Gonzalez Struggles, Leaves Early in 5-2 Loss


May 17, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws during the first inning against the New York Mets at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez (3-4) followed up his shortest outing of the season last Sunday with one of the shortest outings of his career, lasting only three innings Saturday afternoon in a 5-2 loss to the New York Mets.

In Oakland last Sunday Gonzalez completed only 4 1/3 innings, surrendering seven earned on nine hits. Saturday Gonzalez fell behind quickly to the Mets, allowing five straight batters to reach base in the first and ultimately giving up three quick runs. In the third inning, the Mets tacked on two more on a Juan Lagares home run.

Gonzalez has struggled all season through the first three innings. In fact, his ERA of 6.75 through the first three is his worst by far, and he carries with him an ERA of 10.12 in the first frame. Saturday only added to his misery. For the day, Gonzalez finished with a line of three innings pitched with seven hits and five earned runs.

Opposing Gonzalez was the 40 year old Bartolo Colon (3-5).  Colon, with a heavy dose of fastballs, challenged the Nationals hitters all afternoon and ultimately completed eight innings, striking out five while allowing two earned runs on five hits.

The two Nats runs came courtesy of Ian Desmond’s sixth home run of the season. Desmond now has 24 RBIs on the season, tying him with Anthony Rendon for the Nats lead. Desmond has now driven in runs in four of his last five contests, which is the first time he’s done that since early April. Desmond also finished the day with two hits, securing multiple hits in two of his last three games. Both are encouraging signs that Desmond is beginning to climb out of the offensive black cloud he’s been under all season long.

Relieving Gonzalez, Craig Stammen completed his longest outing of the season, allowing one hit in four innings while striking out two. Stammen also recorded his first hit of the season, doubling to deep right in the fifth.

The Nats received good news Friday when first baseman Adam LaRoche tested his strained quad and found no lingering pain. He hopes to return as soon as his stay on the disabled list is completed on May 25th.

With an Atlanta Braves loss earlier in the day, the Nationals briefly were tied for first place in the East. The Nats look to get back to their winning ways Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of the series as Jordan Zimmerman faces off against Zack Wheeler.