WASHINGTON -- Both the Nationals and left-hander Giovany Gonzalez have owned the Mets this season, a major reason why they are coasting to back-to-back National League East crowns.Gonzalez, aka "Double G" for Players Weekend, spun another gem Saturday afternoon, limiting New York to two runs in 6 2/3 innings to
WASHINGTON -- Both the Nationals and left-hander Giovany Gonzalez have owned the Mets this season, a major reason why they are coasting to back-to-back National League East crowns.
Gonzalez, aka "Double G" for Players Weekend, spun another gem Saturday afternoon, limiting New York to two runs in 6 2/3 innings to lead Washington to a 9-4 victory at Nationals Park. He has posted a 2.25 ERA and won all three starts this season against the Mets. This continued what has been a stellar season for Gonzalez, who owns a 0.79 ERA over his past five starts -- all wins.
"It's just trying to lock it in, stay focused, try not to get out of my game and try to do too much," Gonzalez said. "Every time I go out there I want to try to go deep in the game and save as much arm in the bullpen as possible."
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The Nationals won for the 10th time in 14 meetings with the Mets after their offense broke out for four unearned runs in the first inning against right-hander Robert Gsellman, who surrendered six runs (two earned) overall in four innings.
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"Nothing was down in the zone," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "You saw several hanging sliders and he didn't have his changeup working today. Just too many balls [around] the plate."
New York rallied to score a pair in the eighth, but Washington answered with three runs of its own in the bottom of the inning, highlighted by an RBI single from Adrian Sanchez after taking a fastball off his chest.
"That picked our team up and it brought the house down, too," Nationals manager Dusty Baker said. "Because everybody here loves Sanchy and we're all pulling for him big time. That was a big hit he got."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nats break out early: Washington's offense wasted no time putting this game on ice, and it did so with a little help from Mets. All four runs scored by the Nats in the first inning were unearned, thanks to a missed-catch error by Gsellman -- aka "G-man" -- and a wild pitch two batters later. No. 8 hitter Sanchez -- aka "El Chamo" -- provided the big blow with a two-run single.
"A lot of guys came out hot today … and we were able to go up early," Kendrick said. "And then Gio's done what he's always been doing. He's been pitching really well, and he did the same today."
Mets rally falls short: Down, 6-2, to start the eighth, New York had its best shot at a comeback of the afternoon. Wilmer Flores, aka "Catire," flied a two-run double down the right-field line with one out to breathe new life into the Mets' hopes. The ball landed on the outside edge of the foul line, and the fair ruling ultimately stood following a Nats challenge. But with the tying runs on base, Nats reliever Brandon Kintzler ended the threat by getting out of the inning without further damage.
Sanchez takes one off the chest: A scary moment occurred in the eighth inning, when Sanchez, who was squared around on a bunt attempt, took a 96-mph fastball off his chest from Mets right-hander Jeurys Familia, who was making his first appearance after more than three months on the disabled list. Sanchez stayed on the ground in pain for a few moments as team trainers and Baker came out to check on him. Eventually, he made it to his feet and walked slowly to first before being informed that the pitch was ruled a strike because he had squared around to bunt.
And Sanchez initially remained in the game and completed the at-bat by lacing a run-scoring single into left field, but after taking a few pitches as a baserunner on first base, he was replaced by pinch-runner Edwin Jackson. Sanchez was in the clubhouse after the game, talking and giving high-fives to teammates.
"It is very scary," Gonzalez said. "To get up and get that knock, just that's a whole nother level for that guy. He just -- that's superfreak. That's something out of this world."
Familia admitted afterward that hitting Sanchez was a scary moment, saying: "I feel bad because I don't want to hit nobody, I just want to do my job." More >
Mets: New York will close out its Players Weekend with a split doubleheader Sunday at Nationals Park. In the first game (1:35 p.m. ET first pitch), the Mets will send lefty Tommy Milone (1-3, 8.12 ERA) to the hill, with Seth Lugo (5-3, 4.85 ERA) to follow in the nightcap at 8:08 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Nationals: Washington hosts New York for a split doubleheader on Sunday at Nationals Park, with the first pitches scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET and 8:08 p.m. ET. Right-hander Erick Fedde -- the Nats' top pitching prospect and No. 3 prospect according to MLBPipeline -- will be promoted to start the Game 1. Then, right-hander Tanner Roark will start the nightcap.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.
Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor to MLB.com based in Washington and covered the Mets on Friday.