Washington Nationals 8-5 Over The San Diego Padres: Gio Gonzalez Recovers After Rough Start In D.C.

Rob Carr

Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez needed 30 pitches to get through the first, but he settled in after that as the Nats kept tacking on runs in what ended up an 8-5 win over the visiting San Diego Padres in the first game of the three-game weekend series.

Everth Cabrera made Gio Gonzalez work for the first out of tonight's game, battling the Washington Nationals' starter in a nine-pitch AB in 90° heat in the nation's capital before grounding out to short. San Diego Padres' center fielder Chris Denorfia lined a 92 mph 3-1 fastball to left and by a diving Bryce Harper for a one-out double Denard Span collected after it bounced off the wall of the visitor's bullpen. Harper got over to the left field corner to catch a fly ball off Carlos Quentin's for out no.2, but Gio Gonzalez fell behind Chase Headley 2-0 and gave up an RBI ground-rule double that skipped off the track and over the #NATITUDE wall in left-center, out of even Denard Span's reach. 1-0 Padres early. Gonzalez threw 30 pitches before he got out of the first.

San Diego starter Andrew Cashner threw a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 first vs the Nationals.

Logan Forsythe lined a 1-0 fastball to center for the third hit off Gio Gonzalez in the first at bat of the second. A 2-2 curve to first baseman Jesus Guzman ended up smoked by third for the third two-base hit of the game off the Nats' left-handed starter, but an 0-2 curve in the dirt got Yasmani Grandal swinging for out no.1 and K no.2 for Gonzalez. Padres' starter Andrew Cashner took a backdoor 2-2 bender for a called strike three, out no. 2 and K no.3 for the Nationals' lefty and a 1-2 curve to Everth Cabrera got the Padres' shortstop on a check-swing strike three that stranded two runners. 20-pitch inning for Gonzalez, however, and 50 overall after two.

Ryan Zimmerman lined to left on a 95 mph 0-1 fastball from Andrew Cashner then waited through an 11-pitch at bat by Jayson Werth before going first-to-third™ on a single to left by the bearded Nationals' outfielder. Anthony "More Walks Than Ks In College" Rendon loaded the bases by taking a free pass and Wilson Ramos came through again, singling to left to bring in two runs with yet another RBI hit. 2-1 Nationals. Gio Gonzalez squared to bunt in the next at bat and got a fastball in the chest for his efforts. That loaded the bases again and looked like it hurt, and Denard Span's double to right in the next at bat brought two more in. 4-1 Nationals. Ian Desmond walked to load the bases for the third time, and Bryce Harper's sac fly to center scored his pitcher to make it 5-1 Nats before Cashner got out of a 46-pitch inning.

Chris Denorfia singled to start the third, but the Padres' outfielder was doubled up when Carlos Quentin grounded into an expertly executed 6-4-3. Gio Gonzalez fell behind Chase Headley though, and gave up a two-out solo home run to left by the San Diego infielder that got the Padres within three at 5-2 in the third. A 15-pitch inning had Gonzalez at 65 after three. Adam LaRoche walked to start the Nationals' third and a single by Jayson Werth ended Andrew Cashner's night at 65 pitches in the third. Tim Stauffer took over for San Diego. Anthony Rendon started down 0-2 but worked the count full before grounding into a force at second so LaRoche was on third when Wilson Ramos singled through the right side of the infield to bring in the Nationals' sixth run of the game. 6-2 after three.

Gio Gonzalez gave up a one-out single and a walk to Jesus Guzman and Yasmani Grandal, respectively, but Nats' catcher Wilson Ramos cut the lead runner down on a weak bunt attempt by Tim Stauffer and Gonzalez got a groundout to second from Everth Cabrera to end a 15-pitch fourth at 80 pitches overall.

Ian Desmond doubled for the 23rd time this season in the first at bat of the Nats' fourth, taking a 1-0 fastball from Stauffer to right for the Nats' seventh hit of the game. Ryan Zimmerman took the fourth walk of the game from the Padres' pitchers one out later, bringing Adam LaRoche up with two on, and the Nats' first baseman's RBI single to center made it 7-2 Nationals. Jayson Werth's RBI groundout made it an 8-2 game after four in D.C.

Gio Gonzalez got a groundout to second and two grounders to short in a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth that had him up to 90 pitches total after 5.0 IP. Denard Span doubled with two down to leave him 2 for 4 on the night, but Ian Desmond flew out to right to end a quick frame by Tim Stauffer.

Gio Gonzalez got through the top of the sixth on nine pitches as he retired the Padres in order again. Padres' left-hander Joe Thatcher came on and threw a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth vs the Nationals, bringing Gio Gonzalez back out at 99 pitches overall. Yasmani Grandal's groundout to third in the seventh was the 12th groundout of the game induced by Gonzalez, but pinch hitter Pedro Ciriaco singled with one down and one out later Gio Gonzalez was lifted with his pitch count up to 110. Craig Stammen gave up a double by Chris Denorfia and a three-run home run to left by Carlos Quentin, but the Nats still had an 8-5 lead after six and a half.

Dale Thayer took over for the Padres in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a leadoff single by Jayson Werth. Anthony Rendon grounded into a force at second, but took a base on an errant pick attempt by San Diego. Wilson Ramos K'd looking in a 1-2 heater for out no.2 and Chad Tracy's grounder to short ended the seventh.

Tyler Clippard gave up a hard-hit fly to center by Kyle Blanks in the top of the eighth, struck Logan Forsythe out with a 2-2 change and got Jesus Guzman swinging with a 93 1-2 fastball to end a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the eighth after which Padres' closer Huston Street came out for some work and retired the Nats in order. Cue his music...

"Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano came out looking for save no. 23 of 2013. Yasmani Grandal grounded into his scouting report, sending one right to Ian Desmond a few steps to the left of second base. ONE! Pitch hitter Mark Kotsay flew out to left. TWO!!! Everth Cabrera? Groundout to second. Ballgame.

Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!!

Nationals now 44-42.

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