Ethan Martin, the 24-year-old Phillies' starter tonight, was a Los Angeles Dodgers' '08 1st Round pick taken out of Stephens County HS in Toccoa, Georgia who came to Philadelphia in the July 2012 trade that sent Shane Victorino to LA.
Gio Gonzalez, 27, was a Chicago White Sox' first-rounder, taken with the 38th overall pick in 2004 who was traded to the Phillies in the 2005 deal that sent Jim Thome from the City of Brother Love to the South Side of Chicago. Gonzalez was traded back to the Phillies a year later along with Gavin Floyd in the trade that sent Freddy Garcia to the Sox. Two years after that Gonzalez was traded to the A's in the Nick Swisher deal. After three years with the Athletics, the Washington Nationals acquired the Hialeah, Florida-born lefty from Oakland along with RHP Robert Gilliam for three of the Nats' top pitching prospects (A.J Cole. Brad Peacock and Tom Milone) and Derek Norris, the top catching prospect in the organization at that point.
The two well-traveled starters met in Citizens Bank Park tonight in the second game of three for the Nationals in Philadelphia.
Ethan Martin threw a quick, 15-pitch, 1-2-3 first in his first career start against Philadelphia's NL East rivals from D.C. Gio Gonzalez, in his third start this season against the Phillies, against whom he was 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 14 innings in which he'd walked four and K'd 16, added two Ks and two walks to his season totals vs the third place team in the division then got a fly to center from Darin Ruf to end a 28-pitch scoreless bottom of the first in CBP.
Martin hit Jayson Werth with a 93 mph fastball in the top of the second then walked Adam LaRoche with one down, setting Wilson Ramos up with two runners the Nats' catcher brought in with a three-run blast over the 398ft sign on the center field wall in the Phillies' home. 3-0 Nationals after one and a half. HR no.10 of 2013 for Ramos. Gio Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single by Cody Asche in the home half of the first, but a pop behind home by John Mayberry and a 5-4-3 inning-ending DP off Michael Martinez's bat got the Nationals' lefty through two scoreless on 43 pitches.
Denard Span singled the second time up to extend his hit streak to 16 games over which the 29-year-old center field was 25 for 61 (.410 AVG) two at bats into tonight's game, but he was erased from the basepaths when Bryce Harper grounded into a force at second one out later and Ethan Martin threw a scoreless third on 12 pitches pushing him up to 47 pitches total after three innings in Philadelphia. Gio Gonzalez's 11-pitch, 1-2-3 third had him up to 54 overall after three scoreless.
Adam LaRoche had to turn on the burners and slide in headfirst at second on a line drive double to right with one out in the fourth, arriving just ahead of John Mayberry's throw in from right field. LaRoche was stranded there two outs later, however, and it was still 3-0 Nats after three and a half.
Kevin Frandsen singled to right to start the Phillies' fourth, and Ryan Zimmerman was charged with his 20th error, but just his sixth fielding error, when he misplayed a grounder to third by Carlos Ruiz on his backhand and pocketed it instead of attempting a throw. A wild pitch from Gio Gonzalez moved both runners into scoring position with no one out, but the Nats' lefty struck Darin Ruf out with a 3-2 change before Cody Asche hit an 0-2 fastball back up the middle for a two-run single that made it a 3-2 game. A 21-pitch inning had Gonzalez up to 75. His three Ks in the fourth had him up to six strikeouts overall.
Denard Span hit his 26th double of the season over first base and into the right field corner in Citizens Bank Park. Ryan Zimmerman's groundout moved Span over to third, and Bryce Harper walked to put runners on the corners with one out, but Jayson Werth popped out to foul territory off first for the second out of the inning. Ian Desmond walked to load the bases though, and Adam LaRoche walked too to force in the Nationals' fourth run and make it a 4-2 game. Wilson Ramos stepped up next against Justin De Fratus and the Phillies' right-hander walked in another run to make it 5-2 after four and a half in Citizens Bank.
Peter Orr singled to start the Phillies' fifth. Anthony Rendon snagged a line drive headed for center. Ian Desmond backhanded a sharp grounder and bounced a throw to second where Rendon got a force for out no.2. Rendon dove for a low liner by Kevin Frandsen. 14-pitch inning by Gio Gonzalez with some help his infield. 5-2 Nats. 89 pitches.
Phillies' lefty Mauricio Robles took the mound in the Nationals' sixth. Denard Span reached on an error by Cody Asche on a grounder to third, took second on a balk by Robles and stole third when Ryan Zimmerman walked in the next at bat. SB no.12 for Span. But he was out at home when he tried to score on a grounder to third by Bryce Harper. Jayson Werth got up 3-0 on Robles with two on and two out and and hit a broken bat pop that fell in in center for an RBI single that scored Zimmerman to give the Nationals a 6-2 lead and Ian Desmond's opposite field single scored Harper to make it a 7-2.
Darin Ruf walked with one down in the bottom of the sixth, took second on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by Ian Desmond, who bounced one to first on a John Mayberry grounder to short that Adam LaRoche couldn't pick. 7-3 in Philly. Michael Martinez's two-out single to left allowed Mayberry to score from second and make it 7-4, and Martinez took third on the throw home. 29-pitches into the sixth, Gio Gonzalez was lifted after 118 pitches overall. Ryan Mattheus came on and gave up an RBI single by Chase Utley in the next at bat which made it a 7-5 game. Two wild pitches moved Utley around to third, but he was stranded there. 7-5 Nats after six.
Wilson Ramos walked to start the Nats' seventh, but his pinch runner, Jeff Kobernus was forced out at second on a DP grounder off Anthony Rendon's bat. Corey Brown got a pinch hit appearance with two down, and hit a two-out solo home run into the second deck in right field for his first home run of the year in his first at bat in the majors this season. 8-5 Nationals. Drew Storen needed just nine pitches to retire the Phillies in order in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond hit back-to-back two-out singles in the top of the eighth. Adam LaRoche walked to load the bases, but Luis Garcia got a fly ball out from Jhonatan Solano to end the top of the inning. Tyler Clippard gave up a one-out solo home run by Cody Asche on a full-count fastball up in the zone inside. 8-6 Nats. But Clippard held the Phillies there and finished up a 21-pitch, 11-strike frame.
Denard Span singled with two down in the top of the ninth, leaving him 3 for 6 tonight and he took third on a two-out single to right by Ryan Zimmerman, before scoring when Bryce Harper struck out on a wild pitch/passed ball. 9-6 Nationals as Joe Savery struggled to finally get the third out.
"Pitch it, Soriano! Pitch it, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano! Strike him out, Soriano!" Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth looking for save no. 37 of 2013. Jimmy Rollins flew out to right! ONE! Cesar Hernandez singled to center with one down, bringing Freddy Galvis to the plate with a runner on. Soriano fell behind 3-0 and walked Galvis on four pitches. Kevin Frandsen grounded to short, however, to start an inning-ending 6-4-3. Ballgame.
Work's done. Untuck that jersey, son!
Nationals now 70-68