Gio Gonzalez ended the month of July with a loss to the San Francisco Giants in AT&T Park in which he gave up six hits, two walks and two runs, one earned, in six innings.
Gonzalez went 2-2 in five July outings, putting up a 2.70 ERA, a 4.53 FIP, nine walks (3.90 BB/9) and 18 Ks (5.40 K/9) in 30 innings on the mound, over which opposing hitters had a .225/.306/.391 line against him.
Washington Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters he liked what he’d seen from Gonzalez over his last few outings, following a nine-start winless streak that stretched from mid-May to late June.
“He’s throwing strikes, No. 1,” Baker said, when asked what was different.
“He’s not walking people. He’s getting out of some jams when he gets in them.”
Gonzalez worked his way into and out of trouble when he faced the Giants in AT&T, with both runs that scored when he was on the mound coming in on errors on two grounders that should have ended innings.
Tonight in Nationals Park, Gonzalez cruised through seven strong innings, making one mistake on the night on a 2-2 fastball to Angel Pagan in the fifth, and giving up a solo HR for the only run he allowed in what ended up a 5-1 win.
Here’s how it happened:
Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy hit back-to-back-to-back singles in the home-half of the first with Murphy driving Werth in before Wilson Ramos hit a sac fly to right to score Harper, 2-0.
Trea Turner doubled on a pop fly to right field that fell in front of a charging Hunter Pence, took third on a fly to right by Werth and scored on a sac fly to right by Harper to make it 3-0 Nationals after three.
Angel Pagan broke up Gonzalez’s nascent no-hit bid with a solo short to left on a 2-2 fastball in the fourth. 3-1 Nats. Pagan’s 8th.
Turner (2 for 3, 2B, HR) took a 1-1 fastball for a ride in the fifth, lining one out to put the Nationals up 4-1 with his second home run of the season.
Ramos fouled off a 3-0 pitch in the sixth, but got all of a 3-1 slider, sending his 17th home run of the season out to center to make it a 5-1 game in the Nationals’ favor.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 1 HR, 104 P, 67 S, 5/3 GO/FO.
• Jeff Samardzija’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 107 P, 67 S, 3/4 GO/FO.
Sammy Solis took over on the mound for the Nats in the eighth and threw a scoreless frame on 15 pitches, stranding two runners who reached base.
Mark Melancon came on in the ninth and retired the Giants in order. Ballgame. 5-1 final.
Nationals now 65-44
- After Washington and San Francisco split their four-game set in AT&T Park last week, the Nationals held a 38-37 advantage in the all-time series between the two teams
- In today’s Nationals-themed “Fun with Arbitrary End Points” segment, the Nats have won 18 of 30 games with the Giants... since 2012, and they’re 21-14 against the NL West powerhouse in D.C. since 2005 (15-11 vs SFG in Nationals Park).
- The Giants are struggling out of the game in the second half: Heading into this weekend’s three-game set in D.C., they’d won just 5 of 18 in the so-called second-half of the season
- Offensively, so far in the second half, the Giants are 153 for 630 as a team (.243 AVG), with 3.6 runs per game over the last 18 games, the second-fewest runs scored in the majors over that stretch.
- The Giants have had issues with runners in scoring position too, going 10 for 70 (.143 AVG) in their last seven games, and they have just a .163 AVG w/ RISP since July 1st.
- Despite the rough start in the second-half, the Giants (62-46) came to D.C. with the third-best record in the NL, behind the Nationals (64-44) and Cubs (66-41).
- Nationals’ second baseman Daniel Murphy hit his 21st home run of the season in Wednesday’s series finale in Arizona, going 2 for 4 in the game to pick up his 44th multi-hit game of the season.
- Murphy started the three-game set with the Giants this weekend leading the NL in AVG (.358), SLG (.630), hits (138), doubles (32), extra-base hits (58) and multi-hit games.
- Wilson Ramos has already matched his career-high in home runs (16), and he has hits in 16 of his last 20, with multi-hit games in 6 of his last 12 games.
- Ramos started this weekend’s series leading all major league catchers in OBP (.381), SLG (.536) and RBIs (59).
- Jayson Werth went 3 for 5 on Tuesday night in Arizona, extending his on-base streak to 35-straight games, over which he’s collected 32 hits and 26 walks with a .387 OBP over that stretch.
Nationals now 65-44