WASHINGTON (AP) — Gio Gonzalez needed to be spot on with his pitches Friday night. No, not because he was facing the St. Louis Cardinals. His mother was sitting right behind home plate.
Gonzalez was pretty close to perfect with his No. 1 fan always in view, earning his 17th win with his first career shutout as the Washington Nationals routed the St. Louis Cardinals 10-0.
"Imagine seeing (Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki's) face, then the umpire then my mom," said Gonzalez, who allowed five hits. "It was like, 'Uh oh, can't disappoint you ma.'
"You can hear her on every at-bat, 'swing, do this,' and I'm like someone has to keep her quiet over there," Gonzalez said, joyful. "One of those kind of things when you have your whole family here you want to step it up and enjoy it."
Adam LaRoche, Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman each drove in two runs and the Nationals sent 10 batters to the plate during a four-run third inning against Wainwright (13-11), who entered 5-0 in August.
Perfect through three innings, Gonzalez (17-7) held the suddenly anemic St. Louis lineup hitless through four innings. He finished with eight strikeouts and walked three during his 119-pitch outing en route to his fourth win in five starts.
The left-hander tied Cincinnati's Johnny Cueto and New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey for the major league lead in wins.
The 26-year-old Gonzalez's father watched his son's third complete game from another location in the stadium.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson had a 120-pitch count on Gonzalez.
"He took me right to the edge," Johnson said. "I might have let him go over my predetermined number otherwise I'd have had Gio hassling me all week," Johnson said. "What a great effort."
Admittedly running on fumes late, Gonzalez received a pick me up with the remaining crowd hollering "Let's go Gio!" as he strode to the mound in the ninth. Two runners reached, the punchless Cardinals came up empty, finishing 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
"It felt like it was a boost of energy, like having a Red Bull there in ninth," Gonzalez said.
Zimmerman smacked a two-run homer in the eighth inning and Jayson Werth had three hits for the NL East-leading Nationals. Since scoring six runs during a recent five-game losing streak, the Nationals have outscored their opponents 26-5 in three straight win, two coming against the slumping Cardinals.
St. Louis, the National League leaders in batting average and runs scored, has tallied only one run during their four-game losing streak while allowing 32. The Cardinals entered the day one-half game ahead of Pittsburgh for the final National League wild-card slot.
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