Gonzalez claims 13th win as Nationals top Mets
WASHINGTON — There are probably a lot of nicknames that Gio Gonzalez could have used on the back of his jersey for Players Weekend.
The outgoing pitcher is one of the more popular players with the Washington Nationals, and he was given a nice ovation as he left in the top of the seventh inning Saturday.
Gonzalez, wearing Double G on his jersey, won his 13th game of the season as he allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings as the first-place Nationals beat the New York Mets 9-4.
“He is just a quality pitcher,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “And they’ve got the offense, they get their runs for him. I have seen Gio an awful lot. He knows what he is doing. He can pitch inside to righties. He keeps you in the game.”
Gonzalez was certainly happy to see his teammates produce 13 hits and go 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
“It is cool,” Gonzalez said of Players Weekend. “They look like Little Leaguers having fun.”
It wasn’t so fun for the Mets, who are 4-10 against the Nationals this season. They have lost the last four times Gonzalez has started against them.
“Gio has done what he always has been doing,” Washington left fielder Howie Kendrick said. “He has been pitching really well.”
Wilmer Flores was 4-for-4 with three RBIs for the Mets, including a two-run double in eighth inning that cut the lead to 6-4 against reliever Brandon Kintzler.
But Adrian Sanchez (two hits, three RBIs) had an RBI single for Washington in the bottom of the eighth to make it 7-4. Kendrick (two hits) had an RBI single and Wilmer Difo followed with a run-scoring single to make it 9-4 in a three-run outburst.
Gonzalez (13-5), who gave up six hits with two strikeouts and one walk, won his fifth start in a row and has not lost at home since July 6 to the Atlanta Braves. His ERA is 2.40 after he posted a 4.57 ERA last season.
Washington scored four unearned runs in the first inning to take a 4-0 lead. Difo, the second batter of the game, reached on an error by Mets starter Robert Gsellman with one out and that opened the floodgates.
Difo (two hits) scored on a wild pitch, Adam Lind drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Sanchez had a two-run single with the bases loaded to make it 4-0.
Juan Lagares had an RBI single for the Mets (56-72) in the third to trim the margin to 5-1.
Anthony Rendon (two hits) had an RBI single to make it 6-1 in the fourth against Gsellman (5-6), who has not won a game since June 10.
Flores tied a career high with his 16th homer of the season, a solo shot in the sixth that made it 6-2.
Gsellman gave up nine hits and six runs (two earned) with two walks and one strikeout in four innings.
“Certainly we have some work ahead of us,” Collins said of Gsellman. “He didn’t have the change up working today. Too many balls on the plate.
“He is still a young guy. Last year when he came up there was a whole different circumstance. He hasn’t been too consistent with his two-seamer.”
Michael A. Taylor was 3-for-4 and scored twice for Washington (77-50). Reyes and Kevin Plawecki had two hits for the Mets.
But the day belonged to Gonzalez, who turned in his 21st quality start and has a 0.79 ERA in his last five starts.
“He’s getting his breaking ball over, which they have to be aware of, and then he throws his sinker or a changeup or a fastball in,” Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. “He has everything going for him right now.”
NOTES: Mets OF Yoenis Cespedes (right hamstring strain), who was hurt in the first inning Friday, went on the disabled list and RHP Dustin McGowan was sent to Triple-A Las Vegas. The Mets selected the contract of OF Travis Taijeron from Triple-A Las Vegas and he started in his MLB debut and was 0-for-4. Also, the Mets activated INF Jose Reyes (sore left ribcage) from the DL and he was 2-for-5. ... The Mets plan to start LHP Tommy Milone (1-3, 8.12) and RHP Seth Lugo (5-3, 4.85) in the day-night doubleheader Sunday. Washington RHP Erick Fedde (0-1, 10.61) is slated to start the first game and RHP Tanner Roark (10-8, 4.64) is slated to start the second game for the Nationals. ... Washington 1B Ryan Zimmerman (left triceps) did not play for the second day in a row. Manager Dusty Baker said he was hurt sliding into home headfirst on Thursday night.