Washington Nationals Reaction: Gio Gonzalez Takes a New Approach
By Matt Weyrich
A rocky first inning for Gio Gonzalez was enough damage for Melky Cabrera and the White Sox as the Southsiders beat the Washington Nationals, 3-1, to avoid the sweep.
Washington entered Thursday’s contest winners of three straight as well as seven of their last nine. Their offense had scored ten or more runs in three consecutive games. After hitting five home runs in the first two games of the series, the Nats’ bats would go quiet in the finale.
Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 3.57 ERA) took the mound for the home team, looking to snap the White Sox’ five-game losing streak. He settled in quickly, retiring the first twelve batters he faced. Gonzalez would lose the perfect game in the fifth when Daniel Murphy took him deep to right field for the Nats’ only run of the game. Chicago’s right-hander would go six innings, allowing the one run on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts.
The Nationals gave the ball to Gio Gonzalez (3-5, 3.93) for the evening, who was looking to rebound after allowing five runs or more in each of previous three outings. He would struggle to find his way in the first inning, however, as the White Sox tapped him for three runs. After forcing Adam Eaton to groundout to start the game, Gonzalez walked back-to-back hitters. Melky Cabrera then came through with two outs, hitting a double into the right field gap that scored both runners. Brett Lawrie then snapped an 0-for-9 streak in the series with a double of his own that brought home Cabrera to make it 3-0 early.
Gio would quickly recover, setting down eleven straight Chicago hitters after the Lawrie double. He threw a season-high 116 pitches, and finished the evening having given up three runs on five hits, two walks, and ten strikeouts. It was the first time this season Gonzalez had struck out more than eight hitters.
The Nats would make a comeback attempt in the top of the ninth. White Sox closer David Robertson was searching for his fourteenth save of the year, and it looked like it would come quickly after he retired the first two batters in five pitches. Jayson Werth then reached on an infield single that shortstop Tyler Saladino bobbled. Bryce Harper then singled up the middle to move Werth to third and bring up Daniel Murphy with runners on the corners and two outs. Murph would not be able to come through, however, and the Nats fell 3-1.
Next up, the Nationals come back to Nats Park for a seven-game homestand before heading to the West Coast. The Phillies travel to D.C. hoping to get back on track after falling seven games back of Washington in the NL East. Before Strasburg takes the hill, take a look at my takeaways from yesterday’s contest.
Next: Can Daniel Murphy Win the Batting Title?