Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Gio Gonzalez looks to pitch the first-place Nationals to another win today.
Can they keep both streak alive this afternoon? It all starts with Gio Gonzalez, a one-time Phillies farmhand who will face his old organization for the first time. The left-hander seeks his third win of the season, and seeks to keep his ERA under 2.00 with another strong outing.
Gonzalez could certainly benefit from some run support. Davey Johnson is fielding the same lineup he scribbled out last night, the only change coming behind the plate (Wilson Ramos, last night's hero, will start and bat eighth). One other thing to keep in mind: Henry Rodriguez has pitched the last three nights. You wouldn't think he's available today, but Johnson tried to suggest he'd use his closer as long as Rodriguez doesn't ask out. We'll see.
Plenty of updates to come...
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WNEW (1580 AM), XM 184
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 76 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chad Tracy
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Gio Gonzalez
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
CF Shane Victorino
RF Hunter Pence
C Carlos Ruiz
1B Ty Wigginton
LF John Mayberry Jr.
2B Freddy Galvis
RHP Vance Worley
HP Sam Holbrook, 1B Andy Fletcher, 2B D.J. Reyburn, 3B Rob Drake
1:06 p.m. -- And we are underway with a strike from Gio Gonzalez to Jimmy Rollins. Seems to be more Philly fans here today. Or, at least, more vocal Philly fans here today than last night.
1:10 p.m. -- Very nice start to the afternoon for Gonzalez. He retired the side on 11 pitches, getting a weak groundball out of Rollins, a soft liner out of Placido Polanco and then striking out Shane Victorino on a curveball in the dirt.
1:20 p.m. -- Stop me if you've heard this one before: Bryce Harper draws a walk, bringing Jayson Werth to the plate with runners in scoring position, and then Werth strikes out looking. Yep, this is what it has come to: The Phillies don't seem to want to have any part of Harper and pitching him delicately to say the least. Scoreless after one.
1:32 p.m. -- Gio found himself in a jam in the top of the second, allowing a leadoff double to Hunter Pence and then watching as John Mayberry reached on a Steve Lombardozzi error. But the left-hander buckled down and got Freddy Galvis to pop out, so we head to the bottom of the second with no runs on the board yet.
1:40 p.m. -- Rick Ankiel's bat has certainly heated up here the last few days. His single to left-center in the bottom of the second was his fourth hit in his last five at-bats. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything else going on at the plate in that inning. It remains 0-0 heading to the third.
1:53 p.m. -- Wow, they actually pitched to Harper with first base open! And he proceeded to line into a double play, with Lombardozzi straying too far off second base. Tough break there. We go to the fourth.
2:41 p.m. -- Longtime readers will appreciate this ... I just got back to the press box after spending a couple of innings in the stands with family. Sure enough, things started happening as soon as I walked out. The Phillies scored a run in the top of the fourth, getting a double from Victorino and then a sac fly from Ruiz (though Werth made a fine throw to the plate and Ramos dropped it, again). No worries, though, because Werth delivered at long last in a huge spot. With two on and two out in the fifth -- and after Harper had just flied out to left -- Werth crushed a three-run homer over the left-field fence. The crowd exploded as the Nats took a 3-1 lead. Then for good measure, Ankiel roped another base hit down the right-field line, scoring Tracy. Espinosa tried to score as well but was gunned down at the plate. So it's 4-1 Nats as we now head to the bottom of the sixth.
2:48 p.m. -- Make it 5-1 as Desmond crushes a solo shot waaaaay over the center-field fence. This came moments after Gio Gonzalez reached the warning track for the second time today. What's gotten into these bats?
3:01 p.m. -- Gio Gonzalez: Seven innings of one-run, four-hit ball. After last night's marathon, that was EXACTLY what the Nats needed out of their starter. He also threw an impressive 77 of 107 pitches for strikes. When this guy keeps the ball around the plate, he's almost unhittable. Meanwhile, did you realize the Nats have put 36 men on base through the first 17 innings of this series? It's kind of gotten lost in the shuffle, but they've certainly given themselves plenty of opportunities to score. Still 5-1 at the seventh-inning stretch.
3:10 p.m. -- Chad Tracy, ladies and gentlemen! His second homer in as many days. The rout is on. It's 7-1.
3:28 p.m. -- You know who hasn't been involved at all at the plate today? Harper. He just grounded out weakly to short to fall to 0-for-4 with a walk in this game. Oh well, his teammates have more than made up for it. We go to the ninth, Ryan Mattheus looking to finish this one off.
3:34 p.m. -- It's all over. Final score: 7-1. That's the seventh straight win (and 11th in 13 games) for the first-place Nationals over the now last-place Phillies.