Gio brilliant in Nats win

Gio brilliant in Nats win
April 18, 2012, 1:22 am
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Game in a nutshell: It's become their tried-and-true formula: Get an outstanding pitching performance, then scratch out just enough offense to win. This time, the Nationals pulled it off by only the slimmest of margins. Gio Gonzalez tossed seven scoreless innings for the second straight outing. Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche produced the night's only run in the bottom of the fourth. And Tyler Clippard and Brad Lidge closed it out to leave the first-place Nationals 9-3.

Hitting highlight: The Nationals scored only one run, so not a lot of options to choose from here. Even that one run came about thanks to back-to-back bloop base hits from Werth and LaRoche in the fourth. Werth's ball just fell in front of a sliding Justin Maxwell in center field, resulting in a hustle double. LaRoche then dropped a single in between three Houston fielders in shallow left field to bring home Werth with the game's lone run.
Pitching highlight: What else can you say about Gonzalez? He's been nothing short of brilliant in the first two starts of his career at Nationals Park. And he's been remarkably consistent. Five days after allowing two hits over seven shutout innings against the Reds, the left-hander allowed two hits over seven shutout innings against the Astros. Most impressive has been Gonzalez's ability to keep the ball in the strike zone (he's only issued two walks over his last 14 innings) and make batters swing and miss at his curveball (15 strikeouts in those 14 innings).

Key stat: After an 0-for-3 performance tonight, struggling outfielder Mark DeRosa is now 2-for-25 this season without an extra-base hit.

Up next: Jordan Zimmermann looks to continue this remarkable run of pitching at 7:05 p.m. tomorrow in Game 3 of this four-game series. Right-hander Lucas Harrell starts for Houston.