Gio Gonzalez will have his revenge Top 5:
5. Quick Recap: Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez started tonight's game with four scoreless innings, giving him 13 scoreless overall going back to the last two innings of his August 16th start against the Pittsburgh Pirates and through seven scoreless against the Arizona D-Backs last time out, but the Philadelphia Phillies ended that streak in the fifth inning. Grady Sizemore tripled to center on an 0-2 curve that didn't get down where Gonzalez wanted it and an 0-1 fastball to Freddy Galvis ended up ten rows deep in the left field seats, making it 2-0 Phillies in the fifth in Citizens Bank Park.
Darin Ruf crushed a 93 mph 2-2 fastball in the bottom of the sixth, sending a two-out blast out to center field for a 3-0 lead over Gonzalez and the Nationals. Ruf's third of 2014.
The Nationals loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, with Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond singling and Scott Hairston drawing a walk. Wilson Ramos and Kevin Frandsen followed with RBI singles to right off Cole Hamels that made it a 3-2 game after six and a half in CBP.
Cole Hamels came back out for the eighth inning, but didn't last long. Asdrubal Cabrera connected for his first hit in four at bats and it was a big one. Cabrera took Hamels deep to center for a game-tying blast that tied it up at 3-3 and ended Hamels' night.
The Phillies took the lead right back, however, with Ben Revere reaching on a throwing error by Ian Desmond, stealing second, moving to third on a fly to right by Jimmy Rollins and scoring on a sac fly by Carlos Ruiz. 4-3.
That's how it ended...
4. Gio vs Philadelphia: Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez was coming off strong outing against the Cincinnati Reds in which he gave up just one earned run on four hits in seven innings on the road in Great American Ball Park the last time he faced the Philadelphia Phillies.
His start against the Phillies in Nationals Park didn't go as well.
Gonzalez went just 3 ⅔ innings that night, throwing 77 pitches, 30 of them in the fourth when he was lifted after having given up five of the eight hits he surrendered overall, a walk and five earned runs.
Nats' skipper Matt Williams wasn't sure how to explain the up-and-down nature of Gonzalez's starts when he spoke to reporters after that game.
"I don't know," Williams said. "He threw strikes, but he got behind a little bit. They took some good swings on him. Hit the fastball tonight. Just didn't have it. Not as good as the last time out."
A frustrated Gonzalez, as he's wont to do, was talking to himself on the mound as he tried to get himself through the rough final inning of work.
"He just does that," Williams explained. "He talks to himself out there sometimes when his mechanics aren't right. But he's fine. There's no issue with his shoulder or anything like that. He's just off."
"I felt good," Gonzalez said after the start."Just some ground balls didn't go my way. They found the holes. I got the pitch I wanted. I got the result I wanted. But they just found their way through. Base hits. The fourth inning just got me."
It's been this way for a while now for Gonzalez, who hasn't won a start since July 5th, though he's had some solid turns in the rotation.
In eight starts since his last win, Gonzalez is (0-5) with the Nationals 3-5 in his outings, over which he's put up a 4.36 ERA with a .269/.348/.359 line against. His previous start before tonight's was one of the good ones.
Gonzalez threw seven scoreless at home against the D-Backs in what ended up a 1-0 win in which he received no decision.
Tonight he was facing the Phillies again, for the third time this season and the eleventh time in his major league career.
In the previous ten outings, Gonzalez went (5-4) with a 3.06 ERA, 21 walks (3.06 BB/9) and 65 Ks (9.49 K/9) in 61 ⅔ IP over which Phillies' hitters have put up a combined .227/.296/.345 line against him.
Tonight's outing in Citizens Bank Park began with a groundout to short...
1st: Ben Revere grounded out to short to start the second game of three for the Nats in CBP. Jimmy Rollins drew a one-out walk from the Nationals' left-hander. Carlos Ruiz grounded back to the mound for out no.2 and Marlon Byrd sent the third groundout of the inning to Desmond at short, ending a 13-pitch frame.
2nd: Darin Ruf ripped a grounder by a diving Anthony Rendon at third for a leadoff single to left. Grady Sizemore shot a single back up the middle to put two runners on. Freddy Galvis popped up a bunt attempt, which Rendon let drop before throwing to second for the force. With runners on the corners and one down, Andres Blanco grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3. 12-pitch frame, 25 total after two.
3rd: Cole Hamels lined out to left to start the Phillies' third. Ben Revere grounded out to second. Scott Hairston was backed up to the wall, but he caught out no.3 off Jimmy Rollins' bat. Nine-pitch frame, 34 total.
4th: Ian Desmond made a diving play and strong throw to take an infield single away from Carlos Ruiz. Marlon Byrd K'd swinging at a 1-2 fastball up high. Desmond threw to first on a grounder from Darin Ruf, and Gonzalez was through four scoreless on 44 pitches after a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 fourth.
5th: Grady Sizemore bounced a leadoff triple off the right-center wall on an 0-2 curve outside that didn't quite get there. Sizemore hit the "Natural" Turkey Hill Ice Cream sign and slid in safely at third. Freddy Galvis got hold of a 93 mph 0-1 fastball in the next at bat and put it 10 rows back in the seats in left for a two-run home run and a 2-0 lead. Andres Blanco K'd swinging for the first out of the frame. Cole Hamels sent a fly ball to center for out no.2. Ben Revere singled to keep the inning going, but Jimmy Rollins grounded out to third to end a 22-pitch frame that left Gonzalez at 66 pitches.
6th: Carlos Ruiz lined out to third to start the Phillies' sixth. Marlon Byrd K'd swinging over an 0-2 bender. Darin Ruf got hold of a 2-2 fastball and put it out to center, over the 374 ft sign on the outfield wall. Grady Sizemore K'd looking at a 2-2 fastball to end a 21-pitch inning which left Gonzalez at 87 pitches.
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 2 HRs, 87 P, 62 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
Drew Storen enters the game for Gio Gonzalez. Final line for Gio: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, BB, 4 SO, 2 HR. He threw 87 pitches, 62 strikes. #Nats— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 27, 2014
3. Hamels vs the Nationals: Cole Hamels, 30, shut the Washington Nationals down the last time he faced them in what was his second start of the year against Philadelphia's NL East rivals.
In seven innings on the mound in the nation's capital, the Phillies' '02 1st Round pick gave up just four hits, a walk and one unearned run in what ended up a 4-0 loss.
The first time Hamels faced the Nats this season, at home in Philadelphia, he received no decision in a 5-3 Phillies' loss in which he allowed four hits, three walks and three earned runs.
The two outings earlier this summer left the nine-year veteran (15-7) in 30 career starts against the Nats, over which he's put up a 2.54 ERA with 51 walks (2.31 BB/9) and 201 Ks (9.11 K/9) in 198 ⅔ IP over which Nationals hitters have put up a combined .217/.273/.336 line against him.
At home in Citizens Bank Park this season, Hamels was (3-2) in 11 starts before tonight, with an ERA (3.42 in 72 ⅔ IP) that was significantly higher than it's been on the road in 2014 (1.74 in 82 ⅔), a 3.62 FIP, which was higher than his road FIP of 2.46, and a .237/.307/.376 line against, as opposed to his .227/.290/.323 line away from Philadelphia so far this season.
Hamels retired the first two batters he faced tonight before Anthony Rendon reached safely on a chopper toward third on which first base ump Gary Cederstrom ruled Darin Ruf came off the bag as he reached to meet Andres Blanco's throw...
Philly skipper Ryne Sandberg challenged the original call though, and it was reversed. Nine-pitch, 1-2-3 first for Hamels.
Scott Hairston lined a two-out single to center off Hamels for the Nationals' first hit of the game, but Wilson Ramos grounded out to short in the next at bat to end a 12-pitch frame which left Hamels at 21 pitches overall.
Kevin Frandsen singled to start the Nationals' third, sending a grounder through the left side. Frandsen took second on a wild pitch, but Gio Gonzalez K'd swinging after failing to get a bunt down. Denard Span lined to center for out no.2, and Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out to first to end the inning. Nine-pitch frame, 30 total after three.
Jayson Werth reached on an infield single with one down in the top of the fourth, but he was forced out at second on an Ian Desmond grounder and Desmond was picked off by Hamels and tagged out at second to end a 13-pitch frame which left the Phillies' starter at 43 pitches.
Scott Hairston, Wilson Ramos and Kevin Frandsen went down in order in a seven-pitch fifth that left Hamels at 50 pitches overall.
A nine-pitch, 1-2-3 sixth left Hamels at 59 pitches overall after six scoreless with seven straight outs.
Anthony Rendon singled to start the Nats' seventh and moved up on a groundout by Jayson Werth. Ian Desmond singled of a grounder to third that Andres Blanco managed to knock down. Hairston walked to load the bases for Wilson Ramos, whose line drive to right brought Rendon in, 3-1 Phillies. Kevin Frandsen followed with another line drive to right and it was 3-2 all of a sudden. Danny Espinosa scorched a first-pitch fastball, but lined out to short for out no.2. Denard Span's grounder to first ended a 22-pitch frame that left Hamels at 81 pitches.
Hamels came back out for the eighth, and gave up a game-tying home run to center by Asdrubal Cabrera. 3-3 game after Cabrera's 12th of 2014. That was it for Hamels...
• Cole Hamels' Line: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 84 P, 58 S, 10/2 GO/FO.
2. Hamels vs Hairston: Bryce Harper has decent numbers against Phillies' lefty Cole Hamels in a small sample size (8 for 25, .320/.393/.360, with a double), but Matt Williams has put Scott Hairston in left field in each of the last three games in which they've faced Hamels because Hairston's got what are often referred to as "video game numbers" against the southpaw in their respective careers.
In 47 plate appearances against Hamels before tonight, Hairston was 17 for 44 (.386/.426/.841) with five doubles, five home runs, two walks and 11 Ks.
Hairston's 48th plate appearances against Hamels came with two out and the bases empty in the second. Hairston improved to 18 for 45 (.400 AVG) with a line drive double to center.
Hairston K'd chasing a high 0-2 fastball in his second at bat, 18 for 46 (.391 AVG), 12 Ks.
The third at bat of the game for Hairston vs Hamels came with two on and one out in the seventh after a leadoff single by Anthony Rendon and a one-out hit by Ian Desmond. Hairston walked to load the bases, 18 for 46, three walks.
1. The Wrap-Up: Drew Storen took over for Gio Gonzalez in the seventh. Freddie Galvis singled to start the frame, but he was doubled up on a grounder to short by Andres Blanco that started a 6-4-3 DP. A groundout by Hamels gave Storen a scoreless seven-pitch inning.
After the Nationals tied it up at 3-3 on Asdrubal Cabrera's home run off Hamels, Ken Giles took over on the mound for the Phillies and struck out the side on 13 pitches.
Tyler Clippard came on in the bottom of the eighth. Ben Revere reached safely on a grounder to short on which Ian Desmond's high throw pulled Kevin Frandsen off the bag. Revere was called out at first, but ruled safe upon review. Revere stole second, and Jimmy Rollins sent a fly to right that was deep enough for Revere to move up to third. A sac fly to center by Carlos Ruiz gave the Phillies the lead back, 4-3.
Jonathan Papelbon came on to close it out. Bryce Harper K'd looking at a 1-2 fastball. Wilson Ramos sent a fly ball to left for out no.2. Adam LaRoche sent out no.3 to left to end it.
Nationals now 75-56