Gio Gonzalez’s one big mistake of the afternoon wasn’t even really a bad pitch, but Starling Marte went down for the 2-1 two-seamer at the bottom of the zone that Washington’s left-hander threw him and powered it out to center field in PNC Park for a two-out, two-run HR that hit the E in the PIRATES hedges and accounted for the only runs scored by either team in the Pirates’ 2-0 win over the Nationals in the series finale in Pittsburgh, PA.
GIO in PNC: Pitcher wins are like, whatever, you know, but Gio Gonzalez had been stuck on six of them since May 28th when he took the mound today looking for a curly-W in the third of three with the Pirates in PNC. Gonzalez was winless in seven starts over that stretch (0-3), with a rough 7.18 ERA and a .310/.397/.516 line against in 31 1⁄3 IP.
This afternoon, however, he was reunited with Matt Wieters, with whom he had a 2.25 ERA in five starts and 28 IP (vs a 3.52 ERA in 4G/23 IP with Spencer Kieboom, and a 5.35 ERA in 8G/32 2/3 IP with Pedro Severino behind the dish) before today.
Would Wieters’ return help straight Gonzalez out?
Gonzalez looked sharp tossing two scoreless on 18 pitches, but a leadoff double to left by Jordy Mercer (on a 2-0 fastball) and a two-out, two-run home run Starling Marte (on a 2-1 two-seamer), put the Pirates up early in the series finale, 2-0. Marte’s 11th HR of 2018 went into the “E” in the PIRATES hedges in center field in PNC.
Gonzalez issued his first walk of the game after striking out two batters in the bottom of the fifth, but a caught stealing on Starling Marte ended a 17-pitch frame that left him at 67 total, still trailing, 2-0.
David Freese hit a two-out single in the sixth, but Gonzalez threw a 1-2 fastball by Josh Bell to end a 22-pitch inning that left him at 89 after six.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks, 1 HR, 89 P, 56 S, 4/3 GO/FO.
Williams vs Washington: Trevor Williams took a loss when he faced the Nats in the nation’s capital back on May 3rd, giving up four hits (two home runs) and three runs total over 5 2⁄3 innings in a 3-2 win for Washington. All three runs scored on the home runs, both of which came in the sixth, after he’d held the Nationals off the board to that point. Both Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman (remember him) took the righty deep that day.
“We just missed with two pitches. That was really it,” Williams explained, as quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I let a fastball leak over the plate to Turner and hung a slider to Zimmerman.”
This afternoon in PNC Park, the right-hander tossed four scoreless on 66 pitches, working his way around two hits and three walks as the Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
The Nationals were 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position after Anthony Rendon singled to move Adam Eaton from second to third in the fifth, but Williams got two close calls, inside and outside to get up 1-2 on Bryce Harper, and then threw a high fastball by the Nationals’ slugger for out No. 3 of a 15-pitch fifth. Still 2-0 Bucs.
Trevor Williams’ Line: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 Ks, 81 P, 48 S, 5/2 GO/FO.
Bryce Harper wants in: Davey Martinez talked after Bryce Harper’s 0 for 5, 4 K night in the second of three in PNC about how he looked at the at bats from the 24-year-old slugger, telling reporters, “I’m just going to look at it as a bad game. He’s a professional and he’ll be right back out there tomorrow.”
In an in-game interview during today’s game, however, he said he went to Harper and asked if the outfielder wanted back in for the series finale, and Harper, of course, said yes. He took two walks in his first two plate appearances, then K’d swinging at a 1-2 fastball up high after home plate umpire Jerry Meals gave Pirates’ starter Trevor Williams strikes on either side of the plate, outside, then inside (both close to/or actually out of the zone), stranding two in an RBI opportunity.
BULLPEN ACTION: Righty Richard Rodriguez came on for the Pirates in the top of the sixth, and worked around a one-out walk, getting a 6-4-3 DP out of Wilmer Difo to end a 15-pitch frame and keep it a 2-0 game.
Edgar Santana gave up a one-out pinch hit single by Brian Goodwin, but stranded the only runner to reach base in a 14-pitch frame.
Shawn Kelley gave up a one-out double to left by Jordy Mercer (2 for 3, 2 2B), but stranded the runner in a 22-pitch frame.
Kyle Crick tossed a quick, 12-pitch, 1-2-3 top of the eighth to keep it 2-0. Justin Miller tossed 15 pitches in a scoreless bottom of the inning.
Felipe Vazquez came on in the top of the ninth,
Final Score: 2-0 Pirates.
Nationals now 46-46