Jayson Werth continued his hot streak, Anthony Rendon came through with a big hit, the bullpen provided four innings of shutout relief and the Washington Nationals knocked off the Cleveland Indians 7-4 before 30,185 at Nationals Park on Wednesday.
Outfielder Bryce Harper was out of the starting lineup for the third day in a row due to a stiff neck.
Werth’s one-out, first-inning double extended his MLB-season-best on-base streak to 40 games, three short of Ryan Zimmerman’s team record set in 2009. Werth moved to third on a Daniel Murphy ground out and then scored on Wilson Ramos’ single. Ramos extended his current hitting streak to seven games with the knock.
Anthony Rendon followed with a double and the Buffalo rumbled to third, but rookie Brian Goodwin swung through a breaking ball from Josh Tomlin to end the threat.
The Indians got the run right back in the second. With two down, Brandon Guyer singled to right, then scored on Abraham Almonte’s double. Almonte then stole third, but Chris Gimenez grounded to third to limit the damage.
The Nats put two on with no outs in the bottom half though, via Danny Espinosa’s bunt single and Ben Revere’s pop-up down the left field line that fell in. Gonzalez failed to get a sacrifice bunt down and Trea Turner’s long drive to center died on the track, moving Espinosa up to third.
Werth saved the Nats from another disappointing LOB situation, pounding a mistake fastball from Tomlin into the visitor’s bullpen in left for a three-run job, his 15th homer of the season and a 4-1 lead after three.
But Cleveland erased the lead in the top of the third.
With one out, Rajai Davis singled and went to second on a ground out. Francisco Lindor then punished a Gonzalez offering for a two-run shot, his 14th of the campaign. Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez followed with back-to-back doubles and the game was tied again. Ramirez stole third, but Guyer bounced to Gonzalez to end the rally.
The Nationals went back in front in the fifth. Turner led off the frame with a double, and Werth walked behind him. Murphy then snapped an 0-for-16 streak with a booming double to right than Almonte then misplayed off the wall and Turner scored easily.
Indians manager Terry Francona, who missed Tuesday’s game due to not feeling well, went to the bullpen for Dan Otero. Wilson Ramos grounded weakly to short, but with the infield in, Rendon laced an 0-2 pitch down the left-field line for a two-run double and a 7-4 lead.
But Gonzalez gave up a leadoff walk and single in the sixth, and manager Dusty Baker had seen enough, calling upon Matt Belisle. With the shadows creeping across the infield, Belisle induced a 6-4-3 double play from Lonnie Chisenhall and Almonte grounded to second as the Nats escaped the jam unscathed.
Gonzalez’ mediocre day was done. In five-plus innings, he allowed four earned runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out five.
The Indians put two on with two outs in the seventh against Blake Treinen and Oliver Perez, but Shawn Kelley retired Lindor on a lazy fly ball to left to end the inning.
Kelley had an uneventful eighth inning while Mark Melancon had a 1-2-3 ninth to close it out.
WP: Gonzalez (8-9) LP: Tomlin (11-5) SV: Melancon (32) HR: Werth (15), Lindor (14) E: None.
NEXT GAME: Friday at 7:05 against the Braves at Nationals Park. Stephen Strasburg (15-2, 2.80) faces TBD.
- The Nats closed out their series with the Indians on Wednesday, finishing their fourth series in the last five against a fellow first-place club.
- Jayson Werth was 1 for 3 with a walk and a solo home run on Tuesday, making it his 39th consecutive game reaching base. At 39, Werth owns the longest active on-base streak in the Major Leagues, as well as the longest on-base streak in MLB this season.
- Werth’s current run is the second-longest on-base streak in Nationals history (2005-present), behind only Ryan Zimmerman (43 games, Apr. 8-May 25, 2009).
- During this stretch, Werth has collected 34 hits (11 2B, 4 HR), 29 walks and has posted a .377 on-base percentage.
- By the time Max Scherzer climbed the mound for the seventh inning on Tuesday, he found himself in an all-too-familiar position: with his opponent hitless. Scherzer’s bid for a third career no-no was ultimately broken up in that seventh inning, but it marked the eighth time in his 57 career starts in a Nationals uniform that Scherzer has carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning -- that’s 14 percent of all starts he’s made since signing with the Nats in Jan., 2015 -- and the most in MLB the last two seasons.
- A strikeout of Indians catcher Roberto Perez in the third inning was Scherzer’s 200th strikeout of the season. The MLB leader in strikeouts with 208, Scherzer became the first pitcher in the big leagues to strike out 200 batters this season. This is Scherzer’s fifth consecutive season with 200-plus strikeouts, making him one of four active pitchers with a streak at least that long.
- Tuesday’s game was also Scherzer’s 10th of the season in which he recorded 10 or more strikeouts. With 11 10-plus strikeout games in 2015, Scherzer is the only active pitcher with at least 10 games of 10-plus strikeouts in back-to-back seasons.