WASHINGTON -- Gio Gonzalez drew the kind of attention in February and March that players would much rather do without, as his name was linked to the Biogenesis drug lab in Florida.
But so far April is looking very good for Gonzalez, the left-handed starting pitcher for the Washington Nationals who has denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
Gonzalez allowed no runs and two hits in six innings and hit a solo home run in the fifth to break a scoreless tie as the Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 3-0 on Wednesday night before 26,269 chilly fans at Nationals Park.
Gonzalez, who threw 91 pitches, hit his homer into the left-field seats in his first start of the season after winning 21 games last year.
"Lucky swing," Gonzalez said of his homer. "I just wanted to get on base. I didn't expect that. It is not too often you see a pitcher hit a home run."
Gonzalez, who pitched with a headache early on that required his temple to be massaged, was smiling as he ran the bases and said he saw a lot of happy faces when he reached the dugout.
"He is going to be smiling whether he gets a base hit or gets a walk," Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
Washington pitchers have not allowed a run in the first 18 innings of the season after the Nationals shut out the Marlins 2-0 on Monday.
"It begins with the starting pitching," Washington center fielder Denard Span said. "They give us a chance to win."
Marlins rookie manager Mike Redmond, still looking for his first win, said, "I felt we swung the bats well. We hit some balls hard. We have not gotten many breaks the first two games."
The Nationals (2-0) made it 2-0 in the seventh as Danny Espinosa reached on an error and later scored on a fielder's choice when Span beat out a grounder in which pinch-runner Roger Bernadina collided with Miami second baseman Donovan Solano as Bernadina was tagged out.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a single up the middle to score Bryce Harper, who led off with a double, to make it 3-0 in the eighth.
Gonzalez was replaced in the top of the seventh by Ryan Mattheus, who threw a scoreless inning. Reliever Drew Storen, the victim of the Game 5 loss to the Cardinals last October, came in to start the eighth and retired the Marlins in order.
"I thought he threw the ball great today," Johnson said. "He made some good pitches."
Washington closer Rafael Soriano came on in the ninth and got his second save in two games despite allowing a single and walk with one out. He got Justin Ruggiano to fly out to center to end the game.
It was the first victory for Gonzalez over the Marlins (0-2) as a member of the Nationals. He beat the Florida Marlins, his hometown team, while pitching for Oakland in 2011.
Miami starter Kevin Slowey pitched for Johnson, now the Washington manager, on a U.S. national team that went to Cuba in 2006 and qualified for the 2008 Olympics.
"I felt good. I was not as sharp as I would have liked to be, but that is to be expected," said Slowey, who was lifted in the sixth with one out. "It was a chilly out there. I need to work on being a little more consistent."
Slowey made his Miami debut Wednesday -- his first major-league appearance since Sept. 26, 2011, when he pitched for the Twins against Kansas City. Slowey made eight starts last season for Columbus, the top farm club of the Indians, and was 3-3 with an ERA of 5.14.
NOTES: Marlins 1B Casey Kotchman is day-to-day with a left hamstring strain after he hit into a double play in the fifth. He grabbed the back of his left leg after the play and was replaced by Greg Dobbs. ... The Marlins announced OF Gorkys Hernandez and LHP Scott Maine cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans. Infielder Zack Cox also cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A Jacksonville and RHP hander Evan Reed was claimed off waivers by Detroit. ... The temperature was 45 degrees. So how do relievers stay warm on a cold night? Nationals RHP Tyler Clippard said his bullpen mates share a heater behind the right-field fence. "Baseball is a warm-weather sport. It is in the summer for a reason," said Clippard, who went to J.W. Mitchell High in Trinity, Fla. "It is hard to grip the ball." Right-hander Craig Stammen, another Nats reliever, grew up in Ohio and said he is used to cold weather. "It is part of April. You have to deal with it," he said. ... Slowey had made one previous start against the Nationals, on June 18, 2008, as he got the win at Minnesota by allowing one run in seven innings in an 11-2 victory.