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Nationals 6-2 over Marlins: Gio Gonzalez solid in front of hometown "crowd"

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Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez gave up two runs in seven innings of work and avoided walking anyone for just the second start this season as the Nats' offense provided plenty of support in a 6-2 win over the Miami Marlins.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Hialeah's Favorite Son Top 5:

5. Quick Recap: The Miami Marlins took an early lead over Gio Gonzalez and the visiting Washington Nationals in the series opener in Marlins Park when first baseman Jeff Baker singled to left and scored on a double to center field by Reed Johnson in the second. The Nats tied it up in the fourth, however, when Anthony Rendon singled to left off Marlins' starter Brad Hand for the first hit off the left-hander and scored from second on an RBI double to center by Wilson Ramos, 1-1.

The Nationals took a 2-1 lead when Ian Desmond singled to right to bring Ramos around and Desmond went first-to-third when Bryce Harper singled to right for the fourth hit of the inning. An RBI single to right by Asdrubal Cabrera brought Desmond in, 3-1, and Harper took third on Cabrera's hit before both scored on an RBI single to right by Kevin Frandsen on which the Marlins committed an error on the throw in to the infield, 5-1 Nationals after three and a half in Miami.

Anthony Rendon singled with one down in the fifth and scored on a double to deep center field by Jayson Werth, 6-1. Werth's 36th double of the year was his fifth of the month of September in 48 at bats.

Marlins' left fielder Christian Yelich doubled to left to start the bottom of the sixth, connecting for his 28th two-base hit, and he stole his 21st base of the year one out later, before scoring on a two-out infield single by Jeff Baker that made it 6-2 Nats.

That's as close as the Marlins would get. 6-2 Nats final.

4. Hialeah's Own: Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez gave up six hits, a walk and four runs, three earned last time out on the mound against the New York Mets in Citi Field, taking the loss in a one-run game with the Nats' NL East rivals. The loss left the 28-year-old southpaw (2-5) in 11 starts, with a 4.11 ERA, a 3.09 FIP and a .252/.315/.363 line in 61 ⅓ IP so far in the second-half of his third season in the nation's capital.

Gonzalez was lifted from his outing against the Mets with two down in the seventh, and he wasn't happy about it. After he placed the ball in his manager's hand a little aggressively, Nats' skipper Matt Williams and the starter what looked like a heated conversation in the first base dugout in NY.

"He knows how it feels to want to compete and give him the bat when he goes up to bat. Just like a starting pitcher, he wants the ball." -Gio Gonzalez on Matt Williams understanding his reaction to being pulled in NY

Williams was fine with Gonzalez's passion, but wanted to explain his thinking as he told reporters after the game.

"He competes and wants to do well and we want him to do well too," Williams said. "But I've got to make a decision there and of course he wants to stay in and finish that inning and I can't blame him for that."

"He's been a player too," Gonzalez said. "He knows how it feels to want to compete and give him the bat when he goes up to bat. Just like a starting pitcher, he wants the ball. Each one of these guys wants to pitch. We tried our best to defuse it."

Tonight, Gonzalez was back on the mound in Miami, Florida, eleven miles away from where the pitcher grew up in nearby, Hialeah, FL. It was his second outing of the season against the Marlins after he threw six scoreless back on April 8th in his second start of the year.

That was Gonzalez's seventh career game vs the Marlins, against whom he was (5-2) with a 1.53 ERA, 12 walks and 49 Ks in 47 IP over which he's held Fish hitters to a .185/.241/.235 line against.

In 13 starts on the road this season before tonight's Gonzalez was (4-7) with a 3.73 ERA, a 3.78 FIP and a .223/.305/.403 line on the mound outside of the the nation's capital.

Gonzalez's fourteenth start of the 2014 campaign began with a weak grounder back to the mound.

1st: Christian Yelich sent an 0-1 two-seamer back to the mound. Donovan Solano took an 0-2 fastball for a called strike three. Marcell Ozuna's groundout to short ended a quick, seven-pitch, 1-2-3 first.

2nd: Jeff Baker lined a 2-0 fastball to left for a leadoff single in the second. Reed Johnson's RBI double to center in the next at bat brought Baker around as the Marlins took a 1-0 lead. Adeiny Hechavarria started up 3-0, but ended up striking out swinging at a 3-2 fastball. Jarrod Saltalamacchia sent a fly ball to Denard Span in center for out no.2. Enrique Hernandez's fly to center ended a 17-pitch frame. 24 pitches total after two.

3rd: Brad Hand sent a weak roller to second for the first out of the third. Christian Yelich sent a tapper back to the mound for out no.2. Donovan Cabrera's groundout to second ended a quick, seven-pitch third that left Gonzalez at 31 pitches.

4th: Marcell Ozuna grounded out to first. Jeff Baker sent a fly to short-center that Denard Span somehow got to, making a diving catch for out no.2. Reed Johnson's swinging K ended a 13-pitch, 1-2-3 frame, after which Gonzalez was up to 44 pitches.

5th: Adeiny Hechavarria popped out to second for the first out of the Marlins' fifth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia sent a blooper to short right that fell in for a hit. The Marlins' catcher was forced out at second on a grounder to second by Enrique Hernandez. Pinch hitter Ed Lucas' fly to right ended an 11-pitch fifth by Gio Gonzalez, who was up to 55 pitches total after five.

6th: Christian Yelich sent a fly ball over Bryce Harper's head in left for a leadoff double in the Marlins' sixth. Donovan Solano battled for ten pitches before lining out to right for out no.1. With Marcell Ozuna up, Yelich stole third, but the center fielder went down swinging at a 1-2 change. Jeff Baker stepped in with a runner on third and two out and sent an chopper to the mound that bounced off Gio Gonzalez's glove. 6-2 Nats when Yelich scored on the infield single. Reed Johnson's fly to center ended a 25-pitch frame. 80 overall for Gonzalez after six.

7th: Adeiny Hechavarria sent a fly ball to Denard Span in center for the first out of the seventh. Fish catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia K'd swinging at a 1-2 change. Enrique Hernandez stepped in with two down and battled for eight pitches before doubling on a line drive to left. Pinch hitter Casey McGehee came on with a runner in scoring position and sent a fly ball to Jayson Werth in right to end a 16-pitch seventh that left Gonzalez at 96 pitches overall.

Gio Gonzalez's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 Ks, 96 P, 66 S, 7/3 GO/FO.

3. The Hand: Marlins' lefty Brad Hand, 24, gave up five hits, two walks and three earned runs last time out against the Washington Nationals, in a 4-3 loss in the nation's capital back on July 30th.

That start left the left-hander (0-2) in three outings against the NL East champs this season, over which he's put up a 7.43 ERA and a .304/.361/.571 line against.

In his four major league seasons, the '08 2nd Round pick out of Chaska High School in Chaska, Minnesota was left (0-4) in eight games and six starts vs the Nationals in which he put up a 7.48 ERA with 19 walks and 22 Ks in 27 ⅔ IP over which Nats' hitters have put up a combined .288/.389/.523 line against him.

In 11 second-half outings, nine of them starts, Hand was (3-5) with a 3.77 ERA, 4.33 FIP and a .226/.281/.361 line against in 59 ⅔ IP before taking the mound tonight in Marlins Park, where he was (2-3) in 14 games and six starts this season, with a 4.17 ERA, a 4.09 FIP and a .253/.308/.409 line against in 49 ⅔ IP.

Hand's seventh start of the season at home in Miami began with a scoreless 12-pitch, 1-2-3 first. Another 1-2-3 frame in the second took just seven pitches to complete, leaving him at 19 overall after two. Hand was up to nine straight batters set down after he got Gio Gonzalez looking to end a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 third. 29 pitches.

Denard Span was the 10th straight batter set down by Brad Hand to start the game, but Anthony Rendon singled to left for the Nationals' first hit in the next at bat. Jayson Werth went down swinging at a 1-2 bender to make it 11 of 12 set down by the Marlins' starter and Hand picked Rendon off first with Wilson Ramos up, but the Nats' third baseman took second as Jeff Baker bounced a throw by the bag and Rendon scored on an RBI double to center by Ramos. 1-1. Ramos scored on an RBI single to right by Ian Desmond, 2-1, and Desmond went first-to-third™ on a single to right by Bryce Harper. Asdrubal Cabrera dumped a soft fly into short right to bring Desmond in, 3-1 and send Harper around to third. Kevin Frandsen's line drive to right in the next at bat brought Harper in and Cabrera scored too when Adeiny Hechavarria failed to field in the throw in from right field by Reed Johnson. 5-1 after three and a half. 29-pitch frame, 58 overall after four innings pitched.

Rendon singled with one down in the top of the fifth and scored from first on an RBI double to deep center field by Jayson Werth in the next at bat. 6-1 Nationals after four and a half. 18-pitch frame, 76 total for Hand after five.

Brad Hand's Line: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 4 Ks, 76 P, 55 S, 7/1 GO/FO.

2. Nats vs Fish: With 10 games left on the regular season schedule in 2014, and seven of them against the Marlins, the Washington Nationals entered this weekend's series in Miami, Florida with a 6-5 advantage over their divisional rivals, having taken three of five in D.C. with a split of the first six of ten in Marlins Park.

Last season, the Nationals took 14 of 19 games between the two teams. In 2012, the two teams split the 18 games between them.

With a win tonight, the nationals improved to 7-5 overall on the year against the Marlins.

1. The Wrap-Up: Marlins' right-hander Anthony DeSclafani gave up a leadoff single by Bryce Harper in the top of the sixth and a one-out single by Kevin Frandsen. Gio Gonzalez bunted both runners over/gave up an out with Denard Span due up, but Span grounded out to short to strand both runners.

DeSclafani threw an 11-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh to keep it at a four-run lead.

Dan Jennings took the mound in the eighth and gave up a one-out double to left by Bryce Harper, who sent a 1-0 fastball the other way for his ninth two-base hit of the season. With two down, Carter Capps came on to face Kevin Frandsen, who K'd swinging at an 0-2 slider to end the inning.

Craig Stammen threw a quick, 14-pitch, 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth.

Capps threw a scoreless top of the ninth to keep it 6-2.

Rafael Soriano came out for the ninth... Jordany Valdespin sent a sharp grounder up the middle that Ian Desmond handled. Reed Johnson K'd swinging at a high fastball. Adeiny Hechavarria's groundout to short ended it. Ballgame. 6-2 Nationals final.

Nationals now 88-64