Gio Gonzalez worked his way into and out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings in a relatively short, 101-pitch start for the Washington Nationals’ lefty, who finished the night at 179 2⁄3 innings for the season after five scoreless in Miami, FL in what ended up an 8-1 win. Why is that inning total significant?
Gonzalez’s outing left him a 1⁄3 of an inning short of guaranteeing the $12M option he has for 2018 (which will be automatically guaranteed at 180 IP). Quite a bargain for a lefty who started the night with the 4th lowest ERA in the majors (2.58), which was down to 2.50 at the end of the night.
Ryan Zimmerman started the scoring with an RBI single in the first, then the Nationals’ first baseball hit a 427-foot opposite field home run in the fourth, his 31st home run in 2017, two short of tying his previous season-high (33) set in 2009.
Washington was up 3-0 after four, 7-0 after six, and they added a run in the eighth on a solo home run to left by Michael A. Taylor, as the Nationals cruised to an 8-1 win and a series sweep in Marlins Park, and their eighth straight over Miami.
Nationals now 85-54
HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENED:
• Trea Turner lined a 1-1 fastball from Dillon Peters to center for a leadoff single in the top of the first, and moved up on an Anthony Rendon walk (73 BB, 75 Ks on the season), before scoring on an RBI single to left by Ryan Zimmerman. Rendon got hung between second and third on Zimmerman’s hit, but Zimmerman scored on a two-out double to left by Howie Kendrick in the next at bat, 2-0.
• Michael A. Taylor and Jose Lobaton hit back-to-back singles to start the Nats’ half of the second, but Taylor got caught stealing going for third, and one out later, Lobaton got picked off second by Marlins’ catcher J.T. Realmuto.
• Gio Gonzalez continued to dominate the Marlins, with three hitless innings in which he worked around a walk, retiring 9 of 10 batters.
• Ryan Zimmerman took a 3-0 fastball from Dillon Peters to right-center for a bomb of an opposite field blast and his 31st home run of the season, 3-0.
• Two walks around a single to right by Christian Yelich loaded the bases with no one out in the Marlins’ fourth as Gonzalez lost his command for a stretch, but J.T. Realmuto lined out to short for out No. 1, Tyler Moore missed a 1-2 change for a swinging K and out No. 2, and Brian Anderson K’d looking at a 3-2 fastball to end a 33-pitch frame that left the Nats’ lefty at 81 pitches after four.
• Ichiro Suzuki (single to center) and Dee Gordon (bunt single) reached base in back-to-back at bats with one down in the Marlins’ fifth. Giancarlo Stanton stepped in with two on and no one out, and sent a 2-0 change to short to start an inning-ending 6-4-3 DP.
• Dillon Peters’ Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 Ks, 1 HR, 77 P, 45 S, 3/1 GO/FO.
• Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 101 P, 55 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
The bullpen takes over for Gi00000 in the 6th.— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 7, 2017
5 IP // 3 H // 0 ER // 3 BB // 4 K pic.twitter.com/QmkP8EGlRb
• Singles by Anthony Rendon and Ryan Zimmerman and a hit-by-pitch on Howie Kendrick, as he was trying to bunt, loaded the bases with no one out and Vance Worley on the mound for the Marlins in the sixth. Jayson Werth sent a sac fly to deep left field to bring Rendon in, 4-0, and after an intentional walk to Michael A. Taylor, an unintentional walk to Jose Lobaton forced in a run, 5-0. Howie Kendrick scored on an RBI groundout by pinch hitter Adam Lind, 6-0.
• Joe Blanton took over for the Nationals in the bottom of the sixth and worked around a one-out error and single for a scoreless, 21-pitch frame.
• Shawn Kelley needed just ten pitches in a quick, 1-2-3 seventh.
• Enny Romero tossed a quick, 14-pitch, 1-2-3 eighth.
• Trea Turner doubled to start the ninth (No. 18) and scored one out later on an RBI single by Anthony Rendon, 8-0.
• Matt Grace gave up a run in the ninth. Ballgame. Final Score: 8-1 Nationals.
NATIONALS PREGAME NOTES:
- With one game remaining in the season series between the NL East rivals, Washington is 12-6 against Miami this season with a 115-122 record in the all-time series with the Marlins though the Nationals are 59-35 against the Fish since 2013.
- Washington has won seven straight over Miami heading into tonight’s series finale in Marlins Park.
- Washington’s 44-27 road record this season gives them the most road wins in the nL and the best road winning percentage (.620).
- Washington’s starters have put up a 2.40 ERA in their last 27 starts and 168 2⁄3 IP, going back to August 9th vs Miami, and their combined ERA over that stretch is the lowest in the majors.
- Nats’ starters went into the finale with the Marlins with the lowest opponents’ batting average in the majors (.229), lowest opponents’ slugging percentage (.383), second-lowest opponents’ OBP (.297), second-lowest ERA (.344), and third-highest strikeout total (864).
- Washington’s offense started the night leading the NL in SLG (.455), runs scored (718), and OPS (.789), and the Nationals were ranked second in AVG (.268), and extra-base hits (483).
- Gio Gonzalez has allowed just one earned run in his last two starts and 15 innings on the mound against the Marlins heading into tonight’s start.
Nationals now 85-54