The Nats needed an ace performance by Gio Gonzalez and he bent early but did not break until the 5th inning where Gio had a 3-run lead and Gio served up a grand slam to Carlos Santana. The Nationals then got that run back on a pinch-hit single by Andrew Stevenson, but lost it in the bullpen. It was a disheartening loss as the Nationals gave Gio Gonzalez sufficient run support knocking out Jake Arrieta after 3-innings.
While the Nationals won two of the three game in this series, the game was looking like a game the Nats at in-hand until Gonzalez could not make the big pitches when he needed it. The Nats tied the game early with a 2-run home run by Trea Turner and then added on with an oppo blast by the 19-year-old phenom Juan Soto who tied Ken Griffey Jr. for 4th on the all-time teenage home run list. Anthony Rendon put up the Nats 5th run on a solo blast to stake Gio to a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the 5th inning.
The 3-game winning streak ended, but there were plenty of missed opportunities that the Nationals had included two-men on and no outs in the 8th inning and pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds popped-out and Adam Eaton rolled into an inning ending doubleplay. Earlier there were other opportunities that were missed.
Most of the missed opportunities were on poor execution. Some would say manager Dave Martinez needed to pull Gio Gonzalez earlier or he should have been bunting in a one-run game in the 8th inning which was certainly big points in the game where plays were not executed. Gonzalez continues a stretch since June 15th of excruciating losses where the team is now 2 wins and 12 losses. Flip that script and the Nationals are in first place. Not all of those losses are on Gio — but it’s that 6.59 ERA since June 15th which is hard to overcome. General manager Mike Rizzo had an opportunity to add-on a starter to replace the struggling Gonzalez but did not do it, and here the Nats are falling back to .500.