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Instant analysis: Nats 10, Cardinals 0

Sep 1, 2012, 2:06 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals were all smiles during this rout.

Game in a nutshell: It's not supposed to be this easy, right? Especially against the defending World Series champs, who had been playing as well as anybody in baseball until this week. Well, the Nationals have taken the Cardinals to the woodshed two nights in a row now, following up Thursday's 8-1 thumping with tonight's rout. This one was all the more impressive because much of the damage came against former 20-game winner Adam Wainwright, who was knocked out after giving up six runs in only 2 2/3 innings. The Nationals worked the count against the right-hander, forcing him to throw a whopping 86 pitches, and got contributions from just about everyone in their lineup. That freed up Gio Gonzalez to go right after St. Louis' hitters, which the lefty did. Gonzalez didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning and he carried a shutout into the ninth, given a standing ovation as he took the mound in search of the complete game. He pulled it off, earning his first career shutout, energizing the crowd of 29,499 and sending the Nationals to their 80th win of the season (matching last year's total) and only one shy of the club record set in 2005.

Hitting highlight: It seems like we're highlighting Jayson Werth here on an almost-nightly basis, but it's impossible to ignore what the guy is doing right now. He racked up three more hits and two more walksRead more ยป

  1. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Well done, Nats! You kept the pressure on the entire game — pitching and offense — and never let up. Keep applying that approach to the rest of this series and the rest of the homestand. Don't worry about the Braves; just play your immediate opponent.

  2. Swift Eagle - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    Hope it wasn't Menthol Shave Cream!…That was a direct hit

  3. ehay2k - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:09 AM

    Another series win. That's the plan. Keep it up and jewelry comes as the reward.

  4. LoveDaNats - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    Gio is pretty freakin' bueno! As are all of them. I love this team!!

  5. The Fox - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    A message has been sent to the NL! This team has come to play. Hope they have not peaked too soon.Happy Happy Joy Joy!

  6. ehay2k - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:20 AM

    Wait, we need a WOOOOOO HOOOOO!(TM MicheleS) OK, done.

  7. natsfan1a - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    That was awesome! As they showed fan's cheering Gio as he headed back to the dugout after the 8th, he was so focused and serious, I said "He doesn't think he's done yet. He's going back out again in the 9th unless somebody physically restrains him." Loved the smiley face on the up-ended Gatorade bucket during the postgame interview. Perfect for Gio. :-)

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    not a series win, ehay2k. two more left I think.anyways, great win. planning to watch the whole game tomorrow morning.

  9. MicheleS - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!

  10. peric - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Well now we know what Davey is going to tell the FO this offseason: see I told you we didn't need a lead-off CF? We have everything we need right here in house.And Werth is the perfect lead-off hitter in that he still has enough power to keep pitchers and fielders honest, a great batting eye. Thank the baseball gods he has had a change of heart about slotting in at leadoff. Doubtless he probably won't change his mind about moving from right field to center field. But honestly, I think Bryce Harper has pretty much sewn that position up for now. Unless he grows some more which is certainly possible given his brother's late growth.

  11. ehay2k - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Faraz, you are correct, not a win, but in a four game series, a tie is as good as a win in my book, in the course of a season.

  12. ehay2k - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:25 AM

    Actually rooting for the Philthies right now in bottom of ninth…

  13. JaneB - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    What a great night for Gio! And the smiley face was perfect for him. And Werth as the lead off guy is bringing it. What is the alchemy that makes him perfect now for that? Whatever it is, it's right on time. Can't wait to go tomorrow! I want to leave now.

  14. Drew - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:33 AM

    A talented ballclub goes into a funk. Its hitters look powerless against a couple of excellent starting pitchers.Its fielders start making ugly mistakes, needlessly giving runners extra bases.The Cardinals look like the Nats did in Philadelphia.I'm glad we've dominated them so far, but they're too talented and too seasoned to stay down for long.GYFNG!

  15. The Fox - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:35 AM

    The Suzuki pick up was worth it just to have Gio pitch to him. Gio is so comfortable and confident pitching to him. The Nats rotations is as good as any team even without Strasburg. Anything can happen in a short series but if this team stays healthy they are as good as any team in baseball.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    And they get back Lance Berkman tomorrow. I'm not sure what he has left but he still could be a dangerous bat.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    And somebody let rabbit know, we don't need any more bats.

  18. ehay2k - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:38 AM

    Berkman especially dangerous when non-calls on checked swings are involved.I will never forget that BS call in Tex**.

  19. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Phillies just got 3-run homer in 10th.

  20. Gonat - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Phillies up 8-5 in 10th

  21. ehay2k - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    Mayberry – three run HR in top of tenth.

  22. Gonat - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Kimbrel blows the save BTW

  23. peric - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Three run homer by Mayberry they're doing the same thing to the Braves that they did to the Nats … these Philthies look like they just might have a September to remember. Watch out wildcard … you never know.

  24. ehay2k - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:42 AM

    Daaaang – this site faster than the Twitter!

  25. Sec.3, My Sofa - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    The Phillies might even make it back to .500.It could happen.

  26. Drew - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Woo hoo! Thank you, Phillies.I have only one Nats-related concern. Shouldn't somebody report the guy with the creepy stache who's hanging around the WB Mason kids' clubhouse?

  27. The Fox - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    The Cardinals are a good team, they are a very good hitting team. Before the Nats explosion of 18 runs in the last 2 games the Cardinals had scored the most runs in the NL. I'm not taking the Cardinals lightly but the Nats have shut them down without giving up an earned run in 18 innings. Zimmermann pitches against Lohse who is 14-2 tomorrow but if ZNN pitches well we will have seen our top 3 non-Strasburg pitchers throw against as good a hitting post season team that they might see in October. Nothing is guaranteed but we are the team to be beat and that is a very strange and wonderful feeling.

  28. Sec.3, My Sofa - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    I'm glad I'm not the only one creeped out by that, Drew.

  29. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:51 AM

    One thing to like about this team is the way the players give credit to their teammates: Harper saying he takes inspiration from Werth batting in front of him; M. Gonzalez — who's 35(?) and been around forever — saying he's learning from G. Gonzalez and Detwiler, etc. The chemistry is fantastic, much better than the good Orioles teams of the mid-90s.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Barves Barf Bags for sale! Forget the Tomahawk Chop, its the Tomahawk Choke!

  31. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    Phillies win, 8-5. What a pleasant pair of results.

  32. JaneB - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    Braves lose! Braves lose! We are up 6.5!

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 1, 2012 at 2:58 AM

    6.5 hole for the Barves

  34. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    With due respect to those touting the Cardinals offense, a lot of it is seriously over-rated. Espec. w/ Jay, Shumacher and whatever lightweight is playing shortstop. Jay and Shumacher both hitting over .300 and 2 TB between them so far in this series. If Jay hit doubles, he'd be dangerous. Instead he's slapping singles to the opposite field — not a threat. So there are four spots in the batting order you can go right at without much chance of being seriously hurt. Plus Beltran appears to be fading badly.Nats should sweep.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    Theo, the stats back up the Cards are an excellent hitting team. If you are saying their 7-8 hitters aren't HR threats, how many teams have power throughout.Give Nats pitchers credit and never under estimate your opponent.

  36. Steady Eddie - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    Peric — only thing about the Phils coming back is that they play us 6 times, home and away next month. We will come loaded for bear in the away series in payback for last weekend. Plus we play them at home last 3 of the regular season, and Davey will not let our guys forget how we helped set them up for their playoff loss by sweeping 4 at CBP in late Sept. The Phil's have become a tough team again but any Phils prayer of a WC has to go through us.

  37. Gonat - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Theo, the stats back up the Cards are an excellent hitting team. If you are saying their 7-8 hitters aren't HR threats, how many teams have power throughout.Give Nats pitchers credit and never under estimate your opponent. ______________________________ "never under estimate your opponent." Yah, kind of like the Phillies did in the NLDS last year and probably what the Brewers did in the NLCS and the Rangers in the WS.

  38. peric - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Yes, and I wouldn't underestimate the Phillies given the way they have been playing … they just might sneak up on everyone when they aren't looking!

  39. Steady Eddie - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Peric, after last weekend I can guarantee you Davey and our guys are looking — real hard.

  40. peric - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:15 AM

    Peric — only thing about the Phils coming back is that they play us 6 times, home and away next month. We will come loaded for bear in the away series in payback for last weekend.I have a bad feeling the Phillies might just be looking forward to those 6 games and especially the final 3 games of the season at National's Park. Manual has them playing extremely well considering the great collapse at the beginning of the season.

  41. The Fox - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    TheophilusYou may say the Cardinals offense is over-rated but in the NL only the Reds have a better line-up. The loss of Furcal is big but getting Berkman back will help. Atlanta is no more than as good and the Giants, Dodgers and Pirates are weaker hitting teams IMHO. I think those are all the teams that might make the post season maybe the D-back could sneak in but their line-up does not strike fear in me.I'll agree that the Cardinals aren't a great hitting team compared to teams in the past but out of the current crop they constitute a playoff caliber line up to me.

  42. Dan - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    Nats magic numbers….25 for division, 22 for wild card. GYFNG.

  43. Gonat - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    Clearly the Cards aren't folding and neither are the Phillies. The players the Phils got rid of weren't performing well including Blanton who was their #5Mathematically the Phils are still alive but a combination of three of: the Dodgers, Pirates, Braves and Cardinals would all have to choke badly.

  44. Swift Eagle - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:22 AM

    The Cards have built up a lot of those batting stats playing a bunch of games against Hou, CHC, and Mil….When the Phillies are healthy (like they are now), 3 of the top 4 NL teams are in the East…Not to mention having to play the AL East in inter-league…

  45. SonnyG10 - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    Hot Diggity Dog. Braves lose, Nats win, and Gio gets his first career complete game shutout. We have 80 wins,equaling last year's total and will pass the Nats record of 81 wins with just two more wins. What a great day to be a Nats fan!!!!

  46. MicheleS - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:24 AM

    I love this team! My entire section was on their feet for 8th & 9th. GIO GIO! Great game tonight!

  47. SonnyG10 - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    I was at home, Michele, but I was on my feet in the ninth inning cheering right along with the fans at the park.

  48. Gonat - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Gio's mom was in the Prez Club and leading cheers for Gio too.

  49. The Fox - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    My point was that the post season roster which the Nats will submit tonight will have pitchers on it that can dominant a game against play-off caliber teams even without that Stephen guy.The Phillies would have to pull 3 inside straights in a row to make the playoff. The multiple collapse of so many teams that also play each other a few more times make the mathematics of it extremely remote.

  50. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:31 AM

    I'm with peric on not taking the Phillies for granted. Even though they're eight games back, there are only two teams — the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers — between them and the second wild card (although admittedly there are two teams tied for that slot). It wouldn't be easy, but it's far from impossible.Luckily, the Nats don't have to worry about making up ground on anyone. They just need to keep playing their own game, winning more than they lose.

  51. MicheleS - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    Until the number is at zero, you take no one for granted!

  52. Maurymania - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    Glad to see everyone has relaxed and the Trolls have receded. I mentioned thee days ago that in a week we would be back up by 6.5 games. Little did I know it would take only three days. Now, if we lose a game here and there (like tomorrow against a 14-2 pitcher), the sky will not be falling. Even though we haven't "been there", as a fan base…let's act like we've been there before and appreciate what Rizzo and Davey have wrought. Jeez, what a ride!

  53. The Fox - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    Eugene,ESPN gives the odd of the Phillies making the playoffs as .1 or the same as the Royals or Blue Jays. The Milwaukee Brewers are 4 times as likely to make the playoff at .4. As the season comes to a close its very important how many teams are ahead you because the teams ahead of you play each other and someone has to win. The Phillies could still hurt many clubs but they cannot make the playoffs.

  54. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    Just visited the Atlanta Journal's baseball blog. Not a happy place. Not at all.

  55. Section 222 - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    Fantastic night. Gio was masterful and the team played with enthusiasm and intensity. I just love how they took advantage of their opportunities early, built a lead, and never gave an inch. That pick by LaRoche ought to be a webgem. He put his right hand in harm's way, catching a Gio fastball without a catcher's mitt.Fun to hang in 308 with 308 and his son for part of the game. Watching baseball with virtual friends who have become real friends is a blast.

  56. sjm308 - Sep 1, 2012 at 3:57 AM

    Hey everyone:Just got back from my second game in two nights.18-1!!!! I have never been so relaxed. It seemed like every time we needed a big hit, BAMM!Loved the Gio cheer in the 9th inning.I realize it has probably been commented on but the LaRoche pick on the bunt when the game was still close was a terrific play.Again, when we score first – WE WIN!!There was so much negativity during the losing streak and people saying the only way to learn is from loss – or something to that extent. I think you gain just as much from winning, if not more.I am also guessing Swift Eagle has now got to go out searching for his legion as they have all probably jumped off a cliff or something. Don't worry Swift, they will be back just as soon as we lose a few in a row.Go Nats!! Score First!! Go Playoffs!!Oh, Wonk – I have one of the t-shirts from tonight. Let me know if you want it since it has your name on it. I can bring it to the game on Monday and you know where I sit.Also, fun talking baseball with my whole section but we got a guest appearance from Sec 222. Very nice pictures of his vacation in Europe.

  57. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 1, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    Fox @ 11:44 p.m.: Fair enough. And I guess my main point is less about them having a real chance and more about not taking them for granted in September. Whether they're playing for that minuscule 0.1 percent chance, out of some sense of professional pride, or simply to play the spoiler against both the Nats and the Braves, now that the Phillies finally have a more-or-less fully healthy pitching staff, a more-or-less healthy right side of the infield, and a couple of players (e.g., John Mayberry, that new third baseman, are maybe also Dominic Brown) who are showcasing themselves for the future, they are a pretty darn good ball club. So I'll agree that they won't make the playoffs, but I also expect them to finish ahead of the Diamondbacks, maybe the Pirates, and perhaps even the Dodgers (I'm just not sure this 'buy a team in August' deal is going to work out for them). We'll see.

  58. peric - Sep 1, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    If Harper and Werth ahead of him, keep doing what they've been doing the Nats will be very hard to beat by anyone including the Phillies. Let's hope Steady Eddie is right and they take the Phillies seriously in the next two series … as serious as a heart attack.

  59. The Fox - Sep 1, 2012 at 4:45 AM

    Eugene,I agree with you completely I usually do and I always read your post. The Phillies have a dangerous team and can put a hurting on anyone. Holiday, Hamels, and Lee are still excellent pitchers and now that Howard and Utley are playing they have a good line up. I was surprised that Rollins had to be benched for not running out a pop up that was dropped for an error but I give Charlie Manuel credit for not playing out the string. The Phillies are better than their record and will probably overtake the D-back but will still have a hard time overtaking the Pirates and Dodgers. The Braves will really have to choke not to get one of the spots but any one team can choke bad enough to miss the playoffs, (even the Nats although not likely) just all of them can't choke because they play each other and someone has to win.Got to go to bed, celebrate Gio and the Nats win and drink one the those great Micro-brews they make in Oregon.

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