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Washington at Houston

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Washington (68-43) «120000100470
Houston (36-76)100100001391

Nats' Gonzalez belts first career HR, defeats Astros in first complete game

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson admits he's a hugger and that he heaped embraces on Gio Gonzalez after his big game Wednesday night.

For the break he gave Washington's overused bullpen, Johnson thinks his relievers should be lining up to hug him, too.

Gonzalez pitched a nine-inning complete game and hit a home run -- both career firsts -- to lead the Nationals to a 4-3 victory against the Houston Astros.

Johnson was hoping Gonzalez (14-6) could go deep into this game after his bullpen had been taxed with games of 11 and 12 innings to start this series.

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He got just what he wanted from Gonzalez, whose other complete game was an eight-inning outing when he was with Oakland in a 4-1 loss to the White Sox on Aug. 1, 2010.

"Gio couldn't have been any better," Johnson said. "He pitched an outstanding ball game ... it was just a great outing by him to save the bullpen."

Things got dicey in the ninth when he allowed three hits and a run and had the tying run on third before striking out Matt Downs to end the game.

He allowed nine hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Gonzalez broke a 1-1 tie with his two-run, first-pitch home run into the Crawford Boxes in left field in the second inning.

"I couldn't enjoy it too much," Gonzalez said of the home run. "It was one of those things where you hit it and you're like: 'Oh that felt good,' and then move forward after that."

Gonzalez couldn't suppress his grin after the game and talked about the 52 text messages he had waiting for him. He had already placed his home run ball proudly in the top of his locker.

"It means a lot. The first time in my career going nine innings [and] also getting the home run," he said. "Today is one of those things where you can just can smile about it, but tomorrow is a new day,"

Houston cut the lead to 3-2 in the fourth inning but Washington added an insurance run on an error in the seventh.

Astros starter Armando Galarraga (0-2) yielded six hits and three runs with six walks in five-plus innings to remain winless in three starts this season since being promoted from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

"I need to make an adjustment," he said. "I need to make a big adjustment. I threw the ball bad. I need to be honest with myself. Six walks after seven walks. There's not an excuse for that. I have to make an adjustment and work on my mechanics."

Brandon Barnes got his first career hit on a single with one out in the ninth. Barnes scored from second on a single by Ben Francisco with two outs to get Houston within 4-3.

Jose Altuve singled after that before Gonzalez got Downs to wrap up his big night.

Galarraga got off to a tough start, walking the first two batters he faced. Ryan Zimmerman followed with a single, but Steve Lombardozzi couldn't beat the throw and was out at home.

Washington took a 1-0 lead when Bryce Harper scored on a balk. The play first looked to be a sacrifice fly by Adam LaRoche, but replays showed that home plate umpire Angel Hernandez called the balk before Galarraga threw the pitch that LaRoche hit.

Altuve hit a leadoff double for Houston and scored on a single by Justin Maxwell to tie it at 1.

With Washington up 3-2 after Gonzalez's home run, J.D. Martinez singled with one out in the fourth, took second on a balk and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Corporan to get Houston within 3-2.

The Nationals were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

A big opportunity came in the sixth when Jayson Werth walked to start the inning before Danny Espinosa singled. Kurt Suzuki drew a walk to load the bases and chase Galarraga who was replaced by Xavier Cedeno. Gonzalez grounded into a forceout. Cedeno then retired Lombardozzi and struck out Harper.

Harper was unhappy with a couple of the calls during the at-bat. First he headed toward first base on a 3-1 count that was called a strike and later yelled: "No way" when he struck out looking.

Harper is 0 for 11 in this series and Johnson plans to give him a day off Thursday.

"He's pressing a little bit," Johnson said. "I'll give him the day off ... and let him regroup a little bit. He didn't have good [at-bats], so I'll let him step back a little bit."

Zimmerman doubled in the seventh and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored and Werth reached on an error by third baseman Downs when he bounced the throw to first base.

Notes

  • Nationals LF Michael Morse singled in the fourth inning to extend his career-long hitting streak to 17 games.
  • Johnson said before the game that Werth, who was held out of Tuesday's lineup with soreness in his legs, was better on Wednesday, but "not good enough to play center field."
  • These teams wrap up the four-game series on Thursday when Washington right-hander Jordan Zimmermann opposes Lucas Harrell.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Nationals manager Davey Johnson congratulates Gio Gonzalez on his first career complete game.  (Getty Images)
Nationals manager Davey Johnson congratulates Gio Gonzalez on his first career complete game. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Washington

G. Gonzalez
IP 9.0
H 9
ER 3
BB 2
K 7
Houston

J. Altuve
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Washington Nationals
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Stephen Lombardozzi, 2B4010103 .258
Bryce Harper, CF3100224 .251
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B5120002 .278
Adam LaRoche, 1B4000112 .271
Michael Morse, LF5010013 .298
    Roger Bernadina, LF0000000 .276
Jayson Werth, RF4010100 .303
Danny Espinosa, SS2010200 .244
Kurt Suzuki, C2100115 .217
Gio Gonzalez, P4112023 .116
Totals3347287  
Batting
2B - Stephen Lombardozzi (14, Galarraga), Ryan Zimmerman (25, Fick), Jayson Werth (6, Galarraga)
HR - Gio Gonzalez (1, Galarraga)
RBI - Gio Gonzalez 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Gio Gonzalez 2 (3)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Espinosa-Lombardozzi-LaRoche
Washington Nationals
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Gio Gonzalez (W,14-6) 9933270 3.32
HBP - Pearce (by Gio Gonzalez)
WP - Gio Gonzalez (9)
Pitches-Strikes - Gio Gonzalez 117-74
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Gio Gonzalez 12-7
Batters Faced - Gio Gonzalez 38
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B4120110 .300
Matt Downs, 3B5010014 .209
Steve Pearce, 1B3010001 .280
Justin Maxwell, RF3021110 .253
J.D. Martinez, LF3110002 .237
    Chuckie Fick, P0000000 .000
   a- Chris Snyder, PH1000002 .173
    Rhiner Cruz, P0000000 .000
Carlos Corporan, C3001003 .273
Brandon Barnes, CF4110010 .143
Marwin Gonzalez, SS4000010 .247
Armando Galarraga, P2000010 .000
    Xavier Cedeno, P0000000 .000
    Ben Francisco, LF2011010 .255
    Brian Bogusevic, PR0000000 .210
Totals3439327  
a-grounded out for Fick in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jose Altuve (27, G. Gonzalez)
SF - Carlos Corporan (1)
RBI - Justin Maxwell (37), Carlos Corporan (7), Ben Francisco (7)
2-OUT RBI - Ben Francisco (3)
SB - Jose Altuve (23, 2nd base off G. Gonzalez/Suzuki)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Gonzalez-Altuve-Pearce
E - Matt Downs (6, Throwing)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Armando Galarraga (L,0-2) 5633651 5.28
Xavier Cedeno 1000010 3.94
Chuckie Fick 2110210 5.87
Rhiner Cruz 1000000 7.41
IBB - Espinosa by Chuckie Fick
HBP - Suzuki (by Armando Galarraga)
WP - Chuckie Fick (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Armando Galarraga 100-54, Xavier Cedeno 12-8, Chuckie Fick 30-19, Rhiner Cruz 4-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Armando Galarraga 4-4, Xavier Cedeno 1-1, Chuckie Fick 5-1, Rhiner Cruz 2-1
Batters Faced - Armando Galarraga 26, Xavier Cedeno 3, Chuckie Fick 10, Rhiner Cruz 3
Game Information
Attendance - 16038
Game Time - 2:58
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Chris Conroy, Third Base - Mark Carlson