Gio with the Game; Harper with the Homer - Nats Win

Gio Gonzalez tossed a one hitter over eight innings and Bryce Harper blasted his eighth homerun into straight away centerfield to give the Nationals a 8-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds.  The win puts them back at .500 ball.

Davey Johnson fiddled with the lineup in an attempt to end the hitting drought.  While some of the parts may have changed the position of the names in the lineup had shifted.  This seemed to wake up the Nationals bats.

Ian Desmond got things started for the Nationals in the second inning with a one out single off Bronson ArroyoDanny Espinosa poked one deep to right center field.  Ian seemed confident Shin-Soo Choo would not catch the ball and was screaming around second.  Choo was just short of getting to the ball.  It bounced against the fence and Desmond was able to score.  A Kurt Suzuki single and a Denard Span infield single drove in Espinosa for the second run.  Zack Cosart made a nice bare handed pick up on Span’s infield single but the umpire ruled the bang/bang play at first in favor of the Nats, allowing the second run to score.

Last year Bryce Harper had trouble with the slow breaking stuff.  This year he has not been fooled.  In the third Bryce belted one of Arroyo’s slow offerings into the deepest part of centerfield to up the lead to 3-0.  Jayson Werth, hitting in the cleanup spot, singled.  Adam LaRoche finally made contact with a ball and grounded it to first.  Joey Votto elected to throw to second to begin the double play but hit Jayson in the back.  The ball bounded to right field with Werth advancing to third and Adam to second.  An Ian Desmond ground out to second scored one run.  With the infield playing in against Danny Espinosa, Danny made the point moot by depositing a ball into the right field bullpen to up the Nationals lead to 6-0.

In the fourth Gio gave up his only hit of the game when Joey Votto stroked a ball into left field.  It hit into the flowering plants in left field just before the front row of the bleachers to end the shutout and the no hitter for Gio Gonzalez.  Gio did not let the hit faze him, retiring 13 of the next 15 hitters.

The Nationals added two more runs in the eighth off Logan OndrusekIan Desmond led the inning off with a single, but he was eventually picked off first by catcher Devin Mesaraco when he was caught leading off too far from first base.  With two outs Kurt Suzuki extended the inning with a walk.  Roger Bernadina pinch hit and got his first hit of the year, lining a ball over second base for a single.  Denard Span hit a shot straight at Shin-Soo Choo who first broke in for the ball and then tried to retreat, reaching the ball too late.  As it bounced against the wall Span raced to third with a triple making the score 8-1.

Davey Johnson decided to give Rafael Soriano some work and brought him out to pitch in the ninth.  After walking the leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo on four pitches to make Nats fans a bit nervous he got Zack Cosart to ground to Espinosa for a double play.

Game Notes: There was a big smile on Danny Espinosa’s face after his homerun in the third.  With Davey Johnson wanting to give Steve Lombardozzi more playing time and Danny hitting only .150 his playing time looked to be reduced.  He had a double and homerun to give his name another day on the lineup card…Steve Lombardozzi played third base last night instead of the struggling Anthony Rendon, who had gotten off to a slow start.  Lombo hit in the second spot and went 0 for 5 to drop his average below .300…Gio Gonzalez had retired the first 11 hitters until the Joey Votto opposite field homerun…Adam LaRoche struck out in his first at bat in the second to give him six straight strikeouts.  He finished the night 0 for 4 to drop his average to .160, grounding out to first or the pitcher in his last three at bats.

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