason Kipnis singled to right to start the home-half of the inning. Nick Swisher got jammed and he singled to short right for the second-straight hit. Ryan Raburn fouled off a high fastball trying to bunt, then missed a nasty 0-1 change to fall behind 0-2. A 1-2 heater got Cleveland's DH swinging for the first out of the inning. Carlos Gonzalez fell behind 0-2 too, but worked the count full and walked to load the bases with one out. Mark Reynolds K'd swinging at three straight fastballs for out no.2. Michael Brantley lined to center... but Denard Span was there. 3 outs. Still 1-1.
Adam LaRoche grounded back to Joe Smith on the mound for out no.1 of the ninth. Jayson Werth K'd swinging at a full-count slider. Ian Desmond grounded out to short. Still 1-1 in Cleveland. Fernando Abad took over for Washington in the bottom of the ninth. Mike Aviles lined out to center to start the home-half of the inning. Drew Stubbs hit a 1-2 fastball to right for a one-out opposite field single. Michael Bourn singled through the right side with Stubbs running, allowing the winning run to advance to third with one down. Jason Kipnis stepped up with runners on the corners and grounded to first. Adam LaRoche made the play, but threw home too late. Ballgame. Indians win, 2-1 final.
Nationals now 33-33