Bryce Harper homered in each of his first two at bats tonight against Philadelphia Phillies’ starter Nick Pivetta, who didn’t last long as the Washington Nationals jumped out to a 7-0 lead and cruised to a 7-3 win in the series opener in D.C.
Gio Gonzalez tossed five scoreless, with a 40-minute rain delay between the fourth and fifth shortening his outing, and the Nationals won their sixth straight to get over .500 for the first time since April 17th.
GIO vs PHI: Over the last two seasons, Nationals’ left-hander Gio Gonzalez has dominated the Phillies, with a 1.99 ERA in seven starts and 45 1⁄3 innings pitched, over which he’s held Philly hitters to a combined .187 AVG.
Gonzalez was coming off a seven-inning start against the Arizona Diamondbacks in which he gave up six hits, two walks, and one earned run when he took on the Phillies in the first of three in D.C.
He issued two walks in the first tonight, missed the bag covering first on a potential double play, and had a grounder to third bobbled by his third baseman, Wilmer Difo, but he left the bases loaded at the end of a 21-pitch frame.
Gonzalez took the mound with a 3-0 lead in the second, and retired the side in order in a 13-pitch frame, then came back out for the third up 7-0 and threw another 1-2-3 frame.
Matt Adams pulled a potential home run ball by Maikel Franco off the top of the wall in left in the fourth, helping Gonzalez through an 18-pitch inning.
In spite of a 40-minute rain delay, Gonzalez came back out for the fifth, and stranded a two-out double in a 22-pitch frame that left him at 89 pitches total.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 89 P, 55 S, 8/2 GO/FO.
Pivetta’s Revenge?: Acquired from the Nationals in exchange for reliever Jonathan Papelbon and cash back in July of 2015, Nick Pivetta, Washington’s 2013 4th Round pick, had put up an impressive (4-1) record with a 2.52 ERA in his last eight starts and 50 IP going back to late in September 2017 before taking the mound tonight.
In six starts this season, before this evening’s outing in the series opener against the Nats in D.C., Pivetta was (1-1) with a 3.27 ERA, 2.73 FIP, seven walks (1.91 BB/9), 34 Ks (9.27 K/9), and a .240/.295/.347 line against in 33 IP.
He was down 1-0 early after giving up an opposite field blast by Bryce Harper, who hit a 96 mph 2-1 fastball out to left to put the Nationals up 1-0 early.
Our phirst batter of the game went deep again. pic.twitter.com/9oXyaRx5kK— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) May 4, 2018
Back-to-back walks to Trea Turner and Matt Adams followed, and Ryan Zimmerman drove Turner in with an RBI single to left on Pivetta’s 18th pitch of the inning, 2-0. Adams scored from third, after advancing on a fly to right, on a weak fly to left field by Matt Wieters that dropped in for a hit, 3-0. Pivetta threw 37 pitches total in the first...
... and he only made it nine pitches into the second, walking Wilmer Difo, giving up a two-run blast to center by Bryce Harper, 5-0, and a single by Trea Turner before Philly manager Gabe Kapler went to the bullpen.
We have liftoff in Washington! @Bharper3407 crushes this ball 112.1 mph and 473 feet -- his longest HR and the 3rd-longest HR for the @Nationals since #Statcast began tracking in 2015. pic.twitter.com/rHwPqMGDPA— #Statcast (@statcast) May 5, 2018
Nick Pivetta’s Line: 1.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 2 HRs, 46 P, 27 S, 1/1 GO/FO.
DIFOBP: Wilmer Difo reached base in 9 of 11 plate appearances over his last three games, and he’s gone 9 for 16 (.600 AVG) with one double, one home run, three RBIs, five walks and six runs scored over his last six, providing a spark for the Nationals’ offense. He was up to 10 of 12 PAs in which he reached base after he walked to start the Nats’ second, and he scored on a two-out blast to center by Bryce Harper, who hit his second home run off Pivetta out to center and way up the batter’s eye green.
Difo was up to 11 for 13 when he singled in his second at bat, but he struck out the third time up before doubling to left field in the home-half of the eighth. On base 12 times in 15 PAs.
BULLPEN ACTION: Drew Hutchinson took over on the mound for Nick Pivetta with a runner on and gave up a two-run blast to right by Matt Adams on the first pitch he threw. No. 7 for Adams, 7-0 Nationals. Hutchinson’s did the yeoman’s work, keeping it there through five.
Trevor Gott took over on the mound for Gio Gonzalez in the top of the sixth, and gave up a one-out single on a swinging bunt by Aaron Altherr and a two-run blast by Carlos Santana, who hit a 2-2 fastball to center field to get the Phillies on the board.
Maikel Franco followed with a solo shot to left on a hanging 2-2 curve, 7-3, and Gott left the game at that point after a visit from the trainer.
Wander Suero took over for Gott and got two outs with seven pitches to send the Nationals to the bottom of the sixth with a 7-3 lead.
Hutchinson got the Phillies to the seventh, retiring 9 of 10 Nats’ batters after a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth.
Suero retired the side in order in an 11-pitch top of the seventh, and Ryan Madson worked around a leadoff single in an eight-pitch eighth.
Brandon Kintzler took over for the Nationals in the top of the ninth and worked around a leadoff double by Maikel Franco for a scoreless frame. Ballgame.
Final Score: 7-3 Nationals
Nationals now 17-16