BALTIMORE, MD: Gio Gonzalez extended his personal unbeaten streak to five straight starts with a win over the San Diego Padres last week in Washington.
Gonzalez went seven strong on 111 pitches in that outing, allowing two runs on two hits, and improved to (3-0) with a 1.80 ERA, 14 walks, 31 strikeouts, and a .194/.282/.315 line against in his last five starts and 30 IP.
This afternoon, in Baltimore, MD’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Nationals’ left-hander took on the Orioles for the eleventh time in his career, after going (1-6) in the previous 10, with a 4.40 ERA, 29 walks, 48 Ks, and a .277/.360/.390 line against in 59 1⁄3 IP, 38 of which were in OPACY, where he took the mound today with a 3.79 ERA and a .275/.343/.403 line against.
Gonzalez started his outing with three scoreless on 48 pitches as the Nationals jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
He worked around back-to-back, two-out walks in the Orioles’ second, with a backwards K from O’s catcher Andrew Susac leaving opposing hitters 6 for 51 (.188 BAA) with runners in scoring position against Gonzalez this season.
Bryce Harper pulled a potential home run off the top of the wall in right in the fifth, and the Orioles had two shots with runners in scoring position in the sixth, after a one-out double by Adam Jones, but Jones was stranded at second at the end of a 16-pitch frame (6 for 53, .113 AVG w/ RISP).
Gonzalez was up to 86 pitches after six scoreless frames, and 95 pitches through seven once he’d worked around a leadoff single in a nine-pitch inning.
He came back out for the eighth and retired two batters, but a two-out single on his 114th pitch ended Gonzalez’s outing.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks, 114 P, 67 S, 10/3 GO/FO.
Gonzalez earned the win in what ended up a 6-0 game in the Nationals’ favor.
The win was Gonzalez’s first against the Orioles since 2009, and his fourth in his last six starts this season, extending his unbeaten streak.
For a pitcher who’s been maddeningly inconsistent at times in the past, Gonzalez has been consistently solid this season, improving to (6-2) today with a 2.10 ERA, a 3.06 FIP, 28 walks (3.92 BB/9), and 63 Ks (8.81 K/9) in 11 starts and 64 2⁄3 IP.
“We’ve been all over him about throwing strikes, and strike one,” Davey Martinez explained when asked what he thought was behind Gonzalez’s consistency this season after the win.
“[He’s] getting ahead of hitters, and he’s worked adamantly on doing that and it’s been working out for him.
“He’s going deep in games and he feels really strong, so kudos to him for allowing us to help him and for him to go out there and doing what he’s supposed to do.”
“When I was younger I was trying to throw it over the plate,” Gonzalez told reporters. “Now I am trying to hit my spots.”
“He’s having a solid year,” Orioles’ skipper Buck Showalter said when asked about Gonzalez after the O’s loss.
“You know what he’s going to do, he’s going to pitch backwards a lot, these guys evolve as pitchers, which he has. A lot of changeups behind in the count, he throws Gentry a 2-0 breaking ball first time around, that should tell everybody, remind them of the things we talk about when we go in there, but when you’ve got three pitches there, he’s got the changeup, both sides of the plate with the fastball, and really established the fastball in. He’s not carrying the plus fastball that he used to, but when you throw it to where he wants to throw it, it’s very effective.”
“He was outstanding,” Martinez said of Gonzalez’s outing against the Orioles. “Kept the balls down, threw strikes, he was really good. For me that was the best he’s pitched all year.”