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Nats 4, Phillies 1: Gio’s strong start leads to another series win

May 24, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT

May 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) throws to the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: Gio Gonzalez turned the page on a pair of consecutive poor outings with one of his best games of the season on Sunday afternoon as the Nationals shut down the Phillies lineup in a 4-1 victory, giving them their eighth consecutive series win.

The Phillies scored first in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Jeff Francoeur, but the Nats responded quickly to tie it in the bottom half of the frame. Their run came on back-to-back hits by Clint Robinson and Jose Lobaton.

The Nationals took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after Yunel Escobar led off with a triple to right-center field. Bryce Harper quickly brought him home on a groundout to shortstop Freddy Galvis.

Harper and Ryan Zimmerman added two more runs with RBI hits in the bottom of the seventh. The Nats used Aaron Barrett, Matt Grace, Casey Janssen and Drew Storen to preserve their lead after Gonzalez left the game. Storen earned his 14th save of the season.

The Nationals moved to 26-18 on the year with the win, eight games above the .500 mark.

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: The Nationals were up a run entering the seventh inning, but they added two scores to their lead on big hits by Harper and Zimmerman. The rally began with a leadoff double by Span. He got his hit off Justin De Fratus.

Ian Desmond bunted Span to third and the Phillies brought lefty Jake Diekman in to face Harper. Harper lofted a bloop single down the left field line to score Span. Harper then scored on a double to right-center field by Zimmerman.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: Gonzalez ran into trouble the second time through the lineup just like he did in his previous start against the Yankees, but this time Gio was able to adjust and limit the damage. He gave up his lone run in the top of the fourth after a rally started by a Galvis infield single. Galvis reached on a high throw to first by Ian Desmond on a very tough play up the middle.

Gio then walked Darin Ruf and two batters later allowed the hit to Francoeur. He was able to work his way out of the jam, however, and strand two runners by striking out Cesar Hernandez for the third out of the inning.

Gio finished with one earned run off seven scattered hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings pitched. Gonzalez threw 94 pitches, 64 of them strikes. He moved to 4-2 on the season as his ERA dropped to 4.53.

KEY STAT: Harper’s walk in the third inning gave him 39 on the season through 44 games and 146 total at-bats. He had 38 walks last year in 100 games (352 ABs).

UP NEXT: The Nationals travel to Chicago to face the upstart Cubs at Wrigley Field. Monday will pit Illinois-native Tanner Roark (0-2, 2.66) against lefty Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 3.86). The series will also showcase some of the best young players in the game with Harper playing against Kris Bryant and the Cubs’ collection of super-prospects. First pitch on Monday is at 2:20 p.m.

  1. Drew - May 24, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    Eight straight series wins. Train keeps a rollin’.

    On to the North Side.

    GYFNG!!!

  2. Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    Chase, you’re fast today! Good job by our lads!
    Nice frame work by the Loboton.
    Gio, very sharp game.
    Escobar? Too much fun. What a nut!
    Bryce, great job!
    Span? We gotta keep him?
    Jansen? We’ll take it!
    Stolen? Looking spectacular so far!

    • ArVAFan - May 24, 2015 at 4:47 PM

      +8

      (but I think you might want to have a word with your spell-check about Storen vs. Stolen).

      • Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 4:48 PM

        HA!

    • Eric - May 24, 2015 at 5:20 PM

      We were up in 229… What did Esco do? Love his enthusiasm and production!

      • Eric - May 24, 2015 at 5:22 PM

        Meaning what did he do that was nutty…I just saw the obvious stuff, like launching a triple to the gap 😉

      • Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 5:29 PM

        When he slid into third on his triple he called himself safe, with a safe sign, literally before the dirt had cleared the air. He is so animated! It’s fun.

      • Eric - May 24, 2015 at 5:35 PM

        Yeah, it’s great. Half the time he looks like he’s dancing when he steps in to hit.

      • natsfan1a - May 24, 2015 at 7:58 PM

        Loved it.

    • natsfan1a - May 24, 2015 at 7:57 PM

      And add an “s” for Janssen. 🙂

      • Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 8:34 PM

        And I didn’t even buy a vowel…

  3. Eugene in Oregon - May 24, 2015 at 4:28 PM

    Nice to be back on track after yesterday’s debacle. GYFNG!

  4. mauimo22 - May 24, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    Great win today boys! Faced a good pitcher but got some timely hits and didn’t commit 4+ errors in the field!
    Good teams grind it out like this and find a way to win. My hat is off to Gio – thanks for the quality start and not losing focus. Good to have Janssen back and some fire-ballers in the BP. Drew is growing up before our eyes!

  5. ehay2k - May 24, 2015 at 4:34 PM

    After a slow start, the Nats are now on pace for 95 wins, providing my math is right. 😹

    Gio looked good, “The Loboton” looked fantastic. Guy is really good behind the dish.

    Smart base running, a gun down by Harper, pretty good all around.

    Off to Chicago. GYFNG!

    • golfersal - May 24, 2015 at 4:37 PM

      Are you kidding, they are on pace for 105 wins this year.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 4:46 PM

        Come on, wow!

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 24, 2015 at 5:11 PM

        I’m assuming that 105 is more enthusiasm than math…

  6. golfersal - May 24, 2015 at 4:36 PM

    More importantly,
    Monday is another eat Chick-fil-a for free day.
    We have had it three times just on this five game home stand and about a dozen this season

    Go Nats, love those free sandwichs. Must be costing Chick-fil-a good bit of money. No problem, they have it.

  7. Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 4:45 PM

    It was a good Gio start. He did a good job getting batters in some tough spots.

  8. Joe Seamhead - May 24, 2015 at 4:52 PM

    Gee, Casey Janssen doesn’t have any problem taking a deep breath before he throws a pitch. I can’t tell if he’s hyperventilating out there or doing some new age yoga breathing exercises.

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 24, 2015 at 4:55 PM

      I’mnot sure, but I’d worry about a couple of umpires who’d call all that squirming a balk.

      • Steady Eddie - May 24, 2015 at 5:13 PM

        Considering Jansen first arrived in the majors in 2006, I suspect pretty much every veteran umpire in MLB has seen him pitch multiple times. Doesn’t seem like too much basis for concern there.

      • Eugene in Oregon - May 24, 2015 at 5:14 PM

        I know. A feeble effort at humor (as my daughter often points out).

      • Steady Eddie - May 24, 2015 at 5:14 PM

        But he sure does seem kind of jitterbuggy out there, doesn’t he?

      • letswin3 - May 24, 2015 at 5:15 PM

        I’m with ya on that. Maybe he has a different set of moves with runners on.

  9. Ghost of Steve M. - May 24, 2015 at 5:34 PM

    Good news on Rendon going back to Viera to play some innings.

  10. Another_Sam - May 24, 2015 at 7:20 PM

    Two words on today’s game: 1. Bryce 2. Harper

  11. janebeard - May 24, 2015 at 7:45 PM

    And really…my favorite thing is 17 HALF innings of BALL AT HOME. It never gets old to cancel the bottom of the 9th.

    • ArVAFan - May 24, 2015 at 9:35 PM

      +8-1/2

  12. Sonny G 10 - May 24, 2015 at 10:37 PM

    My wife, dog, and I spent a nice day driving around the Texas countryside and listening to the Nats on satellite radio. I’ll be glad when we get back home to Virginia so I can see them in action. Radio is better than nothing, but I really miss seeing the games.

    • scmargenau - May 24, 2015 at 11:32 PM

      At bat work?

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