Sep 11, 2012, 4:32 AM EDT
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Gio Gonzalez walked five but emerged with his MLB-leading 19th win.
NEW YORK — It was by no means his best performance of the season, but it didn’t need to be. Thanks to some early support from what has suddenly becomes baseball’s most power-laden lineup, Gio Gonzalez needed only navigate his way through six quality innings Monday night to emerge as baseball’s first 19-game winner of 2012.
And the Nationals, despite failing to record a hit after the fourth inning, still managed to pull off a thoroughly convincing, 5-1 victory over the Mets that moved them yet another step closer to October baseball.
Combined with the Braves’ loss in Milwaukee, the Nationals saw their lead in the NL East grow to 6 1/2 games with 21 to play, their magic number drop to 15. The number to secure their first-ever postseason berth dropped to single digits: 9.
“Great win,” manager Davey Johnson said. “And I think we eliminated the Mets from the pennant race, didn’t we?”
Indeed, they did. Two days after knocking the Marlins officially out of contention for the division title, they did the same to New York.
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