Going into tonight’s start, Gio Gonzalez had a 1.15 ERA in his last five outings and 31 1⁄3 innings pitched against Miami, after throwing eight scoreless and hitless innings on the mound last week in Marlins Park.
Gonzalez took a no-hit bid into the bottom of the ninth inning in that start, before Dee Gordon singled to center to break it up and end the left-hander’s night.
“He was really focused and very calm and the best I’ve seen him,” Nats’ skipper Dusty Baker said after the 1-0 win.
“He threw a heck of a ballgame,” Baker continued.
“He had a great curveball, outstanding fastball, and boy, that one run usually doesn’t stand up against these guys, cause they can hit, and so that was a very special night.”
It was an emotional night too for Gonzalez, who was in Miami on what would have been good friend Jose Fernandez’s 25th birthday.
In-between starts, Gonzalez and his family welcomed their second child into the world, so Baker said he thought the lefty would have positive emotions this time out.
Gonzalez tossed three scoreless on 44 pitches to start the night against Miami before Ichiro Suzuki hit the third single of the fourth inning to center to drive in the first run off Gonzalez in 17 innings going back two starts to his outing against Milwaukee back on July 26th. It was 3-1 Nationals at that point.
Gonzalez needed just 15 pitches total to get through the fifth and sixth (just six in the sixth), and he had an 8-1 lead to work with by the time he took the mound in the top of the seventh and tossed a scoreless, 19-pitch frame that pushed him up to 103.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 Ks, 103 P, 69 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Washington went on to win 10-1, collecting 14 hits total in the second win in three games with Miami in this series. Baker said after the game that the offense, and the big night by Ryan Zimmerman overshadowed Gonzalez’s outing.
“Lost in the shuffle kind of was the job that Gio did,” Baker said. “He threw seven innings with one run, then our bullpen held on the rest, but we got some big hits tonight.”
With the win, Gonzalez improved to (10-5) in 23 starts, with a 2.59 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 58 walks (3.50 BB/9), and 138 Ks (8.32 K/9).
Marlins’ skipper Don Mattingly said it was more of what the Fish saw from Gonzalez in Miami.
“A lot more of the same. We were a little better, obviously we got more hits tonight and we put some guys out there.”
“I think he kept us off-balance, we threw a few more hits out there, but we really weren’t able to get to him.”
Baker was asked if, after an up-and-down season together in 2016, he’d come to expect good things from Gonzalez every time out this season.
“Life’s a roller coaster, and sometimes up, sometimes down, but when you’re on the up, you just expect good things,” Baker said.
“And what you think will happen most of the time will happen. And Gio, he has it going on. And so why expect a guy is going to do poorly when he’s done great. You just keep adding on to what you’ve done and those positive thoughts.”