Last year, Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg ranked among the National League leaders in victories, with Gio pacing the Senior Circuit with 21. While Gonzalez and Strasburg both pitched very well in 2012, part of their gaudy win totals can be attributed to the strong run support they often received in their outings. Heading into Tuesday night, the Nationals co-aces had combined for 25 no decisions despite a 3.09 total ERA. Tuesday night was a completely different story, as Gio collected his ninth win of the year despite departing after 5 2/3 innings due to a bloated pitch count.
The Nationals were able to get to Phillies rookie right hander Ethan Martin early. Martin lost his control to start the second inning, hitting Jayson Werth with a pitch before walking Adam LaRoche on four pitches out of the strike zone. Wilson Ramos continued his recent hot streak, blasting a Martin fastball into the stands in right center for his tenth homer of the year and a 3-0 Nationals lead. Martin would keep the score right there until the fifth inning, when his control would betray him again. Denard Span doubled to start the frame and move to third on a ground ball off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman, Martin lost the strike zone. After a walk to Bryce Harper, Martin got a pop up from Jayson Werth but then walked Ian Desmond to load the bases. Ryne Sandberg showed his faith in the rookie by giving him the oppurtunity to wiggle out of the jam, but Martin would then walk in a run. Justin de Fratus then took over, but started out no better than Martin ended walking Wilson Ramos to force in yet another run. The Nats would add four more late runs to counter a four run bottom of the sixth by Philadelphia and would take the game 9-6.
Sep 3, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg (23) comes out to relieve pitcher Ethan Martin (49) during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
It was an overall incredibly sloppy game for the Phillies. The pitching staff walked a hideous total of nine Nationals and also hit a batter. The defense also let the Phitin Phils down. With the Nationals clinging to a slim 8-6 lead in the top of the ninth, B. J. Rosenburg struck out Harper on a pitch in the dirt, but Carlos Ruiz couldn’t handle the curveball, allowing Denard Span to score from third base. Rafael Soriano pitched the ninth inning for his 37th save of the season, placing him second in the NL.