Series Finale in Citizens Bank Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Jimmy Rollins tripled on a 3-1 fastball from Gio Gonzalez with one down in the bottom of the first inning this afternoon in the series finale of the three-game set in Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies took an early 1-0 lead when Chase Utley drove Rollins in with a single to center, putting the Washington Nationals behind 1-0 after one... on what was the 32nd first inning run the Nationals have allowed through 31 games this season.
Roberto Hernandez threw six scoreless innings on 88 pitches. Gio Gonzalez retired 11 of 12 batters after Ben Revere's one-out triple in the third, issuing only a walk between the third and the end of the sixth inning.
When Hernandez was done with a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh, he'd retired 14 of 15 batters after Jayson Werth reached on an error with one out in the third. Gio Gonzalez was up to 100 pitches total with 14 of 15 set down too after he retired the Phillies in order in the bottom of the inning.
4. Gio vs Philly: Gio Gonzalez took the mound this afternoon in Citizens Bank Park with a (4-1) career mark in six starts in the Philadelphia Phillies' home park, where he owned a 2.39 ERA, with 15 walks (3.58 BB/9) and 44 Ks (10.51 K/9) in 37 2/3 IP before today, over which he'd held Phillies' hitters to a combined .197/.286/.292 line.
Gonzalez was coming off a six-inning outing against the Astros during the Nationals' quick trip to Houston in which he gave up five hits, two walks and three runs while striking out nine. That was the first start for the 28-year-old left-hander after he experienced tightness in his shoulder on a cold night in the nation's capital in his outing against the Los Angeles Angels. Nats' skipper Matt Williams, who lifted Gonzalez early against LA, was happy with the way the left-hander looked on the mound in Minute Maid Park.
"He looked fine," Williams said. "He made one bad pitch to [George] Springer, hung him a changeup, but other than that he pitched really well. So sent him out for 110 and he looked fine. Velocity stayed up and he found his curveball in the seventh and eighth and so that's good. I think he's fine."
Go get em Gio! pic.twitter.com/EYiZ8NjXFf— Andrew Walker (@awalker138) May 4, 2014
Gonzalez entered this afternoon's series finale with a (5-2) record in eight career starts against the Nationals' NL East rivals from Philadelphia, with a 2.66 ERA, 18 walks (3.20 BB/9) and 56 Ks (9.95 K/9) in 50 2/3 IP against Phillies, over which he'd held their hitters to a combined .214/.288/.332 line.
1st: An 0-2 bender to Ben Revere got a weak grounder to second for the first out of the Phillies' first. Jimmy Rollins took a 3-1 fastball for a ride in the next at bat and turned on the jets, speeding around to third base safely while the ball bounced off the W.B. Mason sign in left-center field. Chase Utley singled to center on an 0-1 curve to bring Rollins in and make it 1-0, but got doubled up on a pop to short right where Anthony Rendon made a catch before throwing it in to first to end a 14-pitch inning by Gonzalez.
2nd: Ryan Howard grounded weakly to first to start the Phillies' second. Carlos Ruiz battled for seven pitches, but went down swinging at a full-count change off the plate outside. John Mayberry, Jr. took a two-out walk when Gonzalez suddenly lost command of his fastball. Jayson Nix stepped in with a runner on, but went down swinging at a 1-2 curve to end a 21-pitch second by Gonzalez, who was up to 35 pitches after two.
3rd: Gio Gonzalez got a groundout to second from the opposing pitcher to start the Phillies' third, leaving Roberto Hernandez 0 for 28 career at the plate. Ben Revere took a 1-1 change to right through first base for the second triple of the game off Gonzalez, but the Nats' lefty threw a 94 mph 2-2 fastball by Jimmy Rollins for out no.2 of the Phillies' half of the inning. Chase Utley's pop out to foul territory behind third stranded Revere. 17-pitch inning, 52 total after three.
4th: Marlon Byrd tested Kevin Frandsen's backhand with a two-hop grounder to third, but Frandsen's throw beat the Phillies' right-hander to first. Ryan Howard went down swinging at a 2-2 curve and Carlos Ruiz grounded out to short to end a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 frame. 62 total after four.
5th: John Mayberry, Jr. grounded out to third to start the Phillies' fifth. Jayson Nix fell behind 0-2 quickly, but worked the count full and walked. Roberto Hernandez bunted Nix over/gave up an out, however, and Ben Revere's groundout to third ended a 17-pitch frame after which Gio Gonzalez was up to 79 pitches overall.
6th: Jimmy Rollins popped out to short left field where Nate McLouth made an awkward sliding catch for the first out of the Phillies' sixth. Denard Span made a long run across center field to track down a fly to the right-center gap off Chase Utley's bat. Marlon Byrd K'd swinging through a 94 mph 0-2 fastball to end the bottom of the sixth after 10 pitches with Gonzalez at 89 overall after six. 11 of 12 set down.
7th: Gio Gonzalez got Ryan Howard to chase a 2-2 curve out of the zone away. 6 Ks. Carlos Ruiz flew out to right for out no.2. John Mayberry, Jr. K'd swinging through a 94 1-2 fastball. 11-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh. 100 pitches total after seven in CBP. 14 of 15 set down.
8th: Gio Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single by Jayson Nix in the Phillies' eighth. After a sac bunt by Tony Gwynn, Jr., Gonzalez was lifted in favor of Jerry Blevins. Ben Revere
• Gio Gonzalez's line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks, 103 P, 66 S, 9/2 GO/FO.
3. Noffense: Roberto Hernandez, also once known as Fausto Carmona, needed 70 pitches to complete four scoreless innings against the Nationals this afternoon. The Nationals put runners on through the first four inning, but Kevin Frandsen was thrown out trying to take third on a one-out single by Jayson Werth in the first and Anthony Rendon grounded into a force, stranding two at the end of the opening frame.
Ian Desmond reached on an infleld single in the second, but was stranded at third three outs later. The Nationals put two on with one out in the third, but stranded both runners and the Nats were 0 for 5 with RISP after five innings with six runners left on base in a 1-0 game.
Hernandez was up to 88 pitches after he retired the Nationals in order in the sixth and 98 after a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh.
Denard Span singled to start the eighth and moved into scoring position on a sac bunt by Kevin Frandsen. Phillies' skipper Ryne Sandberg went to the pen, bringing Mike Adams on to face Jayson Werth. Werth hit a chopper to first that moved Span over to third, and the Phillies went to the pen again for left-hander Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo walked Adam LaRoche to bring Anthony Rendon up, but Rendon went down looking at a low strike three home plate umpire Sean Barber was calling all day. 1-0 Phillies.
• Roberto Hernandez's line: 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 104 P, 61 S, 11/4 GO/FO.
2. Untuckable: Rafael Soriano earned his sixth save of the season in the series opener in Philadelphia in spite of fact that he put the leadoff runner on in the Phillies' ninth. The scoreless frame was the 34-year-old right-hander's 11th this season and his 23rd overall going back to the end of 2013 and an August 23rd outing in Kansas City in which he gave up a run on two hits and earned the save. Since Soriano's last blown save on last August 17th in Atlanta, he's 18 for 18 in save opportunities.
"He just keeps going," Matt Williams told reporters after Friday night's game. "He just keeps throwing it in there. He's not afraid."
On the year, in his 13th MLB season, Soriano is (1-0) with the six saves, a 0.00 ERA, obviously, a 2.32 FIP, five walks (4.09 BB/9) and 12 Ks (9.82 K/9) in 11 IP.
Soriano wasn't needed this afternoon... [ed. note - "This is what you get for trying to set up narratives before the game..."]
1. The Wrap-Up: The Nationals were 0 for 5 w/ RISP when they put Denard Span on second with one down in the eighth and 0 for 6 when Jayson Werth grounded out to first in an at bat against right-handed reliever Mike Adams. Adam LaRoche walked in his at bat against Antonio Bastardo, but Anthony Rendon K'd looking against the lefty to leave the Nationals 0 for 7 w/ RISP after seven and a half innings.
Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon came out for the top of the ninth and got a fly to right from Ian Desmond for out no.1. Pinch hitter Danny Espinosa popped out to first. Sandy Leon singled to right with two down. Zach Walters... went down swinging. Ballgame.
Nationals now 17-14