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Walks hurt Gio Gonzalez again vs Marlins; but Nationals’ lefty continues to improve...

Gio Gonzalez walked the bases loaded and gave up a sac fly that brought in the only run he allowed in what ended up a 2-1 loss to the Marlins for the Nationals.

Washington Nationals v Miami Marlins Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images

Gio Gonzalez, a Hialeah, FL native, returned to the Miami area tonight looking to snap a nine start winless streak which stretched back to June 2nd. In those outings the 32-year-old left-hander put up a 6.70 ERA and a .302/.388/.485 line against in 43 innings, leaving him with a 3.94 ERA and a .259/.340/.398 line against in 107 13 IP overall in 2018.

Last time out before tonight, the southpaw gave up six hits, five walks, and five earned runs in 5 23 IP on the mound against the Brewers in Milwaukee’s Miller Park, falling to (6-7) on the season in a 6-1 loss.

“Just can’t walk people,” Gonzalez said after the outing, in summing up his struggles on the mound.

“Just got to go out there and be more aggressive,” he added. “The balls they did put in play, they just found holes, that’s all it was.”

It was walks again that led to the Marlins first run of the game on Saturday night in Miami, as Gonzalez walked the bases loaded with three straight free passes to start the bottom of the fourth.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A sac fly Yadiel Rivera hit to right was deep enough to allow the first batter to walk, catcher J.T. Realmuto, to tag and scored from third, 1-0.

Gonzalez managed to limit the damage to one run, with two quick outs after the Marlins’ first run scored.

The Nationals’ lefty held the Marlins there through six, came back out for the seventh at 102 total pitches, and retired the side in order in a 12-pitch frame that ended his outing.

Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 Ks, 114 P, 67 S, 5/4 GO/FO.

Gonzalez received no decision in what ended up a 2-1 loss in extra innings.

“He pitched great,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after the game. “He really did. And then he settled back in, threw a bunch of pitches, but he gave us seven good innings, and I’m proud of Gio, he kept his composure after that inning, came back and did wonderful.”

Sending Gonzalez back out for the seventh, he said, was actually an easy decision in spite of the southpaw’s pitch count.

“Honestly he just settled down,” Martinez said when asked about his thinking in sending the left-hander back out.

“He really looked good, and a one-run game I felt that he was okay to go.”

Gonzalez got through the seventh for the first time since June 2nd, which he said was a sign of progress as he continues to try to straighten things out.

“It’s definitely, moving forward, it’s definitely good progress,” Gonzalez said, as quoted by’s Jamal Collier.

“Still working on little things, but it’s progress, definitely something positive.”

After 21 starts, the 32-year-old, who could become a free agent this winter, has a 3.78 ERA, a 3.99 FIP, 57 walks (4.49 BB/9), and 103 Ks (8.11 K/9) in 114 13 IP.