April 17, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) pitches in the third inning against the Houston Astros at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Game 12: Nats 1, Astros 0

It appears that Gio Gonzalez is settling in quite nicely to his new NL home.

Gonzalez spun a gem tonight, throwing 7 scoreless innings with 8 strikeouts against only two hits and two walks and earning the win as the Nationals (9-3) took their second straight from the Astros, 1-0.

Gonzalez has rebounded well from his first outing on April 7th in Chicago, when he allowed 4 runs in only 3.2 IP. Since then, Gonzalez has not allowed a run in 14 IP, striking out fifteen batters and earning a WHIP of only 0.43. As for the other pitchers, Tyler Clippard also rebounded well from his last ugly outing, when he allowed 3 ER and took the loss against Cincinnati. He and Brad Lidge each pitched one scoreless inning, combining with Gonzalez to shut out the Astros.

The night was uneventful for offense. The entire team was only able to muster 5 hits and no walks, and only put one runner on past first base, but Adam LaRoche singled in Jayson Werth to get the hit when it counted. The team was 1-1 with runners in scoring position, but it is a bad sign if the team only gets one at bat with runners in scoring position. While this is the opposite of the problem that the Nats had been having earlier, that being leaving lots of runners on, it is still a problem. Werth was 2-3 on the night, and Zimmerman, LaRoche, and Espinosa were all 1-3, but the rest of the team went hitless.

Champ of the game: Gio Gonzalez, whose excellent start brought the Nats to another curly W even when the offense was playing poorly.

For the Astros, Wandy Rodriguez pitched quite well but took the loss, allowing one run in 7 IP.

Chump of the game: No player played especially poorly, but it is easy to point out Mark DeRosa’s 0-3 night and his .080 batting average.

Ex-Nat Justin Maxwell hurt his team, going 1-4 but striking out twice, going 0-2 with runners in scoring position, and being caught stealing once.

Unsung Hero: Werth’s double allowed him to be the only player who reached second base for the Nats, and led to him scoring the only run.

Jed Lowrie put a bit of fear into the hearts of Nats fans with his leadoff double in the 9th, and also went 1-3 with a walk.

Next Game: April 18th, 7:05 PM at Nationals Park. Harrell v. Zimmermann.

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