Gio Gonzalez threw six shutout innings and Adam LaRoche went 3-3 with an RBI and a walk as the Washington Nationals (5-2) took game one of their three-game series, 5-0, against the Miami Marlins (5-3).
Gonzalez looked strong in his second start of the season. The southpaw threw six scoreless innings while allowing three hits and striking out five. Gonzalez did not go deeper into the game because he started the game a little wild and his pitch count was over 100 after six innings of work.
Luckily, the Nats strong offense and bullpen allowed Gonzalez to not have to go deeper into the game to earn the win. The Nats scored five runs, on eight hits while walking three times, and their bullpen did not allow a run in three innings of relief.
The team was able to start fast and jump on the board in the first inning. After Denard Span and Bryce Harper groundouts, Jayson Werth followed with the first hit of the game. Werth smoked a double to the left field gap to put himself in scoring position. LaRoche followed with a single to bring him home. Unfortunately, LaRoche was caught trying to advance to second on the throw home to stop the rally and end the inning.
The Nats offense was quiet until the sixth inning when they struck again. First, Harper singled to break his 0 for 8 slump. Then, after a Werth fly-out, LaRoche singled to center sending Harper to third. That is when things got a little crazy. With Ian Desmond at the plate, Henderson Alvarez threw a pitch in the dirt that bounced away from catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. LaRoche took off for second, and second baseman Jeff Baker dropped Saltalamacchia’s throw allowing Harper to score from third. Alvarez then walked Desmond and threw a wild pitch in the process, advancing LaRoche to third. From there, Anthony Rendon singled him home to give the Nats a 3-0 lead.
The Nationals added two more runs on a Rendon double in the eighth to make the final score 5-0.
The team takes on the Marlins for game two of the series tomorrow evening at Nationals Park.
- Gonzalez looked solid in six innings of work, but threw too many pitches early in the game. If he can keep his walks down, Gonzalez looks to be in for a very solid year. He is 2-0 so far through 12 innings of work and has only allowed one earned run.
- Rendon started at third base this evening, and we may have seen the beginning of a changing of the guard at the hot corner for the Nats. Ryan Zimmerman worked out before the game and his shoulder is feeling better, but Rendon fulfilled all duties that the team has come to expect from Zim. Rendon went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and even made a Zimmerman-esque play in the seventh. Reed Johnson bunted a ball down the line with two men on, and Rendon made a spectacular barehanded pickup and throw to first base to nail Johnson and prevent a bases loaded situation.