Over his last ten starts heading into this afternoon's first-half finale with the New York Mets, Gio Gonzalez was (2-7) with a 6.95 ERA, 23 walks, 66 Ks and a .302/.379/.491 line against in 55 ⅔ innings pitched.
One of Gonzalez's two wins over that stretch, however, came in an outing in Flushing, Queens, NY's Citi Field, where the left-hander took the mound today (7-1) in his career with a 1.53 ERA and a .167/.247/.242 line against in 12 starts and 76 ⅔ innings pitched.
Though he wasn't particularly sharp, walking more batters (4) than he struck out (3), Gonzalez allowed just four hits and two runs (both on solo shots by Jose Reyes) and he left in line for the win, which he eventually earned, as he improved to (8-1) career in the Mets' home.
Gonzalez took the mound with a 2-0 lead courtesy of Daniel Murphy, who hit a 3-2 curve from Mets' starter Steven Matz out to right for a one-out, two-run home run in the top of the first that put the Nationals ahead early.
With the blast, Murphy improved to 22 for 49 (.449 AVG) with three doubles, seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 13 games against his former team this season.
Jose Reyes cut the Nationals' lead in half one batter into the bottom of the first when the Mets' leadoff man hit a 2-1 fastball out to left field and into the Party City dot com deck for a solo blast that made it a 2-1 game after one.
Wilson Ramos stepped in with runners on first and third in the Nationals' half of the third inning and hit an RBI single to right-center that put the Nationals up, 3-1, but Bryce Harper was a wee-bit over-aggressive on the play and got tagged out after a big turn around third.
Reyes got Gonzalez again in the third, taking a 1-1 change for a ride to left field for a second solo blast that made it a one-run game, 3-2.
A two-out single by Juan Lagares on Gonzalez's 108th pitch of the game ended his outing.
Tanner Roark came on in relief for the first time this season and got a groundout to end the bottom of the sixth.
Gio Gonzalez's Line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 2 HRs, 108 P, 62 S, 6/6 GO/FO.
Steven Matz's Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 Ks, 1 HR, 100 P, 61 S, 6/6 GO/FO.
Roark came back out for the bottom of the seventh inning and retired the Mets in order as rain began to fall in Citi Field.
The rain passed quickly, and the right-hander came back out for another scoreless inning of work in the eighth.
Addison Reed got the last out of the eighth and retired the side in the ninth to keep it close, but Nats' closer Jonathan Papelbon came on in the bottom of the ninth and earned his 19th save. Ballgame. 3-2 Nationals.
Nationals now 54-36
- New York's Mets were 47-42 at the All-Star break last season, 2.0 games back in the divison. Heading into play today, the NL East's second-place team was 47-40, 5.0 games back in the division.
- Last night's loss left the Mets 7-3 on the current 11-game homestand and 9-3 in their last 12 games in Citi Field and 26-19 overall at home this season.
- Last night's win for the Nationals gave them the most first-half curly-Ws by any team in franchise history (2005-present).
- Another win today would tie the mark for the all-time franchise history with the Montreal Expos, who won 54 in the first half of the 1994 campaign.
- When the Mets failed to hit one out last night they had an 11-game home run streak end in Citi Field and a 10-game home run streak overall come to an end.
- Mets' starter Steven Matz started the day tied for second among major league rookies with seven wins and third among rookies with 85 strikeouts on the season.
- At home in Citi Field, Matz was 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA in eight starts this season and (5-2) with a 3.00 ERA in 10 starts in NY in his career.
- Mets' pitchers, as a group, headed into the final game of the so-called "first half" with a 3.39 ERA, the third-best ERA in the majors and 79 home runs allowed, the second-fewest in the majors.
- In today's Mets-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Mets' pitchers have induced 22 doubled plays in 100 opportunities (20%)... in the last 30 days, the best percentage in the majors over that stretch.
- In today's Nationals-themed "Fun with Arbitrary End Points" segment: Nationals' hitters rank 1st in OBP (.339) and SLG (.461), second in runs scored (193), home runs (54) and walks (129)... since June 1st.
Nationals now 54-36