Gio Gonzalez started the afternoon with two earned runs allowed in 16 1⁄3 innings this Spring, but the Washington Nationals’ left-hander had a rough day at the ballpark in West Palm Beach, giving up six hits, two walks and five earned runs in five innings of work in what ended up a 5-1 loss to the Houston Astros in The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
Gonzalez gave up his second home run of the Spring, walked more than one batter for the first time in six Grapefruit League starts, and saw his pitch count balloon quickly with 30 and 20-pitch innings in each of his last two frames.
Here’s how it happened:
• Trea Turner took a 3-1 pitch from Astros’ starter Joe Musgrove to left for a leadoff double (No. 2) in the first at bat of the Nationals’ first. He took third on a fly to right off Daniel Murphy’s bat and scored on a sac fly to center by Bryce Harper, 1-0.
• Adam Eaton connected for the second straight leadoff double in the home-half of the second, his first two-base hit of the Spring, but he was stranded three outs later as Musgrove struck out the side.
• Jake Marisnick jumped on a first-pitch fastball up in the zone from Gonzalez and hit a towering home run to left field to tie things up at 1-1 in the third.
• Turner committed his fourth error of the Spring trying to backhand a grounder headed for the hole off Jose Altuve’s bat in the first AB of the fourth.
[ed. note - “Turner not ruled an error, apparently, so Gio was charged with an earned run.”]
Turner tried to make a quick play and had it bang off his glove. Altuve scored one out later when Yulieski Gurriel lined a fastball inside to left for an RBI double. 2-1 ‘Stros.
• Josh Reddick shot a 2-1 fastball into short left for a two-out RBI single that scored Gurriel, 3-1 Astros.
• Gonzalez then left an 0-2 curve up for Marwin Gonzalez, who hit a two-run blast into the left field bullpen, 5-1 Astros. 30-pitch fourth for Gio.
• Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single and a two-out walk in the fifth, but stranded both runners at the end of the 20-pitch frame. It was the first outing of the Spring in which he walked more than one batter. 91 pitches total after five.
• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 2 HRs, 91 P, 58 S, 10/0 GO/FO.
• Matt Albers worked around a one-out walk in a scoreless 16-pitch sixth and came back out for the seventh and completed another scoreless frame.
• Joe Nathan worked around leadoff and two-out singles, getting a double play to erase the first and stranding the second in a 14-pitch frame.
• Joe Blanton blew Jake Marisnick away with a 1-2 fastball, got a weak fly to center from George Spring with a 1-2 heater up high, and struck Alex Bregman out with a 1-2 fastball outside that was called strike three. 13-pitch frame.
Final Score: 5-1 Astros.