Gio Gonzalez (1-0) continued a career of successful starts against the New York Mets, tossing six strong innings to help the Nationals win 5-1, improving Washington to 2-0 on the season. Gonzalez came into the game a career 5-1 against the Mets, 4-0 starting at Citi Field. He did not disappoint tonight either. Gonzalez finished the night giving up three hits and striking out six while walking only one. He also hit his first home run of the season, lining a Bartolo Colon (0-1) fastball out in the fifth.
Once again, the Nationals fell behind early when the Mets Juan Lagares tripled to lead off the game and was driven in two batters later with a David Wright sacrifice fly. The first inning was one of the few times the Mets hit the ball solidly off of Gonzalez.
Colon was strong early for the Mets until the fourth when the Nationals tied the game with back-to-back doubles from Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche. LaRoche continued his strong early start after hitting a home run and driving in two in the season opener. In the fifth, the Nationals took the lead for good when Ian Desmond crushed a first pitch fastball to left centerfield, and Gonzalez then squared up a Colon low 90s fastball to give the Nats a 3-1 lead with the third home run of his career.
Gonzalez pitched well all night, not giving up his second hit of the night until the bottom of the fifth with a Ruben Tejada single. Colon’s failure to bunt Tejada to second cost the Mets a run when Bryce Harper easily threw Tejada out at the plate after Lagares doubled down the leftfield line.
Colon struggled through six innings, giving up nine hits and two home runs. The Nats continued to abuse the beleaguered Mets bullpen, plating Denard Span on a wild pitch in the seventh after Span and Anthony Rendon had doubled off of Gonzalez German. With no outs, the Nats stranded Rendon on third but now led 4-1. After Span tripled in the ninth, Rendon drove in his fifth run of the season to put the Nats up 5-1 .
The Nationals bullpen pitched three solid innings of relief once Gonzalez exited. Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, and Craig Stammen combined to strike out seven batters. At one point, Clippard and Stammen struck out four in a row. Aided by the bullpen, the Nationals struck out thirteen Mets.
Jose Lobaton, playing for an injured Wilson Ramos who is expected to miss 4-8 weeks, went 1 for 4 after going 1-2 filling in for Ramos in the opener while Werth went 4-5. Both Rendon and Span collected two hits apiece, Span with both a double and a triple.
The Nationals have now beaten the Mets seven straight times and nine out of the last twelve.
Noted by the Nationals PR staff during the game, Gio Gonzalez has now homered in back to back seasons, both occurring in the fifth inning of his first start of the season, during his second at bat of the game. No word as to the Vegas odds for 2015.