|Washington (49-33) «||0||1||0||0||0||3||0||0||x||4||7||0|
WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez knew he wasn't going back to the mound after throwing 102 pitches in 101-degree heat.
The game was tied in the middle of the sixth inning, so if Gonzalez was to get his 12th win of the season, the Washington Nationals needed to score against the Colorado Rockies before making three outs.
|More on Rockies-Nationals|
|More MLB coverage|
And that's precisely what happened.
Gonzalez pitched six innings of three-hit ball, and the Nationals used a three-run sixth to post a 4-1 victory Saturday.
Gonzalez (12-3) won his fourth straight start to move into a tie with R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets for the major league lead in wins. He allowed one run, walked three and struck out six.
Gonzalez matched Livan Hernandez for most wins by a Nationals pitcher before the All-Star break. Were it not for the productive sixth inning, it never would have happened for the hard-throwing lefty who's headed to the All-Star game for a second time.
"He didn't want to leave with the game tied," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "I said `You're done. You're not talking me out of nothing and we'll get you a win right here.' Thank goodness we got him the win. He pitched great."
Gonzalez's desire to stay in the game had nothing to do with personal goals. He simply wanted a win, and figured he was best equipped to pull it off.
"It's an honor to know the team won today," he said. "That's all that matters to me. It was a team win."
Obtained in an offseason trade with Oakland, Gonzalez has been everything the Nationals could have possibly wanted.
"I don't know what kind of run support he got there in Oakland, but he's certainly been stingy giving up runs and hits here," Johnson said. "He's been very consistent. He's been fun to watch."
It was the fifth victory in six games for the Nationals, who own the best record in the NL. The only loss in that span came Friday night against Colorado in a game started by Washington's Stephen Strasburg.
Only once this season have the Nationals lost successive games started by Strasburg and Gonzalez, on April 28-29 against the Dodgers, but through five innings this was anyone's game.
On a wild pitch, Zimmerman took off for second. Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario's throw was off target, and the error enabled Harper to score from third.
Later in the inning, Zimmerman came home on an errant pickoff throw by Roenicke.
After Gonzalez left, three Washington relievers allowed three hits over three innings. Tyler Clippard worked the ninth for his 14th save.
Colorado finished with four errors, tying a season high. Dexter Fowler had three hits for the Rockies, who have lost six of eight and totaled 14 runs in their last seven games.
"Today wasn't so much about pitching as it was our lack of offense and the fact that we threw the ball around a little bit in the sixth inning," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "When you get six hits in a game and one guy gets three of them, there's not a tremendous amount of offensive opportunity."
Ian Desmond made it 1-0 in the second inning with his 16th home run, a drive that barely cleared the right-field scoreboard. The shortstop has five homers and 13 RBI over his last 12 games.
During the game, however, the team announced Desmond would miss Tuesday's All-Star game with a left oblique strain. He has been dealing with the injury since mid-June and will use the break to rest.
"It's definitely a tough decision, one that we spent quite a few days kind of mulling over," Desmond said. "But in the end I think it's best for the team and best for myself to take the rest. I would hate to be two, three weeks down the road and something happened and I didn't take the four days to rest my body and put the team first."
Both teams got a runner into scoring position in the fifth. Colorado wasted a two-out double by Fowler, and the Nationals came up empty after opening the bottom half with successive singles by Desmond and Tyler Moore.
|The Nationals' Gio Gonzalez pitches six innings of three-hit ball to beat the Rockies and earn his fourth consecutive victory. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
Nike Bryce Harper Nationals 2012 MLB Hair-itage T-Shirt - Red Shop Now!
|Dexter Fowler, CF||4||0||3||0||0||0||0||.296|
|Marco Scutaro, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.277|
|Carlos Gonzalez, LF||4||0||0||0||0||3||3||.334|
|Michael Cuddyer, 1B||3||1||1||0||1||1||2||.264|
|Tyler Colvin, RF||3||0||0||0||1||0||2||.306|
|Jordan Pacheco, 3B||2||0||0||1||0||0||2||.297|
|Josh Roenicke, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Matt Reynolds, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Adam Ottavino, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Eric Young Jr., PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||.244|
|Wilin Rosario, C||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.247|
|Jonathan Herrera, SS||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.248|
|b- Jason Giambi, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.243|
|Jeff Francis, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.000|
|Chris Nelson, 3B||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.256|
|a-singled for Ottavino in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Herrera in the 9th|
|2B - Dexter Fowler (11, G. Gonzalez), Michael Cuddyer (25, G. Gonzalez)|
|SF - Jordan Pacheco (2)|
|RBI - Jordan Pacheco (17)|
|SB - Marco Scutaro (7, 2nd base off Burnett/Flores)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Scutaro-Herrera-Cuddyer, Herrera-Scutaro-Cuddyer, Scutaro-Herrera-Cuddyer|
|E - Michael Cuddyer (5, Missed catch of throw), Chris Nelson (7, Misplayed grounder), Josh Roenicke (1, Throwing), Wilin Rosario (9, Throwing)|
|Jeff Francis (L,2-2)||5||6||3||3||1||5||1||5.19|
|WP - Josh Roenicke (4)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Francis 77-49, Josh Roenicke 33-20, Matt Reynolds 15-9, Adam Ottavino 15-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Francis 8-0, Josh Roenicke 3-1, Matt Reynolds 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Jeff Francis 20, Josh Roenicke 6, Matt Reynolds 3, Adam Ottavino 3|
|Danny Espinosa, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.234|
|Bryce Harper, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.283|
|Ryan Zimmerman, 3B||3||1||1||1||1||1||0||.242|
|Michael Morse, RF||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.282|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||2||1||.252|
|Ian Desmond, SS||3||1||2||1||0||0||1||.282|
|Tyler Moore, LF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.314|
|Ryan Mattheus, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Sean Burnett, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Tyler Clippard, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jesus Flores, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.231|
|Gio Gonzalez, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.100|
|Roger Bernadina, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.245|
|a- Stephen Lombardozzi, PH-LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.267|
|a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Bernadina in the 7th|
|2B - Danny Espinosa (20, Francis)|
|HR - Ian Desmond (16, Francis)|
|SH - Stephen Lombardozzi (5)|
|RBI - Ryan Zimmerman (40), Ian Desmond (49)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Gio Gonzalez (W,12-3)||6||3||1||1||3||6||0||2.92|
|Ryan Mattheus (H,8)||1||0||0||0||0||3||0||1.82|
|Sean Burnett (H,17)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||1.42|
|Tyler Clippard (S,14)||1||2||0||0||0||2||0||1.73|
|Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 102-60, Ryan Mattheus 15-11, Sean Burnett 17-11, Tyler Clippard 21-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 9-3, Sean Burnett 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 24, Ryan Mattheus 3, Sean Burnett 4, Tyler Clippard 5|
|Attendance - 28032|
|Game Time - 3:02|
|Temperature - 101|
|Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Jim Joyce|