The Nationals improve to 6-1 on this California road trip. Gio Gonzalez pitched 6 strong innings giving up 2 runs and the bullpen threw a 3-inning shutout to save a 4-2 winner!
“That’s one of those wins you have to appreciate a little bit more,” Gio Gonzalez said. “That’s a tough team to beat, especially in their ballpark.”
The call to the bullpen to start the 7th inning was to Enny Romero who pitched 2 shutout innings and he bent but didn’t break after beginning his outing by walking the first man he faced on four pitches and then going to a 3-2 count on the next better before striking him out.
“Enny threw the ball great,” catcher Matt Wieters said. “He’s a guy who wants it so bad, it’s a matter of just getting him to where he can trust his ability. He did that tonight.”
Dusty Baker handed the ball to Matt Albers who started the 9th inning because we found out later that Koda Glover was going to be unavailable with soreness he reported before the game. Albers struck out pinch-hitter Chase Utley then retired Yasiel Puig. Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts went to another pinch-hitter, rookie Cody Bellinger who has been crushing right-handed hitters and Dusty Baker stuck with Albers. On cue, Bellinger lined a single up the middle and was replaced by Ollie Perez who struck out Yasmani Grandal to end the game and earn the save. Perez altered his motion on that strikeout pitch going from the stretch with no hesitation through his motion and froze Grandal. Perez was the 6th different Nationals reliever to record a save this season.
Here is the video of the final out of the game from Ollie Perez on this link.
The bullpen has now thrown 9 scoreless games in the last 12 games. Enny Romero threw 31 pitches tonight which will limit the bullpen to only one available lefty (Oliver Perez) tomorrow unless Mike Rizzo makes a roster move.
The defense was excellent on both sides and unfortunately for new call-up Ryan Rayburn he was robbed twice by the left-side of the Dodgers’ infield. Bryce Harper and Trea Turner had their own nifty defensive plays including this beauty by Trea Turner on this link.
The offense was provided by Anthony Rendon, Matt Wieters, and Bryce Harper with the RBIs. Rendon started the scoring with a solo home run and Wieters had a 2-run single. Bryce Harper tacked on an insurance run with an RBI single.
The Nationals improved their record to 36-20 and moved to a season’s best 16 games over .500 while widening their lead in the NL East.
“Found out right before game time that Koda was a little sore,” Dusty Baker said. “The [bullpen] guys did a great job. About time we held on to one of those wins for Gio.”