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Gio Gonzalez struggles with command in Nationals’ 4-1 loss to Phillies: “He was just missing tonight.”

Gio Gonzalez threw 109 pitches in five innings, just 55 for strikes, walking five batters in what ended up a 4-1 loss to the Phillies.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

In his last start before facing the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night, Gio Gonzalez bounced back from a five-inning outing against the Braves in Atlanta in which he gave up seven hits and five earned runs in five innings with a seven inning start against Washington’s NL East rivals in which the Nationals’ left-hander held the Braves’ hitters to two runs of three hits, two of them home runs.

Gonzalez earned his 15th win of the season in that second start against the Braves, a 7-3 win, striking out eight batters on 104 pitches before he was done for the night.

“This time, we were attacking the strike zone, we were being more aggressive with the fastball in certain counts, then using the off-speed and curveball when I needed it,” he told reporters, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes after that game.

“And as far as that, Matt [Wieters], I give all the credit to him,” Gonzalez said.

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

“Gio stuck around long enough to get the victory,” Dusty Baker said. “He threw a pretty good game other than those two solo homers.”

Tonight in Citizens Bank Park, Gonzalez was making his third start of the season against the Phillies, after allowing three earned runs in 14 innings (1.93 ERA) in the first two.

Gonzalez worked around a two-out double in the bottom of the first, and worked his way out of a bases-loaded, two-out jam in the second, but he walked the first two batters in the Phillies’ half of the third and a one-out single to left by Tommy Joseph drove in the first batter who walked, and tied things up at 1-1.

Cameron Rupp followed with a two-run double to center that drove in the second walk on a fly ball Michael A. Taylor misjudged and couldn’t catch up to, 3-1 Phillies.

Gonzalez worked around a two-out single in the fourth, and another leadoff walk in the Phillies’ fifth in what ended up a 25-pitch inning that ended his outing.

• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 7 Ks, 109 P, 55 S, 2/2 GO/FO.

“He had a lot of near misses,” Baker told reporters after what ended up a 4-1 loss to the Phillies.

Gonzalez threw just 12 of 30 curves for strikes (40%), though he did get 10 swings and five swinging strikes with the curveball, and he threw 16 of 36 two-seamers for strikes, (44%), and 10 of 22 changeups (45.5%).

“There were some pitches ... it is what it is,” Gonzalez said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr.

“I should’ve done a better job of attacking the strike zone. If I was more in the strike zone, I think it would’ve been a different outcome.”

“His breaking ball was backing up and backing up out of the zone, and then usually his fastball inside he can command it for strikes but he was just missing tonight.”