Aggressive offense and a quality start from left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez is what enabled the Washington Nationals to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-1 on Saturday. A crowd of 39,496 was delighted to a round of nine innings that put their home team on display. It was Washington’s seventh consecutive win against their division rival dating back to the 2011 season.
Despite some of the big guns like Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche, and Mark DeRosa being down for the count due to injury, the current Nats roster continues to hold on to sole possession of first place in the National League East.
Washington hit three home runs over the course of the game, including shots from: Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond, and Chad Tracy. The entire squad accounted for 15 hits.
Philadelphia scored first when center fielder Shane Victornio reached home on a sacrifice fly hit by catcher Carlos Ruiz in the fourth inning. But that’s all the Phillies could manage.
Gonzalez, 1-for-3, was consistent and reliable in his seven inning start, giving up just four hits and one run, walking one, and striking out seven. He threw 107 pitches, 77 for strikes, and even hit the first extra-base hit of his career – a leadoff double to right-center in the fifth inning off Philadelphia starter Vance Worley. That double was the second extra-base hit from a Nats starter in two days (Strasburg hit a double Friday night).
Werth, 2-for-3, was the man responsible for getting the Nats on the board in the fifth. His home run to left field on a 1-0 pitch from Worley gave the Nats a 3-1 lead and silenced the “Jayson Werth-less” chanters occupying the center field seats in sections 140 and 141.
“He probably puts more pressure on himself because he’s going up against his old mates,” Manager Davey Johnson said after the game. “I know that feeling. I usually played against old mates. I was more relaxed. But he’s got a lot of pride and that was big for him and his team. It was great see happen.
Desmond, 1-for-5, continued the rally in the sixth with a two-out solo home run off Worley before Philadelphia pulled him in favor of having left-handed reliever Joe Savery pitch the seventh inning. Savery gave up two hits and two runs to the Nats on a Tracy home run to right field on a 1-1 pitch.
The Nats bullpen also got some much needed and well deserved rest today in anticipation of Sunday night’s nationally televised game and series finale. Johnson went with right-handed reliever Ryan Mattheus for the eighth and ninth innings. He gave up one hit and held the Phillies right where they were.
Washington is now nine games over .500 with an 18-9 record. This is the first time they’ve been nine games over .500 since July 27, 2005.