New York at Washington

Venue: Nationals Park

Gio Gonzalez is on the verge of matching his career high for wins in a season. He's also closing in on a piece of team history.

The left-hander can set a Washington Nationals record for single-season victories Sunday by defeating the visiting New York Mets.

Gonzalez (15-6, 3.29 ERA) has moved into position to tie his 16 victories from last season with Oakland by winning back-to-back starts. He gave up a two-run homer and five other hits over 6 2-3 innings Monday in San Francisco and got plenty of support in a 14-2 rout.

"I just tried to pound the strike zone," Gonzalez said.

A similar effort from his teammates would likely make Gonzalez the first Nationals pitcher to record 16 wins since the franchise relocated from Montreal before the 2005 season. Livan Hernandez was the only other Nationals player to earn 15 victories, doing it in 2005, and Javier Vazquez was the last man to win at least 16 games for the Expos in 2001.

Gonzalez is also seeking to match Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and Tampa Bay's David Price for the major league lead in wins.

The NL East-leading Nationals (74-46) enter this game having won 21 of 28, but they were shut out for the first time this month Saturday. Washington had four singles and a double in a 2-0 defeat, while Ike Davis' two-run homer helped the Mets (57-63) to their fourth win in 12 games.

New York has won only four of its last 18 against the Nationals.

"It's great to beat them. You always want to beat the best. And right now they're the best in the division," said Davis, who is 3 for 5 with a home run against Gonzalez this season.

If the Nationals have trouble scoring again, Gonzalez will need a performance more like his most recent matchup with the Mets than his only start against them at Nationals Park.

He yielded one unearned run and two hits over seven innings during a 5-2 victory at New York on July 24. That superb outing came five days after a 9-5 home loss to the Mets in which he gave up a season-high six runs over 3 1-3 innings, his shortest start in 2012.

On Sunday, he'll pitch opposite Jeremy Hefner (2-4, 4.76), whose first start since Aug. 4 will give New York a six-man rotation. The rookie right-hander is 2-3 with a 5.13 ERA in six starts this season and 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in two against Washington.

"I've worked really hard to get to where I'm at now, not just this year but in my entire career," Hefner told the Mets' official website after beating San Diego in his most recent start. "I think it's just all my hard work, it's kind of paying off a little bit."

He gave up four runs over six innings during his only game at Nationals Park, a 5-3 loss June 6. Adam LaRoche hit a three-run homer off Hefner in the first inning.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Jeremy Hefner, RHP
2012 stats
56.2 Innings Pitched 147.2
2-4 Wins-Losses 15-6
4.76 Earned Run Average 3.29
10 Walks 56
33 Strikeouts 158
90 Pitches Per Start 98
Career vs. opponent
12.0 Innings Pitched 17.1
0-2 Wins-Losses 1-1
3.75 Earned Run Average 3.63

Gio Gonzalez, LHP
weather image  Isolated tstorms. High level clouds. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
NY Mets1st NL East22.500-2-2 L 1
Washington3rd NL East12.333 ½ 1-2 L 2
vs Gio Gonzalez
vs Jeremy Hefner

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Game Odds
N.Y. Mets 185 Washington -200
NY Mets
A. CabreraKnee
L. CarpioShoulder
W. FloresHand
M. HarveyShoulder
S. MatzShoulder
M. MolinaElbow
J. NieseKnee
J. RuggianoShoulder
N. WalkerBack
Z. WheelerElbow
D. WrightNeck
J. deGromElbow
A. BarrettElbow
K. GloverHip
S. KelleyUndisclosed
W. RamosKnee
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Series Game Log
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