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Gio Gonzalez struggles with consistency, loses again in Nationals' 6-3 loss to Padres

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Washington Nationals' lefty Gio Gonzalez is struggling. After Sunday's loss to the San Diego Padres, Gonzalez is now (0-5) in his last six starts with a 7.60 ERA in 34 1/3 innings pitched over that stretch. Nats' skipper Dusty Baker said it's an issue of consistency.

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Gio Gonzalez was winless in five starts heading into Sunday afternoon's series finale in San Diego, with a 7.45 ERA, 10 walks and 40 Ks in 29 innings pitched, over which opposing hitters had a .297/.354/.500 line against him.

Gonzalez was (0-4) over that stretch, going back to his last win on May 18th, and he started the finale in Petco Park with a fairly brutal .411 BAA (23 for 56) with runners in scoring position on the year.

"It's about keeping the ball down, sinking it, popping in the four-seamer and just pitching. It seems like we can't stay out of 'that one inning'..." -Dusty Baker on Gio Gonzalez's struggles

That was up to .417 after Padres' third baseman Yangervis Solarte drove Wil Myers in from second with an RBI single in the first and Adam Rosales hit a 2-1 change to center in the fourth for a two-run double that made it 3-1 Padres.

Solo homers by Danny Espinosa and Michael A. Taylor (who homered on the first pitch of the game, then went yard again) in the fifth, tied things up at 3-3, but Gonzalez issued a leadoff walk to start the home half of the inning.

He then committed an error on a grounder back to the mound, putting runners on second and third before he gave up a sac fly and an RBI single that put the Padres back on top, 5-3 after five.

Gonzalez was out after just 5 ⅓ innings, leaving the mound with a runner on second and Wil Myers and Matt Kemp due up.

Gio Gonzalez's Line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 111 P, 65 S, 8/1 GO/FO.

"He had it, but he had it in spurts," Dusty Baker told reporters after the Nationals' 6-3 loss.

"We came back and tied it up and then we kind of gave it right back," he continued.

"It was consistency and he couldn't locate with two outs especially after they got some runners in scoring position," Baker said.

"I didn't see where those pitchers were, but they were about belt-high and you don't have to manipulate the bat to get on that same plane as the ball.

"So it's about keeping the ball down, sinking it, popping in the four-seamer and just pitching. It seems like we can't stay out of 'that one inning', so we just continue to work."

With the loss, Gonzalez fell to (0-5) in his last six starts, with a 7.60 ERA, 14 walks, 43 Ks and a .309/.380/.489 line against in 34 ⅓ innings pitched.

With runners in scoring position, opposing hitters now have a .419 AVG, six doubles, a triple and a home run against the left-hander.