Gio Gonzalez pitches Nationals past Marlins 5-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 8, 2014 at 10:49 pm •  Published: April 8, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — As soon as he got a close look at Gio Gonzalez in spring training, new Washington Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton knew he was going to encourage the left-hander to throw more changeups.

So far, so good: Gonzalez has allowed one run through 12 innings this season. His second start came Tuesday night, when he gave up only three singles over six innings to lead the Nationals to a 5-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.

Mixing in extra changeups along with his low-90s mph fastball and top-notch curveball, Gonzalez allowed one baserunner to get as far as second, retired his last 10 batters, and improved to 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA.

"If you've got a third pitch working," Lobaton said, "it's going to be fun."

One side benefit of going to the breaking ball? Gonzalez's fastball, which normally is at about 93 or 94 mph, is "going to look 95-96," Lobaton said.

Gonzalez, who was born in Hialeah, Fla., has won his last four starts against the Marlins. His 3-0 mark against them in 2013 was part of the Nationals' 14-5 edge in the series against Miami a year ago.

"He was effectively wild tonight and he made the pitches when he had to," said Miami's Jeff Baker, who went 0 for 3. "With his stuff, even when he's out of the zone, it's still going to be a battle. That's the way it is every time you face him."

Adam LaRoche had three hits and drove in a run off Henderson Alvarez (0-2). Anthony Rendon went 2 for 4 with three RBIs as Washington improved to 5-2.

Miami entered an NL-best 5-2, a year after finishing with a league-high 100 losses. Led by Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins were averaging a majors-best six runs a game, but they couldn't solve Gonzalez or four relievers.

Stanton went 1 for 4 with a single; it was his first game in 2014 without an RBI. Miami put runners on second and third with two outs in the seventh against Drew Storen, but pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs flied out.