5. Gio in NY: The first four Chicago Cubs' hitters who stepped in against lefty Gio Gonzalez, in his last outing before today's in New York, reached base: Single; walk; single; walk = run scored. Washington's 29-year-old left-hander got a double play grounder out of the fifth batter of the game, but another run came in on the 6-4-3 DP, and the Nationals were down 2-0 before the top of the first inning was over.
Gonzalez limited the Cubs to two hits and two walks over five scoreless before he was lifted from what ended up a 2-1 loss in which the Nats' offense came up with just one run against veteran righty Jake Arrieta.
"The two walks in the first inning gave him trouble," Matt Williams said after the outing, "and then he settled into the strike zone. He was able to get through six."
The loss left the left-hander (4-3) on the year after eleven starts, with a 4.57 ERA, a 3.04 FIP, 25 walks (3.46 BB/9) and 62 Ks (8.58 K/9) in 65 IP so far in 2015, over which opposing hitters have a .291/.357/.422 line against him.
This afternoon in Yankee Stadium, Gonzalez was facing the New York Yankees for the second time this season, after the Bronx Bombers tagged him for six runs on six hits in five innings of work back on May 19th in the nation's capital in an 8-6 comeback win for the Nationals in which he received no decision.
That outing started with three scoreless and hitless on just 30 pitches from Gonzalez, but the Yankees scored four in a 40-pitch fourth in which he walked two and gave up four hits, and added two more in the fifth before Gonzalez was lifted.
"Just lost command," Williams said. "The first three [innings] were really good. Lots of grounders. Working quickly. Good tempo, down in the zone and then in the fourth inning he just got up."
In his second start of the season against New York, Gonzalez was facing the Yankees in the Bronx, and trying to help the Nationals avoid their fourth straight loss.
Gonzalez got off to a good start with a scoreless, 12-pitch first that ended with Alex Rodriguez swinging over a 2-2 bender.
Carlos Beltran took a two-out walk in the Yankees' second, but Gonzalez struck Chris Young out to end an 18-pitch second that left him at 30 total after two.
Brendan Ryan took a 2-1 fastball through short for a one-out single in the bottom of the third, but he was stranded on the basepaths two outs later. 15-pitch frame for Gonzalez, 45 total after three scoreless.
Mark Teixeira walked with one down in the fourth, taking the second walk of the game from Gonzalez, but he was still standing on first base when Carlos Beltran sent a fly to right for out no.3 of a 17-pitch fourth that left the Nats' lefty at 62 pitches.
Given a 2-0 lead to work with, Gonzalez issued his third walk of the day to Jose Pirela with one down in the bottom of the fifth, then hit Brendan Ryan in the foot with an 0-2 curve, but Brett Gardner grounded into a force at second in the next at bat, for out no.2, and Chase Headley grounded out to third to end a 16-pitch frame. 78 total.
Mark Teixeira singled to left on a first-pitch fastball with one down in the Yankees' sixth and took second on a passed ball with Brian McCann up, but McCann K'd swinging at a 2-2 heater up high, and Carlos Beltran sent a swinging bunt back to the mound to end a 15-pitch inning. 93 total.
Chris Young's leadoff single to left in the bottom of the seventh, on a 2-0 fastball, got some arms up and warming in the Nationals' bullpen. Bryce Harper made a sliding catch on a line drive to right by Jose Pirela for the first out of the inning, but Brendan Ryan hit an RBI triple to center on a 1-2 curve to bring Young in and end Gonzalez's day. 2-1 Nats...
• Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 103 P, 61 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
The line on Gio Gonzalez today: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K -- 103 pitches, 61 strikes. pic.twitter.com/T3WFh2vU19— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) June 10, 2015
4. Facing Eovaldi: Nathan Eovaldi, 25, spoke confidently about facing the Washington Nationals before his May 19th start against the Nats in the nation's capital, explaining that he felt his familiarity with the lineup would help him.
"'I faced them enough to know how to get them out,'" Eovaldi told reporters, including Newsday's Erik Boland.
The hard-throwing right-hander, a former LA Dodger and Miami Marlin before he was traded to New York, was (2-4) with a 4.76 ERA, 11 walks (3.03 BB/9) and 30 Ks (7.36 K/9) in 39 ⅔ IP against the Nationals overall, before that start, with a .284/.337/.394 line against.
The Nationals scored five runs on seven hits against Eovaldi that night, knocking him out after 4 ⅓ innings in which he gave up seven hits, two of them home runs and two walks in what ended up an 8-6 loss in which he received no decision.
Eovaldi entered his second start of the year against the Nationals and his twelfth start of 2015, with a (5-1) record, a 4.16 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 18 walks (2.59 BB/9) and 46 Ks (6.61 K/9) in 62 ⅔ innings pitched, over which opposing hitters had a .314/.361/.439 line against him.
He was trying to continue an impressive stretch of outings by the Yankees' starting staff, which saw them allow two runs or less in eight straight starts over which they were (6-1) with a 2.31 ERA in 50 ⅔ IP.
Beautiful day for baseball in the Bronx. pic.twitter.com/sxt18LlT16— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 10, 2015
Eovaldi's afternoon started with a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the first. An eight-pitch, 1-2-3 second left him at seventeen total after two scoreless.
Danny Espinosa lined a double to left field with two down in the third for the first hit off Eovaldi, and Denard Span hit a 1-1 splitter through the left side in the next at bat for the second straight two-base hit and a 1-0 lead. 13-pitch frame, 30 total after three.
Bryce Harper, after fouling a pitch off his foot, walked with one down in the top of the fourth, but he was stranded on the basepaths two outs later. 17-pitch frame for Eovaldi, 47 total after four.
With two down in the fifth, Eovaldi started Danny Espinosa off with a curve and watched it sail out to right field and over the fence for a solo home run that made it 2-0 Nationals. Denard Span singled to left in the next AB. Anthony Rendon worked the count full in his two-out at bat, and sent a grounder to right to put two on in front of Yunel Escobar, who popped out to the infield to end a 24-pitch frame that pushed Eovaldi up to 71 pitches.
Bryce Harper lined a 97 mph 0-2 fastball to center for a leadoff single in the sixth, and took second on a groundout to third by Ian Desmond, but he was stranded there two outs later. 11-pitch frame, 82 total.
Danny Espinosa was 3 for 3 and a triple away from the cycle after he singled with one out in the seventh, but he was stranded on the basepaths. 11-pitch frame, 93 total.
After the Yankees took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Eovaldi came back out for the eighth, but a leadoff single to right by Yunel Escobar ended his outing...
• Nathan Eovaldi's Line: 7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 66 S, 9/3 GO/FO.
3. Zimmerman sits: Matt Williams gave Nationals' infielder Ryan Zimmerman the day off on Sunday, and thus two days off with no game on Monday. Zimmerman returned to the lineup last night and went 0 for 4 with a strikeout, leaving him 1 for 25 over the last seven games and just 4 for 39 with 10 Ks in his last ten.
On the year, the 30-year-old third-turned-first baseman finished the first of two with the Yankees in New York with a .209/.265/.346 line 56 games and 234 plate appearances into his eleventh major league season, with 12 doubles and five home runs on the year.
When he spoke about his struggles recently, Zimmerman refused to blame the plantar fasciitis he's been dealing with this season for his troubles at the plate, telling reporters, including the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes that each player in the clubhouse is dealing with something.
Matt Williams talked at length about Ryan Zimmerman's plantar fasciitis this morning. http://t.co/sdYHIFMftS— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) June 10, 2015
Williams was asked after last night's game if it was just a funk or something more?
"We can't see anything more than that," Williams said. "He's working hard every day. We gave him a couple days in a row off. The foot has been an issue all season, but he also has been playing all season and had good stretches too. So he's a veteran guy, he understands what he needs to do to get out of it, he doesn't panic nor are we. We need him to play and he'll be very productive for us at the end of the day."
Tyler Moore filled in at first for Zimmerman today, and went 1 for 5, singling in the eleventh and scoring the winning run.
2. Turning Point(s): Denard Span sat out after he was penciled into the lineup for last night's game when he had back spasms as he tried to get loose, but he returned to the lineup this afternoon and came through for the Nationals early, doubling to left field with two down in the third to drive Danny Espinosa in after the Nats' infielder's own two-base hit off Yankees' starter Nathan Eovaldi to make it 1-0 early in New York.
• Espinosa came through again in the fifth, flat jacking a first-pitch curve from Eovaldi for a solo home run that cleared the right field fence. HR no.8 for Espinosa. 2-0 Nationals.
• Gio Gonzalez completed six scoreless frames on 93 pitches, but a leadoff single and one-out RBI triple in the seventh ended his outing. Chris Young singled to left on a 2-0 fastball to start the inning, and one hard-hit out later, Brendan Ryan hit a 1-2 curve to center and over Denard Span's head. 2-1 game. Felipe Rivero gave up an RBI double to right by Brett Gardner in the next at bat, 2-2 game.
Aaron Barrett came on to face A-Rod with the go-ahead run at second and gave up a two-out, RBI double to center that put the Yankees ahead, 3-2.
• It was 4-2 when Michael Taylor took a 1-2 fastball from Yankees' lefty Jacob Lindgren to right for an opposite field blast that tied things up at 4-4.
1. The Wrap-Up: Nationals' left-hander Felipe Rivero took over for Gio Gonzalez with the tying run on third and one out in the Yankees' seventh. Brett Gardner went down for a low 2-2 fastball and ripped it to right, by first, for an RBI double that tied things up at 2-2. Chase Headley lined out to left for out no.2. Aaron Barrett came on to face A-Rod, who lined an RBI double to center, over Span's head, to make it 3-2 Yankees. Mark Teixeira took a slider on the knee and took his base and Brian McCann hit a grounder up the middle that bounced off the second base bag and over Ian Desmond. 4-2 Yankees.
Jacob Lindgren took over for Nathan Eovaldi in the eighth, after a leadoff single by Yunel Escobar. Bryce Harper sent a fly to right for out no.1 (in his first professional at bat vs a pitcher younger than him). Ian Desmond grounded into a force at second... but Michael Taylor took a high 1-2 fastball outside to right for a two-run, game-tying home run. 4-4 in NY.
Casey Janssen threw a quick, eight-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth to keep it tied at 4-4.
Jose Lobaton took a walk from Justin Wilson in the first at bat of the ninth. Danny Espinosa squared to bunt, but fouled one off, then swung away and missed to go down 0-2. Espinosa grounded into a force at second. Denard Span did the same, but stole second with Anthony Rendon at the plate. Rendon walked to put two on for Yunel Escobar, who lined out to first.
Blake Treinen came out for the bottom of the ninth inning and retired the side in order in a 14-pitch frame.
Chris Capuano took over for the Yankees in the top of the tenth and threw a scoreless, 14-pitch frame.
Treinen gave up a leadoff single to left by Mark Teixeira in the first at bat of the bottom of the tenth inning, and Didi Gregorius came on to run with Brian McCann up, but the Yankees' catcher K'd swinging for out no.1 and Carlos Beltran went down swinging with Gregorius on the move for a strike'em out, throw'em out double play.
Tyler Moore singled to start the top of the eleventh and took second on a sac bunt by Jose Lobaton and third on a groundout by Danny Espinosa, and scored on an infield single by Denard Span. 5-4.
Drew Storen came on looking for save no.19 of 2015 and retired the Yankees in order. Ballgame.
Nationals now 31-28