While Yusmeiro Petit was starting for the first time this Spring on the road against the New York Mets, Gio Gonzalez was in Viera, Florida's Space Coast Stadium facing the Atlanta Braves in split-squad action on Sunday.
In his previous four starts, Gonzalez, 30, gave up 12 hits, 12 walks and six runs, four earned, in 13 innings, over which the left-hander struck out seven and held opposing hitters to a .250 AVG.
Petit, 31, signed a 1-year/$3M deal with the Nationals this winter, giving Washington a versatile right-hander in the bullpen who's capable of starting if necessary as he did today.
Through five appearances this Spring before this afternoon, the veteran righty had allowed six hits, and three earned runs, while striking out eight in 8 ⅓ innings, over which he'd held opposing hitters to a .207 AVG.
Gonzalez got off to a good start, dropping a 2-2 curve in on Emilio Bonifacio to end an eight-pitch AB with a backwards K, but the lefty left a 3-2 fastball up in the zone to Gordon Beckham, who objected to a called strike on the 3-1 pitch up high that was called a strike, then crushed the full-count offering, hitting a solo home run to left on a line for a 1-0 lead at the end of a 19-pitch first for Gonzalez.
Daniel Murphy lined an 0-1 fastball from Braves' righty Jhoulys Chacin to right field for a line drive, one-out double in the Nationals' half of the first and Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman followed with back-to-back singles, with Harper's driving Murphy in and Zim's bringing Harper around for a 2-1 Nats' lead after one.
• NATS VS METS: Meanwhile, in Port St. Lucie, David Wright hit a fastball from Yusmeiro Petit out to right field for an opposite field blast and a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the Nationals and Mets' matchup.
After the Nationals handed him a 2-1 lead over the Braves, a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 second left Gonzalez at 29 pitches total after two.
• NATS VS METS: Yusmeiro Petit gave up another blast in the second, when Michael Conforto took a belt-high heater to right for a two-run home run that gave the Mets a 3-0 lead.
Gonzalez threw a 1-2 fastball low and away by Michael Bourn for a swinging K in the first at bat of the Braves' third.
A 3-2 pitch to the opposing pitcher got a pop out behind the mound and a groundout to short by Emilio Bonifacio ended a 13-pitch frame that left Gonzalez at 42 pitches.
Harper walked and Zimmerman and Werth hit back-to-back singles off Chacin to load the bases with no one out in the Nats' third. Wilson Ramos lined out to the mound and Stephen Drew K'd swinging, but a passed ball with Brendan Ryan up brought Harper in and Ryan's single scored Zimmerman and Werth, 5-1.
Gonzalez worked around back-to-back singles in the fourth, but gave up a run in the fifth on an RBI single by the opposing pitcher, 5-2 Nationals.
He was done for the day after a scoreless sixth inning, having given up seven hits and the two runs, both earned, while striking out four.
Sean Burnett, Matt Belisle and Jonathan Papelbon combined for three scoreless out of the pen and the Nationals added two runs on an RBI single by Zimmerman in the 6th. 7-2 final.
• Meanwhile, in Viera, the Nationals rallied from a 3-0 deficit, when Clint Robinson hit a solo home run in the fourth, and after a David Wright single gave the Mets a 4-1 lead, the Nationals rallied to tie it at 4-4 with Matt den Dekker driving in a run with a single in the seventh, Danny Espinosa scoring on a groundout in the eighth and Anthony Rendon scoring on an errant pickoff throw later that inning. That's how it ended in Port St. Lucie. 4-4 final.