Gio Gonzalez put together a solid outing (7 IP, 6 H, 1 ER), snapped an 11-start winless streak, and helped the Washington Nationals earn a split of their four-game series with the Atlanta Braves in the nation’s capital, 6-3 final.
Juan Soto took a bases-loaded walk in the third, Anthony Rendon hit a sac fly in the next at bat, and the Nats added runs on a solo homer by Michael A. Taylor in the fourth, an RBI double by Daniel Murphy in the sixth, an RBI line drive by Ryan Zimmerman in the eighth, and Mark Reynolds’ two-out RBI hit later in the bottom of the eighth inning, 6-2...
Gonzalez vs Atlanta: Winless in 11 starts (going back to May 28th), with a 6.37 ERA and a .303/.388/.483 line against in 53 2⁄3 IP over that stretch, Gio Gonzalez took the mound in Nationals Park today hoping to help Washington earn a split of this week’s four-game set with the Atlanta Braves.
In his one previous start against the Nationals’ NL East rivals this season, the 32-year-old lefty gave up five hits and three runs in seven innings, striking out nine of the 26 batters faced.
Gonzalez and the Nats fell behind early when Nick Markakis lined a center-cut 2-0 fastball off the facade of the second deck in right field for his 14th homer of the season and a 1-0 lead in the second.
The Nationals jumped out to a 3-1 lead, and Gonzalez held the Braves to the one run, on just 85 pitches through six, and the home team added a run in the bottom of the sixth, 4-1, and after a nine-pitch, 1-2-3 seventh the southpaw was done for the day, having thrown a total of 94 pitches overall.
Gio Gonzalez’s Line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 Ks, 1 HR, 94 P, 60 S, 8/4 GO/FO.
Anibal vs the Nationals: In three appearances, two as a starter, against the Nationals this season, veteran righty Anibal Sanchez was (1-0) with a 1.69 ERA, seven walks, 15 Ks, and a .161/.254/.357 line against in 16 IP.
Coming out of the All-Star Break last month, the 34-year-old starter gave up six hits, three walks, and three earned runs in six innings in an 8-3 win in the nation’s capital, and he was back on the mound this afternoon in Nationals Park looking to help the Braves to the third win in four games this week in Washington, D.C.
Sanchez tossed two scoreless, but left the game at that point, after taking a comebacker off his calf off Michael A. Taylor’s bat for the final out of the second.
Anibal Sanchez’s Line: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 26 P, 16 S, 4/1 GO/FO.
BULLPEN ACTION: Wes Parsons made his MLB debut in relief of Anibal Sanchez in the top of the third, and gave up his first major league hit on a liner back up the middle off of Gio Gonzalez’s bat. Adam Eaton lined a one-hop single off Parson’s foot in the next at bat, but the right-hander was able to stay in.
Trea Turner walked in the next at bat, loading the bases with one out, and Juan Soto took the second straight free pass, forcing in a run, 1-1.
Anthony Rendon just missed a first-pitch fastball from Parsons in the next at bat, and fell just short of a slam, settling for a go-ahead sac fly to deep left field, 2-1 Nationals.
Michael A. Taylor hit a 1-0 slider from Parsons out to left field for a no-doubter of a one-out home run in the home-half of the fourth inning, connecting for his sixth of the season, and his first since June 2nd.
Anthony Rendon singled to start the sixth, and scored on a double to center by Daniel Murphy, whose eighth two-base hit of the season made it 4-1 Nationals.
MAT goes Y-A-R-D: Michael A. Taylor hasn’t been playing much since Adam Eaton returned, and with Juan Soto tearing it up, so he went 131 plate appearances between home runs. He went from June 2nd-August 9th between home runs Nos. 5-6 on the season in 344 PAs after he hit 19 in 432 PAs in something of a breakout season in 2017.
NATS’ BULLPEN: Justin Miller took over for the Nationals in the top of the eighth inning, and gave up a one-out solo shot to left field on an 0-1 fastball that ended up deep in the left field seats, 4-2 Nats. Freddie Freeman doubled to deep center with two outs, but was stranded at second base when Nick Markakis flew out to center to end the top of the inning.
Another Debut: Adam McCreery, also making his MLB debut, gave up three straight hits (by Anthony Rendon, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Zimmerman) and a run in the bottom of the eighth as the Nationals went up, 5-2, and Mark Reynolds added a two-out RBI single, 6-2.
Ryan Madson gave up back-to-back singles by Kurt Suzuki and Charlie Culberson to start the top of the ninth, but Ender Inciarte grounded into a force at second for the first out.
Dansby Swanson stepped in with runners on the corners and one down, and sent a sac fly to right, 6-3, but that’s all the Braves got off Madson.
Final Score: 6-3 Nationals
Nationals now 59-56