NEW YORK -- Gio Gonzalez carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and finished with a one-hitter Monday night as the Washington Nationals hit five homers in a 9-0 drubbing of the New York Mets.
Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Jayson Werth, Tyler Moore and Wilson Ramos all homered for the Nationals, who won for the 14th time in their last 19 games as they kept their flickering wild-card hopes alive. Washington began the day eight games behind Cincinnati for the National League's second wild card.
The Nationals led 2-0 after one and 5-0 after three, which meant Gonzalez's flirtation with history provided the only bit of suspense in a game between two noncontenders played on the first Monday night of the NFL season and in front of a sparse announced crowd of 20,074 at Citi Field, just across the street from where the U.S. Open men's tennis final was played at the same time.
All the elements seemed to be there for Gonzalez to throw the first no-hitter for the Nationals/Montreal Expos franchise since Dennis Martinez threw a perfect game on July 28, 1991.
Gonzalez issued a one-out walk in the first to Daniel Murphy before he began carving up the reeling and depleted Mets, who have lost six of eight and who fielded a lineup Monday that featured just three players from their Opening Day roster.
Gonzalez threw 33 pitches in the first two innings but needed just 40 pitches to get through the next four. Manager Terry Collins began subbing and double-switching in the sixth inning, when he pulled Murphy, the lone regular who started Monday at the same position he played on Opening Day.
Gonzalez retired 17 in a row after Murphy's walk before pinch-hitter Zach Lutz -- batting in Murphy's spot -- ended the drama by singling past a diving Adam LaRoche and just fair down the first base line on Gonzalez's first pitch of the seventh inning.
Gonzalez bounced right back, though, and retired eight in a row before Lutz drew a two-out walk in the ninth. Gonzalez then retired Andrew Brown on a fly to left to end the game.
Span finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored for the Nationals while Werth and Moore had two hits apiece.
Mets starter Carlos Torres, the first of seven pitchers for the Mets, was hammered for six runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four over four innings.
The Nationals pounced on Torres immediately as Span and Zimmerman led off the game with back-to-back homers.
Torres set down the next seven batters before the top of the order struck again in the third. With one out, Span singled and Zimmerman walked before Werth launched a three-run blast to left-center field to extend the lead to 5-0.
Moore led off the fourth with his fourth homer of the year to make the score 6-0. Ramos' three-run shot off Greg Burke in the fifth extended the lead to 9-0.
NOTES: The back-to-back homers by the Nationals in the first marked the eighth time they've hit back-to-back homers this year and the first time since July 27, when they did it against the Mets at Nationals Park. ... Nationals LF Bryce Harper will be out Monday and Tuesday due to inflammation in his left hip. He last played on Friday. ... The Mets made a spate of roster moves Monday as they recalled RHP Aaron Harang, OF Mike Baxter and C Juan Centeno from Triple-A Las Vegas. They made room for Harang and Centeno by placing LHP Scott Rice (hernia) and 1B Ike Davis (oblique) on the 60-day disabled list. ... Mets closer Bobby Parnell (herniated disc in his neck) will undergo surgery. Parnell, who last pitched on July 30, went 5-5 with 22 saves and a 2.16 ERA in 49 games this year.