Houston at Washington

W: G. Gonzalez (1-0) L: W. Rodriguez (0-2)
S: B. Lidge (2)
HR: HOU - None   WAS - None

Nationals 1, Astros 0

CBSSports.com wire reports

WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez dominated over seven innings and had to wait out a nervous ninth with Brad Lidge on the mound before his first win with the Washington Nationals was secure.

Lidge gave up a double to his first hitter and walked the next batter before retiring three in a row and earning his second save in the Nationals' 1-0 win against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

"Man, one of these times I'll get a 1-2-3 [inning]," Lidge said. "I'm sure I gave a lot of people a heart attack today. That's kind of how I've done it for a while."

Gonzalez didn't acknowledge having any doubts over the outcome.

"I was trying to be cool, calm and collected with a big smile on my face knowing he was going to shut it down," Gonzalez said of the last inning.

The late dramatics stood in sharp contrast to the innings with Gonzalez on the mound, when the Astros rarely got the ball out of the infield. Gonzalez (1-0) allowed two hits, walked two and struck out eight in his third start for Washington. The left-hander, acquired from Oakland in the offseason, also earned a standing ovation at the plate when he flied out to the warning track.

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It was another close game for the Nationals, who improved to 9-3 -- their best start since moving from Montreal to Washington in 2005. Half of Washington's first 12 games have been decided by one run and the Nationals are 4-2 in those contests.

"It's not easy on me," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "We've got guys who actually like it when it's close like that."

Gonzalez gave up a leadoff single to Justin Maxwell, who was later caught stealing second, and didn't allow another hit until the sixth. After Gonzalez walked J.D. Martinez in the first, he retired 13 straight.

Gonzalez ran into a little trouble in the sixth when he gave up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve and later walked Jed Lowrie to put runners on the corners with one out. Gonzalez credited catcher Jesus Flores for a well-timed visit to the mound to help him get out of the jam.

"He came out to the mound and he goes, `Hey, you're giving in a little bit. Your confidence is going down. Keep it up, and try to pound that strike zone,"' Gonzalez said. "When a catcher does that, all you can do is just boost it up a little bit more."

Wandy Rodriguez (0-2) nearly matched Gonzalez, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings. Rodriguez lost his second straight despite not walking a batter and striking out three.

The Nationals eked out their run on a pair of two-out bloop hits in the fourth.

Jayson Werth lifted a shallow pop fly between Maxwell in center field and Martinez in left. Maxwell attempted a sliding catch but the ball dropped for a double. Adam LaRoche followed with a fly to left and Martinez came in as Lowrie ran out from shortstop. Lowrie appeared to lose track of the ball at the last moment and it fell for an RBI single.

"It's a play that's got to be made," Lowrie said. "Our communication wasn't good. We talked about it and it won't happen again."

Gonzalez drew a big cheer after lifting his long fly in the third inning.

"I'm not a hitter. I'm just trying to put the ball in play," Gonzalez said. "I was fooled on the curveball, then he came with a fastball and I was like, `All right, let me see if I can at least make contact.' It felt good off the bat."

The pitcher, who got his first major league hit in his last start, smiled as he returned to the dugout after the flyout.

"I was breaking into a grin because the dugout and the starting pitchers were out there laughing at me," he said. "I was thinking to myself, `Man, these guys must really think I'm lying to them.' But all I'm trying to do is just go out there and swing."


Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson was flashing his new World Series ring, earned as a member of the Cardinals last year, in the clubhouse before the game. "You get to hold a piece of history you earned," Jackson said. ... Johnson was hoarse when speaking with reporters before the game. "I don't know if it's yelling at umpires or the pollen in the air," Johnson joked. "I'll have a designated yeller on the bench." ... Maxwell started in place of Jordan Schafer, who has been ill with a cold, Astros manager Brad Mills said. "That kind of wore him down a little bit and we want to get his strength back," Mills said. Schafer pinch-hit in the eighth and got a bunt single. ... Houston RHP Lucas Harrell (1-0, 3.27 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-1, 1.29 ERA) on Wednesday night.

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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Players of the Game

G. Gonzalez
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 2
K 8

A. LaRoche
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0

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Houston Astros
Justin Maxwell, CF4010022 .333
Jed Lowrie, SS3010101 .263
J.D. Martinez, LF2000202 .317
Carlos Lee, 1B4000003 .244
Chris Johnson, 3B4000022 .319
Travis Buck, RF4000022 .300
Chris Snyder, C2000020 .063
   a- Jordan Schafer, PH1010000 .256
    Rhiner Cruz, P0000000 .000
Jose Altuve, 2B3010001 .350
Wandy Rodriguez, P1000010 .000
   b- Jason Castro, PH-C1000000 .120
a-hit a bunt single for Snyder in the 8th
b-grounded out for Rodriguez in the 8th
2B - Jed Lowrie (1, Lidge)
SH - Wandy Rodriguez (1)
CS - Justin Maxwell (1, 2nd base by G. Gonzalez/Flores)
Team LOB - 6
DP - Lowrie-Altuve-Lee
Houston Astros
Wandy Rodriguez (L,0-2) 7511030 1.96
Rhiner Cruz 1000010 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Wandy Rodriguez 87-58, Rhiner Cruz 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wandy Rodriguez 10-7
Batters Faced - Wandy Rodriguez 25, Rhiner Cruz 3
Washington Nationals
Ian Desmond, SS4000010 .321
Danny Espinosa, 2B3010020 .205
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B3010001 .217
Jayson Werth, CF-RF3120001 .362
Adam LaRoche, 1B3011001 .333
Mark DeRosa, RF3000002 .080
    Rick Ankiel, CF0000000 .167
Xavier Nady, LF3000001 .194
Jesus Flores, C3000010 .429
Gio Gonzalez, P2000000 .200
    Tyler Clippard, P0000000 .000
   a- Chad Tracy, PH1000000 .222
    Brad Lidge, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Clippard in the 8th
2B - Jayson Werth (3, Rodriguez)
RBI - Adam LaRoche (13)
2-OUT RBI - Adam LaRoche (7)
Team LOB - 3
Washington Nationals
Gio Gonzalez (W,1-0) 7200280 2.04
Tyler Clippard (H,3) 1100010 6.00
Brad Lidge (S,2) 1100100 3.00
WP - Gio Gonzalez (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 91-57, Tyler Clippard 9-8, Brad Lidge 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 9-3, Tyler Clippard 1-1, Brad Lidge 1-2
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 24, Tyler Clippard 4, Brad Lidge 5
Game Information
Attendance - 17886
Game Time - 2:12
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Bill Welke, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Chris Conroy, Third Base - Jeff Nelson