After a rough fourth inning against the Yankees on Tuesday, Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 4.53) was able to put together a solid outing against the Phillies on Sunday afternoon. He went 6.1 innings, gave up one run on seven hits, struck out seven, and walked one on 94 pitches in the Nats 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies (19-27). With the win today, the Nationals clinched the series by taking two out of three and have now won eight consecutive series.
Before the game, the Nats made a roster move by calling up right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan from triple-A Syracuse. They would send A.J. Cole back down to triple-A. Cole threw 4.1 innings in relief of Stephen Strasburg during yesterday’s 8-1 loss to the Phillies:
Gonzalez got the afternoon started on a great note. The Nats lefty would keep the Phillies off the board for the first three innings, but would run into a little trouble in the fourth. With Freddy Galvis on second and Darin Ruf on first with two outs, Jeff Francoeur would hit a changeup to left field for a RBI single to score Galvis. Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead and Francoeur would go to second on the error by left fielder Clint Robinson.
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The lead would not last long for the Phillies as the Nationals came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning. Clint Robinson would atone for his error when he doubled to right field against Aaron Harang to leadoff the inning. Then, Jose Lobaton would drive Robinson in on a base hit to center to tie the game. Washington would threaten for more runs with Lobaton on third and Danny Espinosa on second with one out, but Denard Span and Ian Desmond both grounded out to end the inning.
Even with that wasted opportunity for more runs, Washington took the lead for the first time in the fifth and didn’t look back. It was Yunel Escobar who began the inning with a leadoff triple to right field. While Bryce Harper would not follow it up with a home run, he did get the job done. Harper grounded out to shortstop, which scored Escobar from third. Harper’s 40th RBI of the season gave the Nats a 2-1 lead.
Those were all the runs Harang would give up as the Phillies were not able to give him any run support today. He went six innings, gave up two runs on seven hits, struck out two, and walked two as his record fell to 4-4 on the season.
In the seventh inning, Matt Williams went to the bullpen after Gonzalez gave up a one out single to Odubel Herrera. With Aaron Barrett in, Cameron Rupp hit a base hit to right field, but Bryce Harper was able to throw out Herrera at second since he was only halfway to second base on the flyball. Williams would then go to the lefty, Matt Grace, to strike out Chase Utley and end the inning.
The Nats would tack on two crucial insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. Denard Span would leadoff the inning with a double against Justin De Fratus. Ian Desmond would play small ball and lay down a sacrifice bunt to move Span to third. Two batters later, Ryne Sanderg went to his bullpen as he brought in lefty Jake Diekman to face Harper.
However, Harper would make him pay with a RBI single to left field to give the Nats a 3-1 lead. Harper was 1-for-8 against Diekman before that base hit. Then, Ryan Zimmerman would extend the lead to 4-1 with a RBI double off the wall in right center. It was his 36th RBI of the season.
After Grace and Casey Janssen threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning, Drew Storen came in to get the save. While Grady Sizemore would hit a one-out double to right center, he would not come around to score. Storen struck out Cesar Hernandez and Herrera to record his National League leading 14th save in 15 chances.
Next Post: The Washington Nationals (26-18) will begin a six game road trip Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field when they take on the Chicago Cubs (24-18). Tanner Roark (0-2, 2.66) will make his first start of 2015 against Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 3.86). You can catch the game at 2:20 PM ET on MASN2 and WUSA9.