After a stretch of eight starts from June 1st through July 10th in which the Washington Nationals were 5-3 and he was unbeaten at (4-0) while posting a 2.00 ERA in 54 IP over which opposing hitters had a .201/.265/.330 line against him, Gio Gonzalez endured a rough series of seven outings coming out of the All-Star Break in which the 27-year-old southpaw was (0-3) with the Nats 3-4 in spite of the fact that he allowed three runs or less in five of those seven starts for the defending NL East champs.
The second-year Nationals' left-hander had a 5.94 ERA over those seven turns in the rotation. Gonzalez's opponents had a .322/.395/.503 line against him in 36 1/3 IP between July 20th and August 23rd, but in his last two starts, he'd gone (2-0) with a 0.71 ERA over 12 2/3 IP in which he's held the opposing hitters to a .170/.264/.170 line.
Gonzalez was looking to make it three straight wins overall when he took on the New York Mets tonight in the first game of four in Flushing, Queens, NY's Citi Field tonight, where the Nats' 2012 21-game winner was (3-0) with a 2.03 ERA in five starts and 31 IP in his career heading into the matchup with NY's Carlos Torres.
As the Nationals' pregame notes mentioned, he had allowed two earned runs or less in nine of his previous 11 starts outside of the nation's capital, though he'd won just three of those games. In his 29th start of the season, Gonzalez had a 2-0 lead before the took the mound...
Denard Span had a 20-game hit streak going, over which he was 32 for 79 (.405 AVG) after he extended it with a leadoff home run to right field into the Mo Zone in Citi Field off Mets' right-hander Carlos Torres on a 2-2 cutter inside that didn't quite get there. Ryan Zimmerman followed with another solo home run, this one to left field as Zimmerman put one in the PartyCity.com deck to make it 2-0 Nationals early in the first game of four to be played in New York this week.
Gio Gonzalez gave up a walk in the first, but stranded that runner two outs later when he struck Lucas Duda out with a 1-2 bender to end a scoreless, 17-pitch bottom of the first. Carlos Torres had six straight outs after he set the Nationals down in order in the top of the second. Gonzalez was up to 33 pitches total after a 16-pitch, 1-2-3 second inning vs the Mets.
Denard Span was 2 for 2 tonight after singling to left with one down in the third. Ryan Zimmerman walked to put two on for Jayson Werth. Werth's 22nd home run of 2013 bounced off the PartyCity.com deck in left field for a three-run blast that made it 5-0 Nationals. Gio Gonzalez got three outs with six pitches in a 1-2-3 frame in the Mets' third. 39 pitches overall in three scoreless...
Tyler Moore hit a 1-0 fastball to straight center in Citi Field for a 415ft-ish blast that sent Juan Lagares sprinting back to the track. But Lagares stopped there and watched it sail out. HR. no. 4 for Moore. 6-0 Nationals after three and a half in New York. Gio Gonzalez struck the first two batters out in the Mets' fourth, throwing a 1-2 change by Daniel Murphy and a 1-2 fastball by Andrew Brown before popping Lucas Duda up to end a 12-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth inning at 51 pitches overall.
Greg Burke took over for New York in the fifth, retiring the first two batters he faced before walking Ian Desmond in front of Adam LaRoche, who battled the Mets' side-arm hurler for nine pitches before taking the second straight two-out free pass. Wilson Ramos stepped in next with two runners on and improved to 35 for 80 career (.438 AVG) vs NY with a three-run home run to left that made it 9-0 Nationals in the fifth in Citi Field. Gio Gonzalez had five scoreless on 62 pitches after a 11-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth that ended with Juan Lagares swinging over an 0-2 curve for the fourteenth straight out after Daniel Murphy's one-out walk in the first.
Denard Span was 3 for 4 tonight after he singled with one down in the Nationals' sixth, and he went first-to-third when Jayson Werth sent a bloop single to center that left Werth 2 for 4 at the end of a 12-pitch at bat against David Aardsma. Ian Desmond K'd swinging in the next at bat to end the top of the inning. Gio Gonzalez fell behind Mets' rookie Travis D'Arnaud 3-0 in the first at bat of the bottom of the sixth, but worked the count full and struck the young catcher out with a 92 mph fastball outside. Josh Satin flew to center for the sixteenth straight out. Eric Young K'd swinging through 1-2 bender to end an 11-pitch inning that had Gonzalez up to 73 pitches.
Adam LaRoche walked to start the seventh, but was erased by a double play. Tyler Moore walked with two down, but Anthony Rendon lined out to a diving Eric Young in left field. 9-0 Nats after six and a half. Mets' pinch hitter Zach Lutz hit a first-pitch fastball toward first base where Adam LaRoche made a diving attempt but came up empty on what was ruled a fair ball by first base ump John Hirshbeck. Gonzalez's no-hit bid ended there, but he retired the next three batters in a seven-pitch inning that had him up to just 80 after seven scoreless frames.
Ryan Zimmerman took a two-out walk from Tim Byrdak in the top of the eighth, but he was stranded there when Jayson Werth K'd swinging to end the inning. Gio Gonzalez started the bottom of the eighth at 80 pitches, and he was at 96 total when he retired the side in order to keep it 9-0 after eight.
Gonzalez Germen retired the Nationals in order in the top of the ninth. Gio Gonzalez took the mound looking for his first complete game of the 2013 and retired the first two batters on five pitches before issuing a two-out walk by Zach Lutz, who ruined his no-hit bid. One fly to left later, Gonzalez had a one-hit shutout and his fourth straight win. 110 pitches total after a 14-pitch 9th.
Nationals now 74-69