Gio Gonzalez snapped a five-start winless streak in his win over San Francisco last week in AT&T Park.
Gonzalez was (0-1) with Washington 1-4 in his outings over that stretch, over which the 31-year-old Nationals’ left-hander had a 4.40 ERA, 21 walks (6.60 BB/9), 28 Ks (8.79 K/9), and a .252/.379/.495 line against in 28 2⁄3 innings.
His lone start in the division series took place in Dodger Stadium, where Gonzalez gave up four hits, a walk, and three earned runs in 4 1⁄3 innings in an 8-3 win in Game 3.
Gonzalez wasn’t particularly sharp early Monday night in Chavez Ravine, but he did toss four scoreless on 68 pitches as the Nationals jumped out to a 3-0 lead, working around two hits and a walk.
A 14-pitch, 1-2-3 fifth left Gonzalez at 82 pitches overall, with 11-straight Dodgers set down after a one-out walk to Yasiel Puig in the second, but he issued his second walk of the game to Logan Forsythe in the first at bat of the LA sixth, and a single by Corey Seager put runners on the corners with no one out.
Chris Taylor took a 1-2 fastball to left in the next at bat, lining an RBI double into the corner to bring Forsythe in and make it a 4-1 game.
Franklin Gutierrez brought in a run with a groundout, 4-2, but Gonzalez limited the damage and finished a 25-pitch sixth at 107 pitches overall.
• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 107 P, 63 S, 8/1 GO/FO.
Enny Romero tossed two scoreless in relief, striking out four, and Matt Albers and Oliver Perez combined for a scoreless ninth as the Nationals took the series opener.
“That’s one of those wins you have to appreciate a little bit more,” Gonzalez said, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes.
“That’s a tough team to beat, especially in their ballpark.”
Gonzalez improved to (3-1) in four career starts in Dodger Stadium, over which he has a 2.42 ERA.
Dusty Baker, who told reporters he thought Gonzalez would “rise to the occasion” in the series opener, was happy with the lefty’s outing and the work the Nationals’ pen did in the win.
“Gio gave us a chance to use our bullpen,” Baker said. “He threw an outstanding game, just trying to get him through the sixth, and then Enny came on and did a great job. They had all those dangerous lefties on the bench and we were trying to keep them on the bench, wasn’t completely successful, but we kept [Adrian] Gonzalez on the bench, the dangerous Gonzalez, and then Albers came on, go two quick outs and then Perez, Ollie came in and got [Yasmani] Grandal. We had to try to turn him around on his weaker side. The guys did a great job and it’s about time we held on to one of those wins for Gio.”
With the win, Gonzalez is (5-1) in 12 starts this season, with a 3.03 ERA, 4.59 FIP, 37 walks (4.48 BB/9) and 65 Ks (7.87 K/9) in 74 1⁄3 innings, over which opposing hitters have a combined .236/.332/.391 line.
“We got enough offense to win it tonight,” Baker added. “And so we’ve got two more games to go and then we get to go home.”