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Gio unfazed by long layoff in beating Giants

Nationals lefty allows just Posey's solo homer over seven stellar innings

WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez's start last Saturday in Philadelphia won't show up in any record books. It lasted 18 pitches and, with the game being postponed after a little more than one inning due to rain, officially, it never happened.

So, with 10 days between starts, Gonzalez's seven innings of one-run ball against San Francisco in Washington's 2-1 win Friday night is all the more impressive.

"I've had a rough career with extra rest," Gonzalez said. "And to see that bounce back, especially against a great team like the Giants, it's just a breath of fresh air. Especially with [catcher Jose Lobaton] calling a great game and working on what I needed to work on, [which] was attacking the strike zone and keeping [the ball] down."

Gonzalez allowed a leadoff single in each of the first three innings, but those runners never amounted to more than a slight nuisance. Outside those three hits, he didn't surrender a hit or walk in the first five innings, striking out four over that span. He finished with six strikeouts and did not walk a batter for the first time since Sept. 12, 2014.

Video: [email protected]: Gio pitches seven frames of one-run ball

"He was strong tonight," said manager Matt Williams. "Of course, the heavy layoff, it was important to get his work in between. But he was really strong."

Gonzalez's one blemish came in the top of the seventh inning when Buster Posey blasted a fastball for the game's first run. Still, the result was more a product of Posey's hitting prowess than it was a mistake from Gonzalez.

"[It was a] ball down," Williams said. "It may not even have been a strike."

Unflustered, the left-hander retired the next three hitters in order, ending his night after seven strong innings.

Two batters into the bottom of the inning, the script was flipped, and Gonzalez went from the potential losing pitcher to the winning one.

Clint Robinson smashed his fourth career home run with Bryce Harper on base to cap the scoring in favor of the Nationals.

"When you get down, you've just got to claw your way back and find a way to get some runs across," Robinson said. "Gio did his job and limited the damage after that. He really beared down and got us into the next inning. So to answer in that inning is huge."

Over his last two official starts, Gonzalez has pitched 14 innings and allowed one earned run, striking out 10 and walking two.

Jacob Emert is an associate reporter for
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