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Washington Nationals 2-0 over Kansas City Royals in series opener in Kauffman Stadium

Gio Gonzalez threw a lot of pitches early, but hung around for 102 pitches in six scoreless innings in Kauffman Stadium as the Washington Nationals took the series opener with the Kansas City Royals, 2-0. It was the fourth straight win for the Nationals.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals extended their current winning streak to four straight games with a 2-0 win in the series opener in Kansas City.

Gio Gonzalez, who pitched well enough to win last time out, but was frustrated by the Nationals' lack of offense in one of their three losses to the Philadelphia Phillies in D.C., took the mound in Kauffman Stadium with a 2-0 lead courtesy of an RBI double and run-scoring groundout by Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy, respectively, off Royals' starter Edinson Volquez in the top of the first.

[ed. note - "Daniel Murphy lined one to center in the sixth that Lorenzo Cain misplayed into a hit, gifting the Nationals' second baseman his 1,000th career hit and giving him another multi-hit game, his 12th in the first 24 games in D.C."]

Gonzalez threw a lot of pitches early, working deliberately when runners reached base, but he was able to complete six scoreless on 102 pitches, stranding two runners after back-to-back, one-out singles in a 19-pitch frame in his last inning of work in the sixth.

Gio Gonzalez's Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 102 P, 61 S, 6/7 GO/FO.

Sammy Solis took the mound for the Nationals with a 2-0 lead in the seventh and retired the Royals in order in an eight-pitch frame.

Volquez limited the Nationals to just the two runs in 7 ⅔ of work, but left the mound down 2-0 after throwing 114 pitches, striking out seven and giving up seven hits and one walk.

Shawn Kelley gave up a leadoff double by Alcides Escobar on the first pitch of the Royals' eighth, but got Lorenzo Cain looking with a 1-2 fastball low and away for out No. 1 of the frame. Oliver Perez came on to face Eric Hosmer, lefty vs lefty, and got him on a check-swing strike three with an 0-2 fastball. Kendrys Morales went down looking too. Big time.

Jonathan Papelbon took the mound in the bottom of the ninth after the Nationals stranded three runners in the top of the frame, looking for save No. 9 of 2016, and retired the Royals in order. Ballgame. 2-0 final.

Nationals now 18-7


  • This week's visit to Kauffman Stadium is just the second in Nationals' team history (2005-present). Kansas City and the Washington Senators met 36 times between 1969-1971, with the Royals winning 22 of the 36 games.
  • Washington has taken both Interleague series with the Royals, taking two of three from Kansas City in 2013 in Kauffman Stadium and two of three in D.C. in 2010.
  • Daniel Murphy has reached base in 20 of his first 23 games with the Nationals, with 11 multi-hit efforts in his first 23 games. Murphy collected career hit No. 1,000 on a fly in the sixth that Lorenzo Cain misplayed into a hit. It also gave him 12 multi-hit games in his first 24 games this season.
  • The Nationals' pitching staff's combined 2.30 ERA is the major league's lowest early this season. After six scoreless by Gio Gonzalez tonight, the Nats' starters had a 0.92 ERA (4 ER allowed) in 39 ⅓ IP over that stretch.
  • The Royals' win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday stopped a five-game losing streak.
  • Dusty Baker decided to use Stephen Drew as the Nationals' DH tonight in Interleague play, citing the infielder's 4 for 11 history against Royals' starter Edinson Volquez. Drew went 0 for 3 with 2 Ks vs Volquez.
  • When Kansas City scored in the second inning of Sunday's game against Seattle, they snapped a streak of 27 scoreless innings. The hit, by Omar Infante, also snapped an 0 for 23 streak with runners in scoring position.
  • In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: The Nationals' pitching staff has a major league-best 94 strikeouts since April 23rd.
  • In their last turn through the rotation, the Nationals' starters went (3-1) with a 1.08 ERA.
  • The Nationals start the series with the Royals with the lowest error total in the NL (8) and they're tied with the Royals for the lowest error total league-wide.
  • The Nats, according Baseball Prospectus, ranked second in the majors in Defensive Efficiency (.733) before the start of play today. BP's Defensive Efficiency measures the "rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs.

Nationals now 18-7