Gio Gonzalez (6-4) continued his scoreless inning streak, and the Nationals rebounded from a disappointing 4th of July with a 13-0 win against the visiting Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs might have wanted to wait another day to trade away their two starters Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel because Samardzija’s replacement Carlos Villanueva (4-6) was roughed up Saturday afternoon by a Nats team eager to return to their winning ways. Villanueva pitched just 2+, allowing four earned runs on five hits.
The Nats scored their first run in the second when Ian Desmond singled home Ryan Zimmerman. They then added six more in the second, making the score 7-0 as they batted around against Villanueva and reliever Chris Rusin. In the inning, there were RBI doubles by Anthony Rendon, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Zimmerman and RBI singles by Desmond and Wilson Ramos. It was all fun and games for Ramos as he was caught watching his long fly ball that hit off the outfield wall.
There was no disciplinary benching by manager Matt Williams.
The Nats then added two more runs in the sixth with back-to-back doubles by Rendon and Werth and an Adam LaRoche RBI single. In the seventh, the Nats added four more to make the score 13-0.
Since returning from the disabled list, Gonzalez had one rough outing against the Astros and has been nearly unhittable ever since. In his last three starts, including this afternoon, Gonzalez has allowed nine hits in 21 innings pitched while striking out 19. Oh, and he now has a scoreless inning streak of 22 straight, beginning in the last inning he pitched against Houston. On Saturday, Gonzalez threw another eight scoreless, allowing just four hits with one walk while striking out seven.
Craig Stammen pitched the ninth. Even with the liberal rules for rewarding saves, Stammen did not record his second career save.
Every Nats starter, including Gonzalez recorded at least one hit, and only Bryce Harper failed to score. On the day, Rendon went 3-for-4 with three doubles, three runs scored, and two RBIs; Werth went 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored, and two RBIs; Desmond and Ramos each recorded two hits; and Ryan Zimmerman went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and three RBIs. The four hits by Zimmerman were his most since he also went 4-for-5 on April 3rd against the New York Mets.
The 13 runs were the most runs scored by the Nats since July 28, 2013 against the Mets. The Nats totaled 19 hits with eight doubles. The eight doubles were the most ever since the team moved to Washington and is the fifth time in franchise history.
The Nats look to take the rubber match in the three-game series with Jordan Zimmermann (6-4) facing Jake Arrieta (5-1). Both pitchers are coming off career months in June, and this should be one of the best matchups of the year.