Gio Gonzalez gave up just one hit in a quick, seven-pitch bottom of the first inning last time out in Detroit's Comerica Park, but he ended up throwing 36 pitches in a five-run second by the Tigers and surrendering 11 hits total and 10 ER before he left the mound with one down in the fourth inning of his shortest start of 2013. Tonight in the nation's capital he set the Atlanta Braves down in order in a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the first. Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche took back-to-back two-out walks from 22-year-old Braves' right-hander Julio Teheran in the home-half of the first, but Ian Desmond's groundout to his counterpart at short ended a 24-pitch opening frame for Teheran. 0-0 in D.C.
ATL backstop Brian McCann popped up and out on a 2-0 fastball. Gio Gonzalez dropped a 1-2 curve on Chris Johnson and got a swinging K. Dan Uggla's fly to right ended an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 second after which the Nats' left-hander starter had retired six straight batters. 20 pitches total for Gonzalez. Julio Teheran's second ended after 14 pitches, with the Braves' starter setting the Nationals down in order as well.
B.J. Upton took a 1-2 curve for a called strike three and out no.1 of the third and Andrelton Simmons K'd swinging on another 1-2 hook, but Julio Teheran connected with a first-pitch fastball and lined the Braves' first hit of the game into right field for a two-out hit, but Bryce Harper caught a lower liner off Evan Gattis' bat before it hit the outfield grass and the catch ended Gonzalez's third scoreless frame after 12 pitches with the Nationals' lefty at 32 pitches overall. Still 0-0. With one down in the Nats' third, Bryce Harper broke up the scoreless tie with a solo blast to center on a first-pitch fastball from Teheran that landed on the batter's eye grass in center field in Nationals Park to put Washington up 1-0 after three. HR no.17 of 2013 for the Nats' 20-year-old slugger.
Gio Gonzalez hit Freddie Freeman in the back of the leg with a 1-0 curve with one out in the Braves' fourth. Brian McCann lined a 2-2 fastball to left to put two runners on with one out, but a grounder to second off Chris Johnson's bat started an inning-ending 4-6-3 that ended a 13-pitch fourth that had Gonzalez up to 45 pitches overall after four. Adam LaRoche lined a 2-2 curve to center for a leadoff single in the Nats' fourth. Ian Desmond grounded into a force at second to take LaRoche off the basepaths and he was stranded at first after Wilson Ramos and Denard Span flew to center for outs no.2 and 3, respectively. 1-0 Nats after four.
Ryan Zimmerman showed off his arm on a weak grounder to third by Dan Uggla. Neither Zimmerman or Nationals' shortstop Ian Desmond had a shot at fielding B.J. Upton's hard-hit single through the left side. Upton stole second just ahead of a strong throw to the bag by Wilson Ramos. Gonzalez's first walk of the game put Andrelton Simmons on and allowed Teheran to bunt both Braves' runners over and an opposite field line drive to right by Evan Gattis brought both runners in to make it a 2-1 game in favor of Atlanta. Justin Upton singled to center to move Gattis around to third with Freddie Freeman (41 for 91 with RISP) due up, but the Braves' first baseman was 41 for 92 w/ RISP on the year after he K'd swinging to end a 23-pitch fifth. 68 overall for Gonzalez. 2-1 Braves.
Anthony Rendon doubled for the 15th time this season to start the Nationals' first and with one down, after a failed bunt attempt by Gio Gonzalez, Julio Teheran decided to seek revenge on Bryce Harper after the Nats' slugger homered in his previous at bat. The Braves' starter hit Harper in the thigh and after Harper launched into a profanity-filled response, Brian McCann got into this face and the benches cleared without anything ugly erupting. Both sides were warned, unfortunately, and two quick outs by Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth ended the bottom of the inning with the score still 2-1 Atlanta.
Gio Gonzalez's 15-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth had him up to 83 pitches overall. Julio Teheran started the bottom of the inning at 71 pitches. Ian Desmond singled with one down, but after a fly to right by Wilson Ramos, Denard Span grounded into a force at second to keep it 2-1 Braves after six in D.C.
B.J. Upton singled and stole second to start the top of the seventh, but he broke for third on a grounder to short by Andrelton Simmons and got tagged out after a quick rundown. Braves' skipper Fredi Gonzalez hit for his pitcher with a runner on first and one down, bringing Todd Cunningham off the bench to face Gio Gonzalez, but the Nats' lefty got a swinging K with a 94 mph 2-2 fastball up high. Evan Gattis popped up behind the plate for out no.3, and Gio Gonzalez was through the seventh on 13 pitches at 96 overall on the night. Still 2-1 Braves.
• Gio Gonzalez's line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 96 P, 60 S, 6/4 GO/FO.
Bryce Harper stepped in with two down in the Nationals' seventh after Anthony Rendon grounded out to short and pinch hitter Scott Hairston grounded out to third and singled to center off Braves' lefty Luis Avilan. Ryan Zimmerman reached safely on a sharp grounder to third when Chris Johnson's throw to first sailed high. Jayson Werth stepped in with two on and two out and walked to bring Adam LaRoche up with the bases loaded, but he grounded weakly to first to end the threat. Still 2-1 Braves.
Justin Upton singled to start the eighth, but Freddie Freeman grounded into a 4-6-3 to get Nationals' lefty Ian Krol two quick outs. Brian McCann's groundout to second ended a 12-pitch top of the eighth. Jordan Walden struck out the side on 18 pitches, getting Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos and Denard Span swinging to keep it 2-1 Braves after eight in D.C.
Dan Uggla singled to left with one down in the top of the ninth, taking a first-pitch fastball from Craig Stammen to left, but two outs later, the Nats' right-handed reliever had a scoreless top of the ninth. Anthony Rendon led off the Nats' ninth against Craig Kimbrel, working the count full before striking out. Chad Tracy chased a 1-2 slider into the dirt. Bryce Harper? Harper worked the count full against the Braves' closer and K'd swinging through a 99 mph fastball up high. Ballgame.
Nationals now 54-59