Saturday afternoon in the nation’s capital, Gio Gonzalez went up against the San Francisco Giants for the second time this season, after holding them to three runs on four hits in five innings of a 4-2 loss in AT&T Park back in April.
Gonzalez took the mound against the Giants in Nationals Park in the midst of a seven-start unbeaten streak, over which the 32-year-old lefty was (4-0) with a 1.81 ERA, 16 walks, 43 Ks, and a .200/.270/.313 line against in 44 2⁄3 IP.
Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was hoping for some length out of Gonzalez after another long night for his bullpen on Friday, when Stephen Strasburg was lifted after two innings of work with inflammation in his right shoulder.
“Hopefully Gio can go out there tomorrow and give us a good seven innings, and we’ll get straightened out,” Martinez told reporters on Friday night, but in spite of the fact that the Nationals jumped out to a 5-0 lead, a 36-pitch third for Gonzalez, in which the left-hander gave up a three-run homer, made a long outing considerably less likely, pushing him up to 74 pitches overall.
Gonzalez was done for the afternoon after giving up a leadoff walk, a one-out single, and a base-loading walk on his 23rd pitch of the fourth inning and his 97th pitch of the game.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 97 P, 55 S, 5/1 GO/FO.
Justin Miller took over, and a sac fly RBI got the Giants within one, at 5-4, but he struck Evan Longoria out to avoid further damage.
Miller went 1 2⁄3 innings, and five other relievers came out of the bullpen to finish off what ended up a 7-5 win.
“Gio had a high pitch count and I didn’t want him throwing over 100 pitches,” Martinez said.
“The bullpen came in and held them down.”
The issue for Gonzalez?
“He just got into too many 3-2 counts. 2-2, 3-2,” Martinez explained. “He got ahead, just couldn’t finish it off.”
“We had some good extended ABs against Gonzalez,” Giants’ skipper Bruce Bochy told reporters.
“We had some guys out there. We just needed another hit. We were missing that to finish the comeback.”
“Those guys are a pretty good lineup over there,” Martinez added.
“You face a lot of right-handed hitters, so those guys, they worked the count and they got him up to 3-2 and the pitch count got up.”
It wasn’t pretty, but the Nationals held on for a win to set up a rubber match in the series finale this afternoon.
“A win is a win is a win is a win, that’s exactly how I described it,” Martinez said. “Boys held on. We scored early and we held on.”