Winless in five June starts with an 8.44 ERA and a .311/.386/.589 line against in 21 1⁄3 innings on the mound, Gio Gonzalez wrapped up the month with his roughest outing yet, going just one-plus innings in which he gave up three hits, five walks, and six runs in what ended up an 11-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Just wasn’t my night. Pretty much that was it. Couldn’t get a strike,” Gonzalez said after the 62-pitch appearance which left him (6-5) on the season after 16 starts.
“I told him early on in the season — he was under control, he was using his legs a little bit better, he wasn’t thinking as much, and he was attacking the strike zone, it seems like his last couple outings, that’s gone by the wayside,” Davey Martinez told reporters after he’d pieced together the rest of the game following Gonzalez’s departure.
“We have to get him back, get a couple days rest and get him back in the bullpen and try to figure out how to calm him down and slow him down.”
Gonzalez was in control early against the Philadelphia Phillies in the series finale in Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, working around a broken-bat single by the opposing pitcher to finish three scoreless on 33 pitches, and he took the mound in the fourth with a 1-0 lead.
He worked around a leadoff walk in a scoreless fourth, then issued a leadoff walk again in the Philly fifth, and things went all pear-shaped, with a one-out single and back-to-back walks loading the bases, and forcing in a run, respectively, before a sac fly to right got the Phillies within one, down 3-2, and Odubel Herrera hit an RBI single on a 1-2 curveball to tie it up at 3-3 after five.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 89 P, 56 S, 7/3 GO/FO.
“Gio was cruising there for a little bit and had that one bad inning,” Martinez said, long after Gonzalez was done the day, at the end of a 13-inning, walk-off loss to the Phillies.
As for what went wrong in that fifth inning?
“He fell behind that inning, and that’s what happens,” Martinez explained.
“When he falls behind and walks guys, bad things happen. Up until that point he was really good, but he was getting ahead of hitters.”
Once Gonzalez was done, a parade of relievers took the Nationals through twelve innings, with Brandon Kintzler (1 IP), Matt Grace (2⁄3), Ryan Madson (1⁄3), Kelvin Herrera (1), Tim Collins (1⁄3), Sean Doolittle (1 2⁄3), and Justin Miller (1 1⁄3) all taking the mound, but it was Miller who gave up a home run on his 35th pitch of the game with pinch hitting catcher Andrew Knapp winning it for the home team to give the Phillies three of four in the series with their NL East division rivals.
“Hey, all I can say is our bullpen was heroic,” Martinez said. “I mean they stepped up, they got big outs, and they battled. I mean, I can’t ask for more than what those guys have been doing down there. I’m proud of them. We’ve just got to figure out our offense. It’s tough winning games with two or three runs.”