Gio Gonzalez somehow managed to limit the Arizona Diamondbacks to one run on three hits in five innings, in spite of the fact that he walked seven batters in what could politely be called an “effectively wild” outing.
Once Gonzalez was done for the night, having throwing 105 pitches, and collected eight Ks in five innings, Jacob Turner took over on the mound for the Washington Nationals and tossed four scoreless on 54 pitches, 36 of them strikes.
Turner limited the fourteen D-Backs’ hitters he faced to two hits, one a two-out double in the ninth after he’d retired 11-straight following a leadoff single in the sixth.
Ryan Zimmerman put the Nationals ahead with an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth, and Turner locked it down with an impressive performance in Nationals Park.
“It was very impressive,” Dusty Baker told reporters after the win.
“[Turner] kept throwing strikes and then when he got behind he threw another strike.
“They didn’t hit the ball very hard off of him, except for that last double. They got a good lineup over there. He was dealing.”
“We had to make a decision -- do we go to a short bullpen and if we go extra innings they had us outmanned pitching-wise,” Baker explained, when asked about sticking with Turner for four innings of work.
“So we had to make a decision, do we stick with Turner and it was a lot easier decision since we were home and we had the last at bat.
“Had we been on the road it might have been something different, but boy, that was an outstanding job by him.”
Was it part of the game plan going in to rely on Turner, with some relievers apparently sick and unavailable, and the bullpen struggling some in the first month-plus?
“That was in the realm of possibility,” Baker said.
“We didn’t know he was going to go four innings, you know. We had a couple guys that were kind of going to be out of [their] role depending on how the game went in the bullpen, and not only did he have an outstanding performance, but he saved our bullpen and hopefully Max [Scherzer] can take us deep in the game tomorrow and then we’ll be strong going on the road.”
Turner’s outing also impacted the Nationals’ plans for the near future. He was one of the options to start this weekend in what would have been Joe Ross’s spot before he was optioned to Triple-A this week.
So how did his four inning outing impact plans for this weekend in Philadelphia?
“That impacts it a lot,” Baker said, “so we’ll probably go with [A.J.] Cole.”