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Instant analysis: Nats 9, Mets 0

Sep 9, 2013, 10:00 PM EST

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Game in a nutshell: The Nationals wasted no time at all pouncing on Mets right-hander Carlos Torres. Two batters into this game, they already led 2-0 thanks to back-to-back homers from Denard Span and Ryan Zimmerman. They never let up, blasting three more homers by the fifth inning to take a commanding, 9-run lead. Given that kind of cushion, Gio Gonzalez was free to go right after New York’s hitters without fear, and the left-hander did it brilliantly. He issued a one-out walk in the first, then retired 17 batters in a row, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh. Alas, pinch-hitter Zach Lutz opened the seventh with a liner that just grazed the chalk behind first base, foiling Gonzalez’s attempt at history. He settled for a mere 1-hit shutout and his 10th win of the year. Thus the Nationals won for the 20th time in 29 games and now sit 5 games over .500, matching the high-point of their season. And with the Reds’ loss to the Cubs, the deficit in the NL Wild Card race is back down to 7 games.

Hitting highlight: How about five hitting highlights, each of them landing over the fence? It wouldn’t be fair to prioritize one of the Nationals’ home runs over the others, so let’s just run through them all: 1) Span opened the game by launching a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right, his fourth homer of the season and extending his hitting streak to 20 games, 2) Zimmerman followed seconds later with a bomb to left-center, his 21st of the year and his sixth in seven games, 3) Jayson Werth aggressively went after Torres’ first-pitch fastball in the third, crushing a 3-run homer, his 22nd of the season, 4) Tyler Moore led off the fourth with his fourth, a solo shot just to the left of the giant apple behind the center-field wall, 5) Wilson Ramos put the definitive stamp on this one, blasting a 3-run homer in the fifth, his 12th of the year. At that moment, the Nationals had six hits in the game, five of them home runs.

Pitching highlight: Gonzalez has been known to nibble around the strike zone when supplied a big lead, a pet peeve that drives Davey Johnson nuts. How ecstatic must the veteran skipper have been tonight to see his left-hander go right after the Mets lineup and not waste any time or pitches? Gonzalez issued the early walk to Daniel Murphy, then cruised after that. He mixed in his fastball, curveball and changeup effectively, kept his pitch count down and carried a no-hitter into the seventh. And if not for Lutz’s single that hit he chalk behind first base, he would’ve thrown the first no-hitter in Nationals history. Instead, he settled for the second 1-hitter in team history, matching earlier this year by Jordan Zimmermann.

Key stat: During his 20-game hitting streak, Span has raised his batting average from .258 to .282.

Up next: Jordan Zimmermann gets the ball for the second game of this four-game series, seeking his NL-leading 17th win. Notorious Nationals-killer Dillon Gee starts for the Mets at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.

  1. janebeard - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    AWESOME GAME Gio, and guys!

  2. MicheleS - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:02 PM


  3. nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Dodgers cant beat the Reds however the Cubs did!

  4. natsfan1a - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Sounds like I need to watch the replay. Just got back into town after a trip to Ohio to visit family. As soon as we got into DC radio range this evening, we tuned to WTOP for traffic and weather. Dang. There were more pointy-ball updates than traffic and weather updates. Not being really big on pointy-ball, we were making fun of them. OMG. RG III ran through the tunnel. And he HAD A FLAG! OMG. And they all – wait, there’s a Nat update. Oh, make that a gnat update. One landed on RG III’s head. AND IT BIT HIM! OMG. (I don’t know what happened after that because we tuned to another station.) Anyhoo. Nice to be back home, and am looking forward to watching some baseball. btw, we were in Cleveland area, and football rules there, too. Was reading the local paper at breakfast this morning. I asked my husband, “Where’s the main section? I want to see the news.” He’s like, “That *is* the main section.” I thought it was the sports section, as the whole page was football. Dang.

  5. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:05 PM

    20-9. Not bad. Just a shame nobody else has fallen off.

    • Eugene in Oregon - Sep 9, 2013 at 10:20 PM

      Exactly. And Pirates appear poised to beat the Rangers in Texas.

    • scmargenau - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:25 AM

      If u told me 20-9 a month ago I would swear we’d be within a few games at most. Damn it!

  6. David Proctor - Sep 9, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Amanda Comak ‏@acomak now
    LaRoche: “I’m begging (ump) ‘Make something up. Tell ’em I called timeout before pitch, interference, something.’ Ah it just makes me sick.”

  7. naterialguy - Sep 9, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Congratulations Gio. what a game pitched. What a classy kid. It makes me wonder howmuch the whole biogenesis issue weighed on him this spring. He deserves and I truly believe will get a no hitter in his list of accomplishments for the Nats one day.

  8. David Proctor - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Has anyone read the article on Ryan Zimmerman? It’s a must-read:

    • Joe Seamhead - Sep 10, 2013 at 7:30 AM

      I read it. Though he has horrible D-stats for 2013, I still expect him back, and better, at third next year.

      • NatsLady - Sep 10, 2013 at 8:08 AM

        So do I. The question is LaRoche/Moore.

  9. Sonny G 10 - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    I got to watch a lot of the game on MLB.TV. The campground internet connection is not bad but still not fast enough to keep from having to restart MLB.TV numerous times. Good night from Wyoming.

  10. Mrsb loves the Nats - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    I recorded the game.. Can’t wait to watch it….

    Just heard about Buck and Girardi getting into it – anyone know what happened?

    Totally glad the Nats won!!!

  11. Theophilus T.S. - Sep 10, 2013 at 8:32 AM

    I’m happy Gonzalez threw strikes (for a change) but let’s not get all dramatic about beating a lineup the other 29 teams wouldn’t have sent to a split-squad Spring Training road game. If they lose either of the next two games it’s an embarrassment.





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